About 20 million cats and dogs were euthanized every year about 40 years ago. Today, mainly due to the efforts of animal rescue groups, that total is down to about 4 million.
But the humanitarian agencies often require strict standards on the would-be adoptions, and a number of people don’t understand why they are denied.
According to the New York Times, New England’s Cocker Spaniel Rescue England will not allow a family with children under 7 to adopt a dog. And the founder of German Shepherd Rescue in California said her organization denies about 70 percent of the people who want to adopt dogs.
Tamara Burke, living near Stowe, Vermont, was denied the adoption of a golden retriever because she did not have a fenced-in yard. Burke owns 150 acres.
The adoption contracts of many groups say the organization retains the “superior title” in an animal, which means they can reclaim their pet if the adoptee is found in violation of the contract. The Little Angels Rescue agreement even has a clause regarding cosmetic surgery to an animal.
According to Slate, comedian Ellen DeGeneres adopted a dog that was unable to co-exist with her cats, so she gave it to her hairdresser, who had 11 and 12-year old daughters at the time. The animal group learned about the transfer, found DeGeneres in violation of her contract, and didn’t want the dog living with children under 14, so they took the dog back.
The Internet has made it easier for prospective pet owners to adopt. Petfinder is an Internet database of animals who need homes, and a directory of more than 13,000 shelters and animal adoption organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.Those who wish to adopt can search databases containing criteria such as breed, age, size and gender.