Should All Rescues Be Allowed to Pull Death Row Shelter Pets?

A reader writes:

Here’s an open question for the blog, on an issue that’s been mentioned in debating Oreo’s Law.

If Animal Control facilities release animals to rescues/shelters, what, if any, criteria or guidelines should they use to be sure that rescue is a reasonable place to send the animals?

I won’t state an opinion now, but hope to hear some constructive opinions from others. I’ll even suggest making this its own blog topic. Before debate or criticism, let’s just see what people think here. Focus the blog on only this question to keep things on topic.

Let’s put our thinking caps on and see what happens.

Leave a comment

60 Comments

  1. If the choice is between death and ANY rescue, I say YES!!! (You can always kill the animal later…right?)

    But they need to be spayed/neutered, or the rescue needs to be reliable in terms of following through on spay/neuter prior to adoption.

    Can I ask what an unreasonable place looks like?

    Reply
    • Lynn – This would be one example of the kind of “unreasonable place” that some fear might try to pull pets under Oreo’s Law or similar legislation: Let’s say I was at one point a normal person (quiet in the peanut gallery please) and obtained non-profit status for my animal rescue. Over time, I became mentally ill and my rescue devolved into a bad situation for the animals in my care. The authorities are as yet unaware of the conditions at my rescue.

      Reply
  2. The answer to the question is yes.

    The answer to a separate question is that yes, the USDA/state departments of agriculture/other need to be held accountable for inspecting breeding and shelter facilities each year so they can quickly shut down the ones that become bad situations for animals.

    They’re two different questions…and should be treated as such. The second one continues to be a problem regardless of how you answer the first one. And if the second one is addressed, then the first one is an easy yes.

    Reply
    • It seems to me, this is not asking if the animals should be released, but assumes that for the moment. The single question is the criteria or guidelines for that release.

      There are various existing laws that the USDA or others might or might not enforce at another time, but that’s a much larger item far beyond this single question.

      For this question, the Maddie’s Fund info below highlights some of the possible directions and issues.

      Reply
    • Isn’t the ability to “quickly shut down” the bad ones part of the problem here?

      Reply
      • Tom, of course it is. So is finding and recognizing the bad ones. So is holding public animal control shelters to a legal standard, and many other such items. But perhaps they are topics for another blog. Some good points have been brought out here on this topic, but if we float around they’ll get lost.

  3. mary frances

     /  July 1, 2010

    short answer – yes…it will promote networking, people getting involved…it would be good PR for AC…because many people simply hate them…it will help turn nation to NO KILL – I see no other way.

    Reply
  4. I found on page on the Maddie’s Fund site regarding the Hayden Act and am pasting pertinent parts here:
    C. Rescue group responsibilities. Before Senator Hayden introduced SB 1785, rescue and adoption groups voiced concerns about inconsistent access to shelter animals for the purpose of finding them homes. As frequent visitors to the shelters, rescuers saw systemic problems and inhumane treatment of animals, but their access to animals was conditioned on keeping their mouths shut. Under Chapter 752, rescue/adoption groups with IRS Code 501(c)(3) status are not dependent on shelter approval to adopt pets from the shelter. Their right to take these animals is no longer legally premised on silence as to shelter practices and violations of the law.

    However, rescue/adoption groups are subject to all the requirements of individuals who find or house companion animals. They must provide humane and “kindly” care. In addition, although rescue/adoption groups with IRS Code 501(c)(3) status can take out a shelter animal right before he or she is due to be killed, they must be assertive in maintaining awareness of the animals in the shelter and in making requests for animals. They may not take out animals and subject them to cruel circumstances, even if it is in the interest of keeping them alive, without running the risk of the heightened punishments for animal cruelty under Chapter 752’s amendment of anti-cruelty provisions. One proved case of animal cruelty can now, under Chapter 752, result in shutdown of an entire rescue/adoption operation.

    Reactions to Chapter 752 Within the Animal Welfare Community:
    (e) “Nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal rescue/adoption organizations cannot be trusted.” Two arguments have been made: (1) collectors will take animals from the shelter; and (2) some nonprofits will divert animals into research. Both of these concerns have some legitimacy. When it comes to animals, who cannot protect themselves or describe their experiences in human terms, unaddressed cruelty can occur in many different settings: individual homes, shelters, rescue/adoption groups. At the same time that Chapter 752 allows rescue/adoption groups to rescue animals from shelters, Chapter 752 heightens the ability of shelters to rescue animals from “rescue/adoption” groups. Given the high kill rate, the low adoption rate, and the lack of motivation in our shelters to work with rescue/adoption groups, it was necessary to secure the right of such groups to take animals from the shelters. However, Chapter 752 also increased the means of dealing with “collecting.”44 Moreover, nonprofit rescue/adoption groups are required to pay fees up to the amount of fees paid by any other adopting person, and they must submit the certification of their IRS Code 501 (c)(3) status as “animal rescue/adoption” nonprofit organization.45 The fee structure can easily make it uneconomical for collectors or for dealers to sell them to research laboratories. In fact, a nonprofit group that fraudulently misrepresents itself is far more vulnerable to criminal prosecution and legal sanctions than is a shelter that funnels animals into research laboratories. Similarly, it is far easier to address collecting, that results in the inhumane holding of animals, than it is to address inhumane holding of animals in public shelters that violate the anti-cruelty laws. While public shelters, private shelters with humane officers, and police departments can all be deployed to address cruelty in settings controlled by private individuals, there is precious little that can be done to address cruelty in settings controlled by public entities. Chapter 752 enhanced the ability of public law enforcement entities to address effectively the cruelty of private holders of animals, while it gave private rescuers only the right to take individuals requested ahead of their kill dates and for no more than the standard adoption fee. The scales are still heavily weighted in favor of power residing in our shelters.

    Reply
  5. Hamilton

     /  July 1, 2010

    I am a firm believer that the shelter should have to sign the animals over, no questions asked. If the rescue is being run inappropriately, the shelter should make a complaint to local animal authorities, and if abuse or neglect is found that shelter should lose its local status.

    You see, it’s just far to easy for smug ACO’s to deny rescues access to animals in need simply because they can’t be bothered or worse, due to personal or political issues.

    They say the only thing two dog trainers will agree on is that a third trainer is doing it wrong. I have found the same to be true with rescue groups and shelters. They are a catty bunch, particularly the dog groups (no pun intended).

    If a rescue is doing such a poor job that the shelter feels that DEATH is a better option, surely there is something that local officials can do to put an end to the situation. If the local laws are lacking, well that’s an issue for the municipal and state/provincial governments to deal with. If this is the case, then new laws need to be created and passed that provide for a minimum standard of care.

    We have issues with our local AC office because we have a tendency to point out their shortcomings and where they need to improve things (for example, purebred dogs go out the BACK door – taken by employees who sell them for large sums as either just purebred pets or as breeding animals). They claim it’s because we occasionally use prong collars on big, drivey, pushy dogs that don’t respond to what the shelter considers the ultimate punishment – vocal reprimands. Right… because “no” is going to interrupt a GSD with his prey drives set on dragging me down the road after a squirrel.

    The point is, the only other option for these animals is DEATH. Surely any rescue is better, provided that they are not abusing or neglecting the dogs. And if they are, it’s a situation for local enforcement, not for shelter staff.

    Reply
  6. On criteria and guidelines (only), I see these issues brought up by Maddie’s Fund:

    Should private shelters be required to pay a standard adoption fee to a public shelter to obtain an animal, in order to deter collectors and transfer to a research laboratory? If no, what, if anything, should be done to address this possible issue?

