Adoption Stipulations 

After a period of 10 months where Americans were not allowed to rescue/adopt animals from their facility, the Okinawa Prefecture Animal Protection & Control Center (Ozato) started allowing Americans back into the facility in February 2011 to rescue & adopt animals.  In the past, some irresponsible adopters did not honor the commitment they made when they signed an adoption agreement with Ozato and this resulted in the termination of adoption/rescuing privileges from the facility for all Americans.  We were given rescuing privileges in Feb. 2011 and have worked hard to gain trust and build a solid reputation of being a responsible rescue group.  In order to be able to keep rescuing animals from the center, we must place any rescued animal in a home with responsible pet owners who will honor the commitment they make to the animal and follow the stipulations in the adoption agreement that they sign.    Ozato's policies/rules as well as a few of our policies/rules have been adopted by our group to form our adoption stipulations.  It is important to understand that we have no prior history on any dog we rescue from Ozato so we cannot guarantee health or temperament of any dog that we rescue and place into permanent homes.  We strive to place dogs into homes where the dog will have the best chance of success and will get what they need.  We also want to keep all family members safe.  Our primary  responsibility is to the dog.  

  • We cannot consider families that have children under the age of 3 years old or families that are expecting a child for adoption.  These families can foster because fostering is temporary and if things are not going well in the foster home, the dog can be easily moved.    That age may be adjusted upward depending on the individual dog/cat for safety reasons (to protect the animal and/or to protect the children).   Very young children are not physically capable of protecting  themselves and often do not have the mental maturity to understand how to treat animals gently.  It's not a flaw, it's just a stage of their development.  As such, very young children are at risk of being bitten, especially if contact with pets is not carefully supervised by parents.  Puppies, with their sharp teeth, sharp nails and high energy are not really suitable choices for families with toddlers.  Small dogs with their fear of being injured or handled too roughly would also be "iffy" choices for families with very young children.    For families that are expecting a child, there are potential allergies that could result in the re-homing of the dog.  Better to wait until the child is older to acquire a dog or until there are opportunities for the child to be around other people's dogs to determine if there are possible allergies.  
  • ​ Families must live in pet friendly housing and can provide proof of such (copy of lease or paid pet deposit if you live off-base).   Please note that dogs are not allowed above the third floor in any of the tower buildings on any of the bases. Only two pets (total) are allowed in base housing as per housing regulations. Please consult your housing packet for more information.
  • ​​If your family already has a pet(s), the pet must be fully vetted (vaccinations, micro-chip, spayed/neutered and for dogs, up to date on heart worm preventative).  All pets owned by Sofa Status families must be registered at Kadena Vet Clinic,  and if a family/adopter lives off-base, all dogs must be registered with the local city/town office. We will require a copy of your current pet's veterinary status (copy of health record from Kadena Vet Clinic, copy of receipt for off-base registration or a picture of the tags). If you get your current animal's veterinary care at an off-base clinic, your pet still needs to be registered at Kadena Vet Clinic and still must be micro-chipped (as per Sofa Status requirements).  If you have left pets in the USA or elsewhere before coming to Okinawa, we will need vet information (name of vet and contact information) for those pets.  We will do a vet check on any owned or previously owned pets.     If you currently have a pet that is not fully vetted, you will not be able to adopt a dog from us but are welcome to contact us after you have completed any current pet's routine vetting.  
  • If your family already has a pet(s), please be aware it may not be safe to add a new pet if your current pet is too young. We receive a lot of inquiries from people that already have a kitten or very young puppy that they are looking for a friend for. While adopting out siblings (kittens and puppies) is common we do not regularly place puppies or adult dogs in homes with smaller animals because of the risk of them getting hurt. 
  • All family members must be on island and able to meet with the dog/cat and an adoption coordinator.  If a family member is off island or away from Japan (deployed, TDY, etc.) the family will have to wait until everyone is back home to set up a home visit.  ​If a family is Sofa Status, everyone in the family must have Sofa Status.   We do require a home visit where one of our volunteer adoption coordinators will come to your home and visit with the family and ask and answer questions.  It is also a meet/greet with the dog you are applying for.  
  • We are looking for families/individuals that will keep their new dog as an inside dog only.  Walks, supervised time outdoors, dog parks, etc. are fine.    Keeping the dog outdoors in a yard, on a balcony or patio for extended periods every day is not what we are looking for.  
  •  Single Active Duty Military Members:   We (can) only consider older puppies (6+ months old) and adult dogs for single AD members due to the lack of flexibility in schedules and difficulty getting all of the necessary vetting and registrations that young puppies require completed in a timely manner. Young puppies require someone around a fair bit to house-train and crate-train them consistently and effectively.

