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Pet rescue groups put red tape on would-be adoptions

cat123111_optBY BOB HOLT

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.

Comments (3)
3 Monday, 30 January 2012 10:57
We finally adopted our puppy from S.A.V.E. in Princeton, NJ. Our pup was a rescue from a kill shelter in North Carolina. He and his siblings had arrived a few weeks in Princeton before we saw our puppy. After dealing with the volunteer rescue groups, S.A.V.E. was a breath of fresh air.

The volunteer pet rescue groups we had experience with did not provide good communication and did not contact us to follow up on the availability status of the puppies in which we were interested. Although we followed up with them, but we never got a response. We were forgotten about and it turned us off from adopting from volunteer pet rescue groups; it broke my husband's heart because he would become invested emotionally in the puppy after seeing the dog and interacting with it, and we would never hear ANYTHING from the group - not even a "no".

S.A.V.E. was a different story; it does have volunteers, but also paid workers who manage the facility. They treated us with respect, and gave us the low-down on the available puppies - pups that were spoken for and which pup did not have an application filed on it. S.A.V.E. didn't gather as many applications as possible on available pups (one pup from one of the volunteer pet rescue groups we put an application in for had over 70 applications at the end of a weekend)!

S.A.V.E. called our references and vet the day after we put our application in on a 3 month old lab/box mix puppy, and called us to tell us that we could pick up our puppy that week. Our dog is now 1 year old, and is very sweet. I cannot recommend S.A.V.E. more highly!
2 Monday, 30 January 2012 01:31
Here's my two cents.

I have worked with several rescues in the past, including a German Shepherd rescue and an all-breed rescue. I did a couple of different things - I did temperament evaluations at kill shelters to see if we would be able to pull the dogs from the shelter and place them in a foster home where they'd have more time to find a home. I also did transports and I did home-visits for potential adopters.

I don't agree with rescues who require that you have a fenced-in yard in order to adopt from them. I think it promotes lazy dog ownership. A lot of people who have fenced yards simply keep the door open and let their dogs come and go as they please. Or they just put the dogs out in the yard and figure they'll "amuse" themselves. I'd rather see someone without a yard who is committed to walking the dog and ensuring they get exercise than someone with a yard who just "turns the dog out" for exercise and does nothing else with them.

I don't have a fenced yard and I don't think that makes me a bad owner, nor would it ever make me turn someone down to adopt a pet.

On the other hand, rescues have such strict rules because their main purpose isn't just to place dogs in homes - it's to make sure they place the dogs in the RIGHT homes, which will be their "forever" homes. And not just in A home where they may be dumped again if the family is moving, or getting anther dog, or just doesn't like the dog anymore.

A lot of placing a dog is making sure the right dog is matched with the right owner. Because rescues keep dogs in foster homes, the fosters know the dogs' temperaments well and can make recommendations on whether the dog would be safe with other dogs, with cats, with kids.

MANY small-breed rescues won't adopt to people with young children. This isn't because they're worried that kids will be mean to the dog or that they can't trust small children - it's because small dogs are fragile and easily injured if a child trips and falls on them. And many small dogs can be quite snippy and dominant and may not do well with kids.

ALL rescues should clearly state what their requirements are on their website. If you need to have a fence, it should say that. If they don't adopt to people with young children, it should say that. None of the rescues I've worked with failed to have this information clearly available on their websites - but I'm sure some rescues don't, or their websites just aren't very good. (Remember, rescues tend to be run by an all-volunteer staff. They may not have someone who's good with websites.)

FWIW, I have three cats and a retired police K-9. Two of my cats were from Craig's List (people moving and didn't want them anymore), the third from the shelter. I'll be starting a puppy this summer - he's coming from a breeder.
1 Sunday, 29 January 2012 16:51
lisa pet lover
I was reading your coments on the pet adoption groups, You are so right , they say we are here to save animals , but the truth is they are not!
I have been trying to adopt a dog for 4 weeks now, the group that has the dog just keeps giving me the run a round. I asume it is because I don't have a fenced in yard yet. I would not know this because they won't get back to me. I am all for making sure the homes that these animals are placed in are good homes , but come on , REALLY! A fence won't make your animal anymore safer,or loved anymore.
I feel what not haveing a fence will do is make you lazy and not take your dog for well needed walks! Many people want pets, these shelters and rescue groups just make you have to go buy one from breeders. I feel if a fence is one of the requirements ,they should let you know that ! It sure would save alot of time on everyone!

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