    Should private shelters be restricted to asking for only those animals scheduled for euthanasia, or perhaps any animal that has resided in a public shelter for past a given time period?

    Should the same requirements and penalties applied to private shelter also apply to a public shelter? (What a thought!) If so, who or what bears the responsibility?

    and…
    I loved Hamilton’s statement on trainers. I’ve annoyed many trainers when I insist that it’s always the dog who is right:-)

    Reply
  7. Hamilton

     /  July 1, 2010

    “I’ve annoyed many trainers when I insist that it’s always the dog who is right”

    LMAO – I’m going to use this line in the future, I swear.

    Reply
  8. EmilyS

     /  July 1, 2010

    as long as you develop a system to prevent things like this, which were rampant during Katrina:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-16570-New-Orleans-Pet-Rescue-Scene-Examiner~y2009m11d6-Finally-convicted-But-was-justice-served-for-Karina-dogs

    Reply
  9. Auschwitz

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3068497&page=1

    Here’s another question for the consideration of everyone that answered “oh, yes–no strings attached”

    If a law is passed enabling a “rescue” [like Pets Alive] which reportedly provided Auschwitz-like conditions of care to the dogs and cats in its custody [as Pets Alive apparently did in 2007 and for an unknown amount of time prior to that]

    . . .how is this a step forward?

    Is this what the No Kill movement is all about?

    Cosmetics and rhetoric? Feeling good?

    Will everyone go to bed at night thinking they had done a good deed, never mind the details?

    Like any sane dog lover, the vision of a “no kill” world has enormous appeal to me.

    But here’s Blue Dog’s challenge: Will the “duly incorporated” “501(c)3” orgs of New York State open themselves up to inspection by the state of New York? Will they agree to supply, at a bare minimum, the conditions of care required of other pet dealers in New York State?

    Because right now, they are exempted. Exempted. No one checks on the welfare of animals held by 501(c)3’s in New York if they don’t hold municipal contracts.

    There is ZERO reporting of outcomes.

    There are no statistics on what happens to animals bought, sold, transferred or killed by rescue organizations in New York.

    There is no accountability.

    None.

    Oreo could have vanished into a no kill gulag.

    The day after the “Auschwitz” story was filed? Pets Alive would have been perfectly able to gain custody of Oreo, under Kellner’s proposal.

    Think. About. It.

    Reply
    • Blue Dog State:
      Granted, there will be a few large cases like this, and many more smaller ones. Cases that are already happening. It is also possible they may increase if private shelters can pull more dogs from public ones. But, how to make this better? So, the questions here:

      Given this, is it still better to allow private shelters to do this? Is the sum total likely to be better than now?

      Also, what specific and practical rules or methods would you suggest to reduce or avoid this issue?

      Reply
  10. to me, it is simple:

    501(c)3 “rescue” organizations should be designated “pet dealers” under NYS law, subject to the same scrutiny, the same inspection for conformity to the same minimum standards of care as other pet dealers operating in the state of New York.

    Let them come out from behind the shield their exemptions provide and face the music.

    Reply
  11. Karen Fishler

     /  July 1, 2010

    I very much appreciate Brent’s separation of shelter access from the problem of cruelty carried out by rescue groups, summarized here but laid out in detail yesterday at KC Dog Blog. This is a point nobody else is really making, to my knowledge, and it seems very significant to me.

    It’s worth noting that the long war between shelters and the rescue community will likely continue even after shelter-access laws are passed, so I wonder if there would be potential for cruelty investigations to be launched by resentful AC agencies merely to punish rescuers from lawfully pulling animals before they can be killed. Perhaps this is an argument for clearly establishing widely accepted standards for rescue work and codifying them, so that rescues can more easily defend themselves if such investigations are carried out.

    Also, the debate over shelter access contains many stories of cruelty at rescues, and many stories of killing at shelters. Missing are the instances of cruelty at shelters, carried out by incompetent and unfeeling employees. These stories need to be included to give a fuller picture. I have been astounded at what seems an ever-lengthening list of shelter scandals, encompassing not only convenience killing, but also miseries inflicted on animals long before they are killed. For shelter-access opponents to ignore this phenomenon gives us an unbalanced view, suggesting that somehow rescuers are the only ones capable of treating animals shamefully while they are still alive.

    Reply
  12. Hamilton

     /  July 1, 2010

    Ah, but it’s simply not that easy.

    Many rescues utilize foster homes. Do these foster homes have to give up their basic rights in order to help out a rescue?

    What about foster homes for shelters?

    I will tell you right now that if we were subject to random intrusions on our privacy (which frankly is what this is) because we run a rescue organization, we would either cease to run said organization, or it would simply be driven underground to a word-of-mouth type situation.

    Dog dealers make big bucks doing what they do. Subsequently, ensuring that inspections take place is something most kennel owners are willing to do – it’s worth putting up with if it’s a requirement of your money making scheme.

    However, rescue groups tend to be private, small organizations that operate mainly out of private homes.

    I do agree that possibly anyone who owns or operates a kennel type facility should be open to inspection. After all, dirty filthy kennels are easier to ignore than a dirty filthy house. Most individuals whose homes become overrun with pets are hoarders. We know for a FACT that legislation does not affect hoarders. This is a compulsion, and they need help, not punishment.

    Here’s the problem – if your local shelter features an abysmal kill rate, private rescues are generally the best chance for pets that would otherwise be killed by facilities that are low on resources, time, knowledge, skilled staff and ability to deal with special needs situations. By making the decision to dedicate your own time and money to helping animals in need tantamount to a decision to have a permanent “open” sign on your front door, you are deterring Jane Pet Owner from possibly organizing a solution to the mounting pile of dead pets.

    Are there bad rescues? Yes there are. So how do we solve this?

    By having strong standard of care laws, and enforcing them to the fullest extent.

    Anyone who adopts from a rescue should make viewing the rescue surroundings a priority. Where has the dog been kept, is it clean, is the dog healthy (or at least receiving treatment), is everyone well fed, groomed and have access to water.

    If this is not the case, Animal Control or the appropriate authorities should be alerted, and should have the ability to perform an inspection based on a valid complaint of cruelty or neglect.

    I don’t agree that rescues should be held to the standards reserved for “dog dealers”. What I DO agree with is rescues being held to the same standards as every other dog owner in that city. If the laws are overly lax, or if they are not properly enforced, this needs correcting – not more legislation. Strengthen the laws that exist, and ensure that enforcement is fair and consistent.

    Believe me, we already work hard enough, caring for these animals, medically/financially/emotionally/physically. We are under a constant slurry of emails, phone calls, pleas and inquiries. Every spare moment is spent cleaning, grooming, training, finding new homes and organizing fundraising and foster homes. If you added random inspections and attempted to invade my privacy in return for the FREE SERVICE I am providing to my city (every dog we save is one less dog that Animal Control has to pay to hold, euthanize and dispose of), we would simply stop providing that service.

    Reply
    • I’m not clear on why it’s okay to allow “Auschwitz” to develop and exist for an unknown number of years just because a facility is a 501(c)3.

      Is cruelty not cruelty if the perpetrator is an NFP?

      Talk about double standards. . .

      Reply
      • Hamilton

         /  July 2, 2010

        Where did I say that this was ok?

        You need to take a step back and reread what was written.

        What we need to do is to ENFORCE THE EXISTING LAWS, while strengthening standard of care laws for all pet owners.