  • We strive to find the best possible home/fit for all of the animals that we rescue. We are looking for families/individuals that will provide a loving, stable, and PERMANENT home for our rescue dogs.   Pet ownership is a luxury and adopters need to be financially prepared to provide the necessary veterinary care, food and supplies and also be ready to financially cover the cost of transporting the pet out of Japan when they leave.   Pet ownership is very rewarding, but it does require work, time and commitment.


From time to time, a family/individual may be interested in adopting a dog that is not in our foster care system but is still at the Okinawa Prefecture Animal Control Center.  A few important things to understand about direct adoptions from Ozato:

1.  dogs at Ozato have no known history.  Health status and temperament,  except for what can be observed is unknown.

2.  dogs at Ozato get no veterinary care before they leave the facility.  Adopters are responsible for handling all routine and non routine veterinary care and will have a timeline to accomplish the vetting and provide copies of receipts and certificates to us.  The general timeline for adult dogs is 3 months to get everything accomplished.  Young puppies - 4 months.  Older puppies, 3 months.  Dogs with heart worms may be given a longer period of time to get everything accomplished.    It can cost anywhere from $300 - $500 to fully vet a dog (just routine vetting like vaccinations, micro-chip and spay/neuter) depending on gender, age, size and the vet you use.  Puppies cost more (more sets of vaccinations required), females cost more than males (spay costs more than neuter) and larger dogs cost more than smaller dogs (cost of spay/neuter goes up with size and weight of the dog).  Heart worm treatment can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on the size of the dog.  

3.  All family members will need to meet our volunteer adoption coordinator at the center to check the dog out to determine if suitable for adoption.  The center is only open from 9:30 - 11:30 and 1 to 4, Monday through Friday.   We are restricted to certain days/times and we have to make an appointment with the center in order to bring visitors into the facility.   Before applying for a dog at the center, make sure everyone in the family will be available and able to go to the center during their hours.  

4.  You will have 24 hours after visiting with the dog to make a decision whether to adopt the dog or not.  There are no trial periods.  Once a dog is pulled from the center, it cannot be returned.  While we understand that things may not work out and the dog may need to be placed in a new home, we have the expectation that anyone trying to adopt a dog straight from the center understands that there is no such thing as a "perfect dog" the first day it arrives at a home.  Adopting a dog straight from Ozato is not for the casual dog owner that wants an easy and fully trained dog that is healthy.    All dogs will have to be house-trained, crate trained, leash trained and obedience training.  You may get lucky and adopt a dog that has lived in a house before but those dogs are few and far between.  Most dogs that end up at Ozato have been outside dogs and will need time and patience when adjusting to living indoors.  

5.  If an adoption does not work out, the dog MUST be fully vetted before we will work to find a new home for the dog.  No dog can be re-homed independently nor can that dog be surrendered to Karing Kennels or any other rescue group or shelter.  We are responsible for every dog that gets pulled from the facility under our name.  If we have room in our foster care system, we will take the dog in but again, the dog either must be fully vetted or funds provided to vet the dog when it is surrendered back to us.