        Allowing the authorities to randomly inspect your home is inappropriate on so many levels. However, if a valid complaint has been made, an inspection would certainly be warranted.

        I’m not sure how you think that punishing ALL rescue groups is going to weed out the poor ones – it’s simply going to cause fewer people willing to get involved.

        This is very similar to spay and neuter legislation, in that all are punished, responsible and irresponsible. These laws result in higher death rates, and frequently fail to be enforced properly – as they already don’t enforce current laws.

  13. It’s like this:

    Under existing NYS law, people who sell or simply offer to sell more than nine dogs or cats that they did not breed themselves in their own homes are subject to inspection for compliance with minimum standards of care. They need to be licensed as “pet dealers.”

    Right now, corporations like Pets Alive, which appears to sell HUNDREDS of dogs and cats monthly out of its kennels (and no one knows for sure what they do, since their activities are not reportable to a public authority), are shielded by virtue of their tax-reporting status.

    This is an example of a double standard, Hamilton, and we know for a fact that animals in NY suffer because of it. Pets Alive may be the most outrageous example, but there are other “rescues” and “shelters” that have allowed cruel conditions to persist in their facilities.

    You don’t think sending the Oreos of the world to spend a lifetime as a perpetual fund-raiser while enduring “Auschwitz-like” conditions is a perversion of No Kill?

    A corporation like Pets Alive should be able to comply with minimum standards of care and should welcome state inspectors with open arms.

    Reply
  14. Blue Dog State Says:
    July 2, 2010 at 8:38 am
    You don’t think sending the Oreos of the world to spend a lifetime as a perpetual fund-raiser while enduring “Auschwitz-like” conditions is a perversion of No Kill?
    ________________________________
    Certainly it would be if I believed the “Oreos of the world” would be going into those type of places. But I do not believe that. My belief is that the overwhelming majority of rescues (including Pets Alive at the time they offered to take Oreo) are good places. I rely on law enforcement to take appropriate action against those shelters which are not. I know that falls short, too often, and that truly pains me.
    I am in favor of releasing pets slated for death to rescues. I recognize there is a risk that they may fall into the hands of someone who does not provide adequate care for them. That is the exact same risk that exists for all shelter pets. In fact, that is a risk for any pet with a heartbeat. I am desperate to keep more of those hearts beating.

    Reply
    • You asked for “criteria or guidelines should they use to be sure that rescue is a reasonable place to send the animals” and I gave you mine.

      Oreo Law’s champion, Pets Alive, sells a very large number of dogs and cats each year — way, way more than the nine dogs or cats maximum permitted for other facilities.

      Tax reporting status is useless and irrelevant when it comes to the ability to care for large numbers of animals humanely.

      You can believe whatever you like (and I don’t agree with you regarding Pets Alive). But wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect verified compliance with minimum standards of care. . .the very same minimum standards of care required of facilities with a small fraction of the number of animals places like Pets Alive processes?

      Does “No Kill” mean “no regulation”, no matter what?

      Reply
      • I’m glad we disagree – it makes for fruitful discussion and plants seeds in my brain for later blossoming (or weeding, as the case may be). ; )

        I really think the idea of hoarders and prison camp shelters using a law to get more pets from shelters is being blown way out of proportion. It COULD happen but I can’t see how it WOULD happen with any more frequency than it already DOES happen *without* shelter access laws in place. However, I do see more pets being saved with shelter access laws in place and therefore, I support.

      • Yes Biscuit wrote

        “I really think the idea of hoarders and prison camp shelters using a law to get more pets from shelters is being blown way out of proportion.”

        I think it was **dogfighters** and “hoarders”, actually — and on that, I agree with you.

        That was one of the more bizarre facets of the Great Oreo Harangue, along with whether to call it “Oreo’s Law” or not. Like the animals, and typical NY residents, could care less about the name of the proposal.

        I see a whole lot of “Blue Dog’s idea mostly stinks” posts, but not a lot of alternatives. What’s up with that?

    • oh and PS. . .

      Yes Biscuit says “I am in favor of releasing pets slated for death to rescues.”

      Me, too! errr almost always.

      There is a difference between a “best practice” and something that is REQUIRED BY STATE LAW.

      As a proposed state law, governing the lives of 19 million people, their pets, their communities and the shelters and rescues therein. . . “Oreo’s Law” or any damn law had better be (a) necessary and (b) bomb proof.

      I’m not sure we’re there yet on Oreo’s Law. Not at all.

      Reply
  15. george

     /  July 2, 2010

    A number of good issues and items have been raised, especially from Hamilton. I will be summarizing them for a mailing list. In contrasting Blue Dog State to Hamilton, I thought of the “pistol packer” stories from Texas that I have followed for several years on a mailing list. There, they managed to get laws passed regarding animal treatment and especially chaining dogs outside with no water or shelter. This stands out as it is easy for other people to notice and report. But, getting these laws enforced has been a continuing battle, with no end in sight.

    This point here is that much of what Blue Dog State wants will have limited effect and may be used as Hamilton fears, to significantly hurt small rescues. Looking around, what seems to have the most impact is a combination of public awareness and the existence of a few key individuals in public animal control, police and local government.

    With these people in place, I see public AC working with private shelters and rescues to do all they can. There’s no need for laws on pulling death row shelter pets, since it’s happening. Without these people, any amount of laws have only limited effect. In that case, we can only work towards the “greatest good for the greatest number”, and have to accept the limitations. This is the world we live in.

    Reply
  16. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    I am in a quandary here…why would rescues “shut down” or ‘cease to exist” if inspections were done in their homes? Why do “rescues’ think that they are exempt from inspections that “pet dealers” ( which can be a person who sells as few as five dogs per year) are subject to? Laws are being passed every day that are requiring people with as few as three “breeding animals” to have a kennel license.. with that license comes a big fee but most importantly opens up your home and /or kennel to inspection by the “authorities”.. and in some places those inspections can be unannounced. pet limits are enforced upon “regular” pet owners but are not enforced for ‘rescues” Why is that?
    Hamilton says we should enforce the laws we have.. sure I agree.. but then goes on to say.. let’s make new laws by “strengthening the laws we have” not sure how you do that without changing the laws we now have,….I think we should eliminate some laws ( pet limits for one) because many of these laws actually KILL animals..
    Hamilton says.. bad for breeders is OK.. inspects them if they have a “money making scheme” ( that will give you a clue as to what Hamilton thinks of breeders) Are you saying that rescues don’t make money? Many do..does that make them “bad”.. nope.. BUT rescues who operate on any scale over and above the “regular” pet owner should be subject to the same laws as “pet dealers” because if you take away the negative connotation associated with “dealer’.. that is exactly what rescues are.. pet dealers.. the words should be neutral..rescues deal in placing dogs that they get ( mostly for free) and then they sell them.. is that bad.. no.. is it true? yes…
    That said.. YES I think ALL rescues should be able to pull any dog from any shelter…I think ANY person who comes in to save a dog or cat should be allowed to have one.. or two.. or three.. let’s get them out of the shelter.. and off of death row.. in any way we can..
    Meanwhile.. “rescues” should be aware that the goose and the gander should both have the same standards

    Reply
    • Alice, I think both you and Hamilton have good points. I see the bigger issue here is in preventing abuse. Unlike commercial kennels, small rescues tend to have more issues with local animal control and random inspections could be used for retaliation. While some rescues do make money, I know of many who barely survive.

      I think a reasonable compromise is possible. Now, if we could just find enough reasonable people…

      Reply
    • Hamilton

       /  July 2, 2010

      “Hamilton says.. bad for breeders is OK.. inspects them if they have a “money making scheme” ( that will give you a clue as to what Hamilton thinks of breeders) Are you saying that rescues don’t make money? ”

      I’m getting a little bit tired of people putting words in my mouth.

      What I was referring to is the laws that govern USDA licensed breeders (ie puppy mills). I have no issue with breeders – in fact, although I operate a rescue, ALL THREE of my dogs came from private, small breeders.

      What I said was – “Dog dealers make big bucks doing what they do. Subsequently, ensuring that inspections take place is something most kennel owners are willing to do – it’s worth putting up with if it’s a requirement of your money making scheme.”

      I also said – “I do agree that possibly anyone who owns or operates a kennel type facility should be open to inspection. After all, dirty filthy kennels are easier to ignore than a dirty filthy house. Most individuals whose homes become overrun with pets are hoarders. We know for a FACT that legislation does not affect hoarders. This is a compulsion, and they need help, not punishment.”

      As you see, I have no issue with inspections taking place in a kennel-type situation. As I mentioned, it’s much easier to fall behind in a kennel situation, as opposed to a situation where the dogs live in small numbers – indoors with people, where cleanliness is certainly easier to maintain.

      You mentioned that rescues make money – I’m curious about that assertion – certainly you’re welcome to share your “money making” tips here – because in the last five years, we have LOST well over $10,000 running our rescue organization.

      You are asking people to allow an open-door policy IN THEIR OWN HOMES. This is unacceptable. Why should I be subject to search and seizure simply because I have dedicated every spare moment to the care and rehabilitation of homeless dogs and parrots.

      Should I be subject to an inspection if an adopter comes to see an animal and witnesses something that fails to meet what we would consider a fairly high standard of care? Absolutely! Just as EVERY PET OWNER should be subject to inspection on receipt of a VALID complaint.

      “Laws are being passed every day that are requiring people with as few as three “breeding animals” to have a kennel license.. with that license comes a big fee but most importantly opens up your home and /or kennel to inspection by the “authorities”.. and in some places those inspections can be unannounced. pet limits are enforced upon “regular” pet owners but are not enforced for ‘rescues” Why is that?”

      Not where I live. We have a pet limit here of 2 – which includes your TOTAL of dogs, cats and rabbits. This means that my household is over the limit. So is every single pet owning household on my street. I’m not exempt because I run a rescue, I’m exempt because the law is only enforced if there is a complaint regarding safety, sanitation or noise. We have never had a valid complaint, although we were subject to a search when I got involved in some animal welfare politics in the city and someone from city hall sent the ACOs out to my place to do a head count.

      The ACO that showed up admitted the accusations were baseless, that everyone was clean, quiet, well behaved and properly vetted and cared for. That was four years ago, and we haven’t had an issue since – although I have been more careful to voice my political opinions in a more anonymous fashion as to not paint a target on my own back.

      “rescues deal in placing dogs that they get ( mostly for free) and then they sell them.. is that bad.. no.. is it true? yes…”

      HAHAHAHAHA – really? You know a lot of rescues who are getting dogs “for free” and then selling them for profit? This is not a rescue. This is a broker. The VAST majority of the dogs who come into our care (and into the care of most municipal shelters as well) are dogs who have either simply never received any vetting, or who are actively dealing with a disease or behavioural issue that the owner can’t afford or be bothered to treat.

      Each dog requires vaccinations – 2 x $50. Fecal test – $35. Deworming – $30-40. Neuter – $150-200, Spay $200-350.

      Our adoption fee is $300, and the above estimation of care doesn’t include bloodwork, treatment for any existing issues, food, training time, specialist and behaviourist fees. The above estimation floats between $315-525. This is for a HEALTHY animal.

      So, basically my entire life is consumed by rescue – every spare minute, every spare dime. I work with difficult cases, particularly aggression, mange and epilepsy. None of these are cheap (or easy) to treat. They come to us because the local AC does NOTHING to adopt out pets that show up there. Unless the SPCA pulls you, you are going to die. Simple as that.

      We provide a FREE SERVICE to the local government. Every pet we save is one that doesn’t end up in the municipal system. Last year AC handled 10,000 dogs and cats (over 8000 cats) and had a budget of $3.15 million. That puts their price per pet at about $390. As you can see, that’s about what we pay to SAVE and vet a dog – this is what they spend to house an animal for three days and then euthanize and incinerate said animal.

      Their cost is equal to mine – my dogs live and go on to be family members – their rescues end up as ash.

      If you really want to talk about inspection, let’s make the SPCA’s and AC’s subject to inspection AND ENFORCEMENT.

      When I talk about stronger laws, I’m talking about standard of care. I’m talking about laws that prevent extensive tethering, that require an animal to be well groomed (ie not filthy or matted), well fed, have access to water and shelter, be licensed, and be living in a clean and sanitary area. The animals should be quiet as well, and sanitation should count outdoors where the animal relieves itself as well.

      This covers those situations where a dog is tethered outside 100% of its life, but nothing can be done because the dog has food/water/shelter, and matting doesn’t count for anything – as long as the dog doesn’t have a visible open wound, AC will pretty much let it go – because there are no laws in place to protect these animals.

      We need to improve the standards of care for EVERY pet. And EVERY pet caregiver should be subject to these laws, REGARDLESS of their status (owner, babysitter, boarder, breeder, rescuer, shelter, etc). This does NOT mean that I support home based rescues being subject to random search and seizure.

      I also do not support mandatory S/N laws, limit laws, or laws that claim “after X number of dogs, you are a breeder”

      As for your initial question – “I am in a quandary here…why would rescues “shut down” or ‘cease to exist” if inspections were done in their homes?”

      The answer is simple. You’re requiring people to allow open, unannounced search and seizure IN THEIR HOME. Allowing random searching means giving rescuers LESS rights than say… drug dealers. Police require a warrant, or probable cause before searching a potential drug house or even the home of a thief, murderer or child abuser.

      But rescues? Hell, let’s take away their basic right to privacy. I mean, come on – they already spend a ton of their own money to care for dogs they have no responsibility towards. They already feed and care for dogs so that the CITY DOESN’T KILL THEM. Surely for all that we should also require them to put aside any rights to privacy they may have as citizens. That’s what you’re asking – for rescuers to be treated like criminals.

      If things in my neighbourhood were this bad, we wouldn’t rescue. And I don’t think that many people here will say that being subject to random searching and possible harassment by SPCA or AC enforcement is an acceptable trade off for performing a public service.

      Rescue workers already suffer from major episodes of burnout on a regular basis. Without private rescues, no-kill is simply NOT POSSIBLE. Homes that have open doors to pets in need are ALWAYS needed. We can never have enough.

      Now, assume you are going to foster for my organization. Would you do so knowing I would have to register you as a foster home – subjecting you to random intrusion and inspection at any time (won’t you be ecstatic when they show up during your daughter’s birthday, or the anniversary party you’re throwing for friends?)

      Yeah – can’t imagine how that would possibly dissuade rescuers from becoming involved.

      Reply
  17. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    While some breeders make money. many do not.. in fact most do not.. and yet they are “under the yoke” of all sorts of onerous laws. that rescues are not subject to because of the idea that breeders “make money”.. but that is another topic..read what I read everyday.. Retaliation?? it is NOT just for rescues.. every pet owner is subject to “anonymous tips’ against them.. HSUS and other make sure to let people know that it is acceptable.. nay.. imperative.. that people “report suspected abuse”.. that leads to animals being seized for ‘unsanitary conditions” Do you know of any dog that really cares if they live in “unsanitary conditions”.. like a dirt floor. Since when do dogs need “sanitary conditions” to live..and how many shelters have we read about lately that would FAIL that test every day but are EXEMPT from any laws that others have to live by
    Preventing abuse?? you bet.. the biggest abuse is KILLING.. so again.. let people have the pets that no one else wants.. stop making “adopters” fill out reams of paperwork.. stop the list of conditions and give the animals away..for as little money as possible or for free…the ones that will end up in loving homes will greatly outnumber the few that might end up in “unsanitary conditions” or worse yet.. DEAD

    Reply
  18. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    Each dog requires vaccinations – 2 x $50. Fecal test – $35. Deworming – $30-40. Neuter – $150-200, Spay $200-350.
    says Hamilton.. Great that you run a rescue.. not so great that you put up with these charges..
    You can buy shots and give them yourself.. you can buy a whole tray of vaccines for less than $50.00 You can buy a fecal float test .. 50 for $25.00.. Worm meds?/ cheap and easy to find when you diagnose worms..We have a clinic here that spays for $95.. neuters for $50.. if you are not so lucky try to find a vet that will discount.. they usually will for rescues. .. Does every dog come in intact? Please don’t think I am criticizing you.. I am not.. but many people are not aware that they can do much of the simple “vet” work themselves..
    I think rabies vaccines should be FREE and no licensing required..it should be enough if you have the tag and receipt.. why does a dog ( or cat in some places) need a license? All “shelter dogs” should be required to have a rabies shot BEFORE they leave the shelter.. much more important than castration.. rabies is a public health issue.. and we should make it easier to get the vaccine to pets.. instead of onerous laws that require a fee..and in many places a higher fee for “intact” pets.. rabies does not care if your pet is castrated or not.. we should encourage people to protect the public.. and their pets.. something that is sorely lacking in today’s laws..
    So.. that being said.. should we rescue dogs with major issues.. when there are so many without them? a whole ‘nother topic…
    I do not understand the reasoning that a “valid complaint” should be enough to trigger an inspection.. if rescues should allow each “adopter’ to view the surrounding of the place the dog is coming from then why not have regular inspections? The standard of care is something that it seems no one can really agree on..so you say.. no one should be subject to an “open door policy”.. although I never said that.. but in the face of a “valid” complaint of someone sees something that is not what THEY consider to be a “fairly high standard of care”.. then yes.. No thanks.. anyone coming into my home.. is INVITED.. or needs a warrant..and you can bet I am much more selective these days…
    I do rescue for my breed.. we get dogs for free most of the time… and sometimes we luck out and they go straight to new homes.. sometimes not so yes they do cost us.. but it is usually worth it..sometimes we have shelters that will not release a dog to us.. why?? because they can sell it.. I agree with this.. ANY placement is a good one

    Reply
    • Hamilton

       /  July 2, 2010

      “You can buy shots and give them yourself.. you can buy a whole tray of vaccines for less than $50.00”

      Giving vaccines at home means the vet clinic will require you to pay for an additional set – they are not considered “vaccinated” unless they are vax’d by a veterinarian. There are also issues with storage and quality.

      “You can buy a fecal float test .. 50 for $25.00.”

      Again, these animals are not considered parasite free until they are fecal tested by a professional.

      “Worm meds?/ cheap and easy to find when you diagnose worms.”

      I agree – we do use Safeguard when we have large numbers coming in – however additional worming is often necessary, particularly if the dogs come from the states.

      “We have a clinic here that spays for $95.. neuters for $50.”

      We don’t.

      In fact, the prices I quoted you are 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost that a vet in the city will charge you. It’s not uncommon to hear of people paying over $300 to spay a CAT.

      “if you are not so lucky try to find a vet that will discount.. they usually will for rescues.”

      That is with our discount.

      “Does every dog come in intact?”

      Pretty much, yeah. We have a very low level of spay/neuter in my area thanks to the ridiculous cots associated with the surgery.

      Recently a low cost spay/neuter clinic opened about an hour away, but they are booked up for 5-6 months in advance.

      “I think rabies vaccines should be FREE and no licensing required”

      What?! How exactly do you expect cities to pay for their animal control services if licensing is not required? While I agree that intact animals should not have to pay a larger fee (this just leads to unlicensed dogs) licensing fees go towards animal services. There is NO reason that the non-pet-owning public should have to foot the bill for pet owners.

      Fees also go towards maintaining dog parks – the same people who complain that there aren’t enough leash free areas are the same ones who complain about having to spend $20 a year to license their dog. Calgary is a great example, in that they have a 95% compliance rate for licenses, and their program is almost entirely free of government funding – they also have the most dog parks per capita in ALL of Canada.

      “I do not understand the reasoning that a “valid complaint” should be enough to trigger an inspection.. if rescues should allow each “adopter’ to view the surrounding of the place the dog is coming from then why not have regular inspections? The standard of care is something that it seems no one can really agree on..so you say.. no one should be subject to an “open door policy”.. although I never said that.. but in the face of a “valid” complaint of someone sees something that is not what THEY consider to be a “fairly high standard of care”.. then yes.. No thanks.. anyone coming into my home.. is INVITED.. or needs a warrant..and you can bet I am much more selective these days…”

      You’re actually agreeing with me here.

      What the opponents of Oreo’s law want is FULL ACCESS including unannounced inspections. This is an OPEN DOOR POLICY.

      People are suggesting that rescues be equal to dealers in the eyes of the law – the same laws that allow unannounced inspections.

      As I said before, I’m not against enforcement of standard of care laws – what I AM against is giving the ACO’s and the SPCA a free ticket to my home any time they please. And there is a HUGE difference between inviting an adopter into your home and having the ACO just show up and expect to be paraded through my home.

      I had a dog last week who went directly from it’s owner to me for a few days of behaviour modification, and then directly to the new owner – the dog had recently been vax’d, dewormed, flea treated and fecal’d. We waived our adoption fee.

      Reply
  19. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    I have no children.. I still pay school tax..we all pay for things that we do not use.. I expect that public health services should pay for rabies vaccines.. it is a HUMAN health problem..Animal control could be paid for by all sorts of programs that benefit dogs and their owners..let’s face it .. a dog license is a dog tax.. and that is what it should be called..a tax that supports animal control.. not some phony fee that used to be used “to get your dog home”.. we have microchips for that now,..
    no I did not agree with you about inspections. You said if someone had a “valid” complaint.. I said any person could make any complaint.. and that is NOT enough to warrant an inspection of my home. For example..someone sees that the dogs have no access to a “constant water source’.. ( something that is written into many “dog laws” now.) Is that a “valid” complaint? what if the vet said to restrict access.. or what if you just give your dogs water on an hourly basis.. there is no one way to do anything.. and what is a “fairly high standard of care” to you.. may not be to someone else..BUT if you are running a rescue.. and have 501 (c) 3 status.. like most shelters and some rescues.. then you should be held to the same standards as any dog breeder.. or pet owner..You already say you are our of compliance with your limit law.. how come? I know why.. you are saving dogs lives and saving the community money..BUT you are still illegal.. and that in itself could be a “valid” complaint to inspect your home.. do I think that is right.. NOPE I don’t.. but I also don’t think just anyone should be making complaints that lead to inspections.. be they breeders.. or rescuers..
    I see you are not in the USA.. so maybe your laws a different about vaccines/parasites.. too bad.. it saves a lot of money and is quick and easy..as for storage.. just do what the vet does.. refrigerate them.. and quality?.. your vet orders the same vaccines.. in fact you can order even higher quality that your vet if you choose to.. there is really no mystery to it..
    I have seen Bill talk about Calgary.. great program.. as long as he is there..

    here is an interesting article that talks about this very topic.. the comments are informative as well:

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/underground-adoption-service

    Reply
  20. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    so does anyone here agree that all rescues should be “licensed”?? is there such a thing as an “illegal rescue group”.. I think not but with our penchant for more and more regulation everyday on breeders first.. can rescue and any other casual organization be far behind.. People cry BREEDERS.. PUPPY MILLS STOP THEM NOW.. but when the other shoe drops.. it is not so pleasant is it..??
    Regulation is overboard about pets in this country ( and elsewhere)
    AR’s create a crisis.. whatever the flavor of the moment is.. dog fighting.. “pit bulls”.. puppy mills ( used to be substandard large breeders.. now encompasses many many breeders even small ones..) “hoarders” ( even though there is no real disease called animal hoarding) ( claims have been made that you can be a hoarder with only ONE animal.. that came from an “expert” on supposed animal hoarding) and now “illegal rescues”..
    Let’s face it.. the more regulation we have the more animals die..your neighborhood flaunts the law.. you are restricted to two pets.. because everyone breaks the law.. does that make it OK?/ what happens when the next ACO is not so lenient? Why not work to change the law.. or eliminate it all together…Calgary has no pet limits.. so if you are using that as a model.. go for it.
    We get what we ask for..ask for the “other guy” to be regulated.. and eventually you will be too.

    Reply
  21. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    “I really think the idea of hoarders and prison camp shelters using a law to get more pets from shelters is being blown way out of proportion. It COULD happen but I can’t see how it WOULD happen with any more frequency than it already DOES happen ..”

    ABSOLUTELY TRUE.. “hoarding” is the latest “create a crisis” for the AR’s.. heck they even have a TV show coming up about it.. the bad thing about crap like this ( and it is crap) is that the bar keeps getting lower and lower.. if 25 cats are in a home.. even if they are well cared for and the home is clean.. YOU are a hoarder.. when did someone elses idea of how you should live become the “norm”?
    How many animals is “too many”.. how many shelter animals could be saved if we encouraged multiple pet homes instead of restricting them?

    Reply
  22. Blue Dog State Says:

    July 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I see a whole lot of “Blue Dog’s idea mostly stinks” posts, but not a lot of alternatives. What’s up with that?
    ____________________
    heh, the only idea that stinks IMO is killing pets. I am open to all suggestions as to how to reduce/eliminate that. The intent here was to generate opinions and discussion on a specific question, which so far has been successful I think.

    Reply
  23. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    sorry.. it must be my day for getting this stuff. here is a note on Pets Alive.. pairing with BF.. I am amazed to see that the cost for keeping one beagle is $250 PER DAY.. wow.. a real wonder that regular pet people can keep a beagle.. who knew it was so expensive?? ( cough.. cough)

    Ways to Help
    Donate to the Great Beagle Escape

    The best way to help is by donating to Best Friends emergency response fund. That way people on the front lines can purchase whatever they need right away to help these beagles and many other animals in crisis. But there are other ways to get involved:

    Dear members and friends,

    It’s about time they got out of the laboratory and into some loving arms!

    Around 125 beagles, precious, floppy-eared and so happy to meet you, are finally freed from life in a medical testing lab. There’s no telling what life in a laboratory was like for dogs who only want to be loved. But now, these friendly dogs are getting help from Best Friends and Pets Alive.

    And we’re asking for your help, too.

    That’s because it costs about $250 per dog, per day to provide all the care they need. These dogs need vet care, spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations. Then there’s the cost of housing needs, food and water, bedding, microchipping, leashes and collars, some toys to keep them busy.

    Reply
    • Hey, I have a Beagle. I must be abusing her or hoarding her or something because I’m actually spending quite a bit less than $250/day on her.

      Speaking of Best Friends e-mails, someone forwarded me one where they ask people to go around to blogs this weekend and find posts discussing Best Friends and stick up for them in the comments. So we’ve got that to look forward to…

      Reply
  24. mary frances

     /  July 2, 2010

    Blaming rescuers would be like BP blaming the wildlife rescuers for improper cleaning of animals.

    AC & AR blame dog and cat rescuers for improper care, hoarding, etc,.

    Anything to distract from the real issue which is Stop the oil from bleeding out of mother earth &

    AC stop the killing of dogs and cats.

    Reply
  25. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    yeah.. stop cutting back on those toys would ya or we will turn you in to .. well… somebody… LOL..

    interesting.. these are ‘research dogs’.. do you actually think they are all intact? Do researchers actually have bitches in season and intact male dogs in labs?? That would surprise me..it would even surprise me more if lab dogs were not vaccinated and microchipped…

    Reply
  26. Hamilton

     /  July 2, 2010

    “if 25 cats are in a home.. even if they are well cared for and the home is clean.. YOU are a hoarder.. when did someone elses idea of how you should live become the “norm”?”

    Untrue.

    From the ASPCA:

    The following criteria are used to define animal hoarding:

    * More than the typical number of companion animals
    * Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death
    * Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling

    This definition comes from the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium, an independent group of academic researchers based in Massachusetts. The full definition and more info can be found at http://www.tufts.edu/vet/cfa/hoarding/index.html.

    Hoarding absolutely exists. Just because it is not covered in the psychiatrist’s diagnostic bible doesn’t mean the condition isn’t recognized. Most clinicians agree that the DSM is far too vague and requires serious updating.

    It is a compulsion – these people believe that no one will care for their animals the way they do, and that they are doing a good thing – even when the animals are left intact and inbreeding/disease result. These people are oblivious to the damage they are causing to the animals, the property and to themselves. Laws do NOTHING to affect levels of hoarding behaviour. We often compare it to kleptomania – just because stealing is illegal doesn’t mean that the law will stop someone who has a mental compulsion to steal.

    Our city clings to its low limits, stating that this allows anyone over the two pet limit to be subject to inspection. The law is not enforced, however, unless there are real care issues present that do not resolve themselves after the initial contact.

    We have argued at length that noise, sanitation and care (pets must be fed enough to keep them at an acceptable body score, watered enough to prevent dehydration, cleaned up after as often as necessary to prevent the build up of waste and flies, and treated for any existing medical condition that requires medical intervention) be the standards by which pet owners are judged, rather than simple numbers.

    And come on, it’s not that hard to agree on standard of care laws, and saying that it’s impossible is an argument that just doesn’t hold water. If every time something difficult was met with “we just can’t! It’s too hard!!” we’d never get anything done. As long as common sense is used as the measuring stick, building laws that prevent animals from harm and prevent neighbours from harassment/noise/odor should be a walk in the park.

    As for the “I pay school tax” argument – again, come on now. YOU went to school, did you not? You can not compare education tax to a $20 license fee.

    Also, microchips are not only proprietary (making universal scanners expensive) but they frequently fail or drift. We have suggested a microchip/rabies clinic, during which each pet owner would get a free three year license.

    As pet owners, we need to be responsible. This means paying our way. If we want cities to be pet friendly we have to play along. Last year in my city, as I mentioned the AC budget was over $3 million. Of that, $115,000 was license fees (our licensing coverage is under 10% – this number comes from AC assuming that there are 65,000 dogs in the city – in fact, I believe the number is much higher, and the percentage of licensed pets much smaller). Subsequently, we have three dog parks in the entire city (of about 750,000).

    As for my opinion regarding Blue Dog’s statement, well it’s quite obvious BD has a real issue with rescue groups in general.

    “Let them come out from behind the shield their exemptions provide and face the music.”

    Really. “Face the music.” Seems you expect that all rescue groups are really serial animal abusers in disguise.

    Frankly, I find the idea that because I have between 4-6 dogs in the house at any given time that I should have to subject my home to an open door policy in regards to inspections a violation of MY rights.

    I’m willing to consider anything that would aid the cause of animal welfare – but I’m not willing to consider shredding people’s individual rights to privacy in their own damn home to do it.

    It’s unnecessary. If the shelter feels that there is an issue with a particular rescue, should they be able to send someone to take a look? Sure, as long as it doesn’t develop into a situation based on harassment and intimidation (which it often does – but this is an issue for local courts to settle, not bylaws). Shelters should also have some legal ability to ban a rescue from taking animals if they have been found guilty of abuse, neglect, or substandard care. But that shouldn’t involve random USDA inspections.

    Reply
  27. Hamilton

     /  July 2, 2010

    And I don’t think that anyone here is defending the situation at Best Friends.

    $250 a day? Our costs are pretty high (all of our dogs and parrots are fed a very high quality diet, a substantial amount of which is home made from quality ingredients. It probably costs me $250 a month to feed everyone. Perhaps the wording is the issue. I would guess that feeding 125 beagles would likely cost around that much per day – TOTAL – but the number provided means that BF is spending $31,250/day to care for these dogs, or $937,500/month.

    Uh… yeah. Just shy of $1 million per month.

    Would be over $11 million a year – to care for 125 dogs.

    Seems like HSUS math to me… ;O)

    Reply
    • A bit off topic, but you pressed a button.

      Hamilton, but of course it’s in the wording:-) Each dog has a “publicity” cost of $229.95/day, used to bring in more money.

      They got caught on this before. They claimed 600 dogs in their sanctuary. Repeated calls then got numbers from 400-700. At this time they had been reducing the number of dogs there, and several visitors estimated 300-350 with many-many empty runs. At the same time they claimed to be full. Now, understand that each dog is entered in their computer as soon as they arrive or leave, so an accurate number is immediately available. Also, that ALL donations of money go into their general fund, no matter what you designate. Their 990’s are available to compare against their claims.

      So, if you were to take over Best Friends, just imagine how many other shelters you could help with the savings? Add HSUS and PETA and you could have an awesome impact.

      But, just like HSUS, onward they go…

      Reply
  28. Hamilton

     /  July 2, 2010

    Ugh, that kills me – we’ve never spent more than a few dollars on fundraising events. Everything is donated, including the helpers. We pay no one, and while we don’t fundraise often (we would probably do more if we had a bigger place or a bigger network of volunteers).

    And you’re right – we could help THOUSANDS of dogs with that kind of money. $11 million dollars could fund a no-kill sanctuary for YEARS AND YEARS.

    Certainly it would fund our organization for the rest of my living years.

    It blows my mind that so many rescues/shelters feel it is ok to spend more on fundraising than they do on care. What a waste of people’s money…

    Reply
  29. Apparently the Best Friends and/or Pets Alive release has morphed into:
    “The best way to help is by donating. That way staff and volunteers on the front lines can purchase whatever they need right away to help these beagles and many other animals in crisis. These dogs need vet care, including, at minimum, spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations. Then there’s the cost of housing needs, food and water, bedding, microchipping, leashes and collars, and some toys to keep them busy.”

    I was telling Billy about the “it costs $250 a day per Beagle because they need to be neutered, vaccinated, microchipped – ”
    At which point he interrupted and said “Each dog has to have those things done EVERY DAY?!”
    I just about fell out laughing. For that amount of money, you probably *could* get them neutered every day…

    Reply
  30. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    LOL.. as if I would believe anything the ASPCA says.. by the way .. are you an ACO as well as a rescuer?? just asking? I am a Certified Humane Officer and I can tell you there is NO agreed upon “standard of care” that can fit every situation.. If someone feeds Ole Roy is that below YOUR standard of care.. because you feed “high quality foods”?. I don’t say it is impossible.. I say it is not necessary. We already have laws for abuse.. and neglect and prosecute more and more people every day ( which I think is wrong).. most of these people should be able to keep their pets .. yes even the “hoarders” whose animals are relatively healthy.that ‘cat lady” who has 25 cats IS seen as a hoarder.. just ask anyone.. and in most places she .. like you .is out of compliance with local laws.. when her cats are taken to the shelter.. anyone want to guess what happens to them?.. My job as I see it is to HELP people and pets.. not take them from their homes because of a lack of a “standard of care” . Hoarding does exist.. yes it does.. BUT it is not anywhere as common as the AR’s and others would have you think.. in fact it is so uncommon that most clinicians I know..along with most psychiatrists have no interest in making it a separate disease..just as you do not think rescuers need to “face the music” neither do most pet owners.you say.
    “Most clinicians agree that the DSM is far too vague and requires serious updating.”.. not the ones I know.. and you can bet those that work for the ASPCA and have a ‘study group” want to validate their research.. so far.. no go with most real doctors….
    as for your numbers of dogs.. you are outside of the law.. you are doing something ILLEGAL.. you attitude of “don’t inspect me because I am a rescue” rings very false to many other people who have had their animals taken from them for this very reason.. TOO MANY
    As for the “shelter taking a look”.. huh.. what is the difference between me coming to look at your home as a Humane Officer.. or any other inspector? What is
    I think this all started with .. should rescues be able to pull dogs from shelters.. YES they should.. . should shelters and rescues be held to the same standards as breeders.(USDA if their numbers are high enough).. yes they should…
    Can we really take care of all of this with laws and standards of care.. and pet limits.. and mandatory castration.. no we can’t.. our job is to keep animals IN THEIR HOMES and out of the shelter…

    Reply
  31. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    here is a case where the “standard of care” was not what someone else thought it should be…look what happened.. lives RUINED.. a year of agony and expense.. and the loss of a line of what were probably pretty good hunting dogs not too mention the loss of a good mans life and livelihood..HSUS was a “mainstreamer” in this rescue.. but you can bet you won’t hear about it from them..

    “Nearly a year after the seizure of 172 hunting dogs from a Turner County farm, animal cruelty charges against a Hurley breeder have been dropped.

    Today in Parker, Turner County State’s Attorney Tiffani Landeen-Hoeke dismissed the 172-count indictment against Dan Christensen.

    The charges stemmed from a September 2009 raid on Christensen’s farm in rural Hurley, during which the animals were seized by Second Chance Rescue Center of Sioux Falls on suspicion of maltreatment.

    The dismissal says the prosecutor is “unable to proceed to trial” because a judge ruled the September search and seizure warrant to be illegal and the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on the matter.

    Christensen says he no longer breeds dogs and says he had to mortgage his farm and sell land to pay his legal fees.”

    Reply
  32. Parallel

     /  July 2, 2010

    For those suggesting that shelters be required to release animals to rescuers without any questions asked- would you support said shelters releasing pets to adopters without questions? Isn’t part of being a “good” shelter an adoption process that includes questions to make sure the animal is going to the right situation?

    This is an honest question- I don’t see the difference is terms of the shelter’s responsibility toward the animal. I know that if I were a shelter worker and found out animals I released to a rescue were living in bad conditions, I would feel absolutely terrible.

    I do believe in a no kill nation, and I think there are both good and bad points to the proposed law. The risk of an animal being taken by a bad rescue may be low, but the risk does exist and has to be acknowledged, not just shrugged off. I can perfectly imagine a hoarder taking animals from a shelter and feeling great about it while the animals in their care are overcrowded and not cared for.

    Reply
    • this is a good point

      I cannot imagine why private corporations operating as not-for-profits are inviting interference from the State of New York in their lawful activities.

      They have legal title (hopefully) to the animals they offer to the public and their policies are an internal matter.

      I don’t think the proponents of Oreo’s Law have carefully considered what they are asking for.

      Reply
  33. alice in LALA land

     /  July 2, 2010

    see how pervasive language can be.. “hoarding” is the newest buzz word.. and NON problem.. true animal hoarding is RARE.. very very RARE.. and yet it is mentioned over and over again .. even in this blog..this is what is happening.. CREATE A PROBLEM.. then CREATE A CRISIS.. then CREATE A LAW.. or many of them.. oh and in the meantime raise LOTS OF MONEY to ‘care for the rescues from the “unsanitary conditions the animals were kept in”..
    people.. animals are NOT sanitary.. they eat each others poop.. they lick themselves. they eat DEAD THINGS.. they can live very happily in “unsanitary conditions” ever see ( or smell ) an owls nest? or a rats nest.. or even a dog den?..
    animals pack together.. they live is what many people would consider “unsanitary conditions” all of the time..and many are none the worse for wear because of it..
    should shelters do house checks.. not in my opinion.. if rescues don’t need checking why do individual homes need it..you might ask a few questions at the shelter.. and give some info.. like.. this dog does not appear to like cats..so if you have one maybe you should look at another dog..shelters should be glad that anyone is taking a dog to a new home.. they should worry less about a non problem of “hoarding’ and more about moving animals to new situations…

    Reply
  34. Parallel

     /  July 3, 2010

    Is hoarding really that rare? How many times on this blog and on KC’s do we hear about shelters with terrible conditions, animals suffering, dead kittens in cages, etc. Is this not also a form of hoarding? Why the assumption that a rescue must be good when rescues are really just another form of shelters? Is the animal being served by removing it from a bad shelter to a bad rescue?

    There is a huge difference between some poop on the lawn and animals living in cages with layers of their own feces. Unsanitary conditions point to inadequate manpower to care for the animals in a way that ensures their health. Dogs do not want to sit in their own waste and cats most certainly do not.

    Reply
    • Parallel, most news is based on sensationalism, and you’re tending to paint the world with it. To put it another way, if (real) animal hoarding wasn’t that rare, the media would quickly tire of it and talk about something else. While some shelters are as you mention, remember they only report on the bad ones they find.

      A reasonable description of animal hoarding was posted earlier. I suggest you apply that definition.

      There was no assumption that a rescue must be good. Only, from my experience, the bulk of them are reasonable at a level that’s often better than many public ACs, and much better than immediate death.

      Go and take a look around. Pay a visit to some shelters and rescues and form your own opinion. Remember, there are many-many small ones that you never read about. See for yourself.

      Reply
    • IMO shelter abuse is generally not a form of hoarding but rather neglect.

      Reply
  35. Parallel

     /  July 3, 2010

    My point is more that it doesn’t matter if you call it neglect or hoarding, bad rescues and shelters do exist. I think perhaps that calling it hoarding is where the communication break down is coming from. The response is “well, hoarding is really quite rare”, but that doesn’t address the fact that neglect in the shelter and rescue environment seems to be pretty darn common.

    And I am drawing on what I see around me. Our local shelter believes an animal is better off dead than adopted. One of our local rescues takes in too many orphaned kittens to handle and chalks up the ones that die from lack of feeding to acceptable losses.

    I have no problems with shelters being required to release animals to rescues. But sight unseen, with no way to track what happens to that animal, with no regulation for the rescue? Again, if a shelter handed out pets to every individual that asked with no attempt whatsoever to probe that individual’s lifestyle, etc., they would be labeled by the no kill community as doing a bad thing. I still don’t see the difference.

    Reply
    • Not speaking for all shelters but in my area, all an adopter has to provide is name, address and very basic info on a form. As long as you don’t write “I’m a hoarder” on the form AND you can pay the adoption fee, you get a pet.

      Reply
      • Hamilton

         /  July 3, 2010

        Parallel – it’s the same in my city. The local SPCA assumes that anyone coming to adopt a dog from a shelter “has good intentions” and therefore what’s the use of screening?

        The issue here was that many years ago you couldn’t adopt a dog from this shelter unless you had a fenced yard – and home checks were required. They were criticized for this (and rightly so) and their response was to do a complete 180.

        Because of this ease, it makes it very difficult for rescues to do much screening beyond a simple questionnaire. Several rescues have therefore adopted the SPCA’s protocols.

        Judging by the number of requests we get to take dogs from people who had adopted from these places, it doesn’t end well for a significant number of adoptions.

      • Parallel

         /  July 3, 2010

        And is this acceptable to you? By which I mean, would you consider that a good standard for all shelters to follow? Of course some shelters do this, but it isn’t generally considered a good idea by most in the no kill community.

  36. Parallel

     /  July 3, 2010

    As Hamilton points out, such situations result in more returned animals. You can go too far the opposite way tpo, as our local shelter does with its unreasonable expectations and home checks. There is a happy middle ground where you assume good intentions but still try to match the right dog with the right owner.

    So why can’t we find a happy middle ground for Oreo’s law? One that doesn’t require shelter workers to turn over pets without question to rescues that may or may not offer safe haven? If the shelters are required to report via e-mail each day on dogs and cats that are up for kill, why can’t the rescues at the very least report when the animals in their care are adopted or returned? I say make both sides accountable and assume good intentions for everyone, not just the rescues.

    Reply
  37. Hamilton

     /  July 3, 2010

    I have previously made it clear that I have serious issues with these practices.

    Our rescue (we hope) is a happy medium. I have no issues adopting a high energy dog to an apartment dweller who exercises the dog regularly and understands the responsibility.

    I have no problem adopting dogs to parents with young children, provided that I am confident in the temperament of the dog, the children, and the parents in question (many dogs are better off with well-trained young children than they are with poorly trained older children).

    We don’t disqualify people for petty reasons – aside from those situations that warrant it. It’s happened before that people have told us their last dog was euthanized early in life due to: chewing shoes, failing to be housetrained at six months, barking while in the yard, etc.

    Obviously these people are disqualified.

    Also disqualified is anyone who wants to tether their dog for long periods or who wants the dog to live outdoors (unless it’s a working dog who would prefer to live mostly outdoors – but all dogs must have access to the house).

    Other than that, we can probably find a dog to suit your situation – but we do take the suitability of the animal for the family as our number one criteria.

    My point is that there is a happy medium. For both rescues, and for Oreo’s law.

    Reply
  38. Hamilton

     /  July 3, 2010

    “I say make both sides accountable and assume good intentions for everyone, not just the rescues.”

    On this, we certainly agree.

    I would happily submit to a reporting system. Finding an ACO that would accept and analyze such reports is likely to be the difficult part of that suggestion, however. This would require effort. From a shelter that obviously already does not want to deal with rescues.

    Reply

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