Rescue Group: I Will Hold You Back

Toto, a band well known for a string of hits in the 80s including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back”, was fronted by singer Bobby Kimball.  Kimball and his wife, Jasmin Gabay, formed a rescue group called Saving K9 Lives in California in 2011.  The group’s website has a number of pleas posted for more foster homes in the Los Angeles area.  Rescues typically ask for more fosters so that they can pull more pets from area pounds to save them from being killed.

Saving K9 Lives recently received an offer even better than a foster home – an area pet owner fell in love with one of the group’s dogs and offered to give the dog, called Eloise, a permanent, loving home.  Criss Keeler filled out an adoption application, sent photos of her home and of her 10 year old dog Finnegan.  She was initially approved for the adoption and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new family member:

The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her “forever home.”
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
“She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything,” Keeler recalled. “She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process.”

Gabay took Eloise and left.  An hour later, Keeler checked the group’s website and saw that Eloise had been re-listed as a dog in need of a home.  She immediately emailed Gabay to again offer to give Eloise a good home.  Gabay replied stating that the adopters were good, but the neighborhood was not and therefore – no pet for you.

Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group’s adoption standards.

“Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process,” the statement said.

“If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won’t know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It’s our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter’s work schedule.”

Right.  But none of those things were a factor here.  So I assume the only reason any of those issues are being brought up is because the first draft yo-hood-so-skanky didn’t pass muster with the group’s PR peeps.

So let’s tally up:

  • Saving K9 Lives prevented an adopter who wanted to rescue a dog in need from saving one.  Now that person may be soured on the process and will perhaps seek another source for a dog.  Maybe it will be a source we all think is wonderful.  Maybe not.  I’m guessing she’ll probably look for a source that isn’t so snooty.  I can think of several.  And she’ll perhaps tell her friends and family that applying for a rescue dog is a bad experience and recommend they find alternative sources for their next pets.
  • Saving K9 Lives prevented Eloise, who is in a foster home, from going to a permanent home.  Now Eloise is back in limbo instead of learning to feel secure and comfortable in her new life.  But at least she doesn’t have to set her paws down on those inferior sidewalks in East Hollywood, I guess.
  • Saving K9 Lives returned Eloise to her foster home, which they say they need more of, so now there is no free space available there.  I’m sure the dogs currently waiting to be killed at area pounds all completely understand why Eloise had to take up that foster space.  It will surely be a great comfort in the kill room.

Everybody loses.  Congratulations.

Pets do not know or care about their neighborhood status.  They want to love their people and feel loved in return.  Eloise had a chance for that but was denied because of an unfounded bias against poor people.

Discriminating against “good adopters” because they don’t have a fancy zip code holds us all back.  If Saving K9 Lives truly wants to save pets from being killed at the pound, the group needs an attitude adjustment.  Otherwise, a name change may be in order – something like “Saving K9 Lives from Being Wrecked by Having to Suck the Same Air as the Poors” might more accurately reflect the group’s mission.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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11 Comments

  1. Having spent yesterday following my poor elderly diabetic friend as she chased down her naughty dogs that had gotten loose in the snow, I can vouch once again for the fact that love has no price tag.

    Reply
  2. Adrianne Mock

     /  February 25, 2015

    Sadly enough, despite the pleas for homes/fosters etc, denials like this are not uncommon. An elderly gentleman , after being widowed, and not wanting to live alone, went to a shelter (in NYC) to adopt a cat.

    Filled out all the paperwork, did all the hoop jumping…and was denied.

    Reason? Not income – he was fairly wealthy.
    not living place- had a high end condo in the City (and was pet approved).
    Not age etc. – he was healthy and well able to care for hkmself and a pet.

    They denied him because (drumroll please)…..

    He hadnt owned a cat before so they did not consider him “qualified” to adopt one of their cats. He ended up getting a kitten from a friend.

    Good potential homes are denied all the time for not so good reasons… they have kids /they dont have kids, theh have other petz/they dont have other pets, they work /they dont work. You just cant win…

    Reply
  3. Maureen Moreau

     /  February 25, 2015

    Wasn’t sure about copying and pasting on your blog Criss Keeler’s comment from this article: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/East-Hollywood-woman-heartbroken-dog-adoption-application-is-denied-after-rescue-group-founder-deems-neighborhood-unsuitable-293757721.html Her background and experience strongly suggests that she would have provided a freaking awesome home for Eloise.

    Reply
  4. Well, these people live in the bad part of town, and are trying to get their hands on a terrier – probably dog fighters, yo. No fenced yard, probably going to get a treadmill to buff that Yorkie up for fighting…or maybe just chain her out on the patio. Cause that’s what “those people” do, you know? Can’t be decent folk capable of loving and caring for an animal if they don’t meet certain financial standards, you know?

    The whole thing is depressing. How did so many rescues lose their way? Oh, right, humans.

    Reply
  5. I get people who sound like they have PTSD call me after going through other rescues trying to meet their “standards”, it’s so sad because these are generally good people, or people who were trying to do a good thing yet they have been picked apart like a common criminal. Then they have been put down & made to feel like garbage ~ For trying to adopt. I have had NOTHING but trouble with local & some out of state rescues because generally my “adoption fee” is the vetting spay/neuter, shots, microchip ~ done through our vet so they get the reduced fee. It’s a win win win situation. I don’t have to spend the money, the vet gets a write off with my non-profit, the animals get a home & I have more space for another dog sitting on death row. I will also take up pools to get a shut in or senior or disabled vet an animal when we find someone in need. I get calls from the community workers, & volunteers that let me know where to find them. I even go to these poor neighborhoods & find dogs that need to be fixed & pay for it & trust me no one is more grateful or proud of their dog or cat that won’t repeat the cycle… I do free shot, flea med & wormer clinics for working & fixed income, even homeless people. I adopt dogs or cats out to people in apartments, people on a fixed income, people in any neighborhood, people who have never had a dog before. In 6 yrs we have had 3 dogs returned, all by well off, experienced pet owners, in nice neighborhoods. Go figure… We have one rescue/dog pimp up here who sells dogs for up to 1400 each but the going price IF you can pass all the snotty processes is about 375 to 550 it’s just sad.

    Reply
  6. Vania

     /  February 25, 2015

    On the bright side, looks like this person found another dog to rescue, “Keeler told NBC4 she ended up adopting a different dog that was rescued from the streets of South LA.”

    Reply
  7. I’ve had a rescue tell me no one living in the rural south is capable of properly caring for animals. They didn’t even bother to check my references or interview me. They just saw where my zip code was and wrote me off. And they told me exactly why I was refused.

    So in the end, I’m likelt going to get a dog from a *gasp* breeder. Just this once I want a particular breed, and it is non existent where I live.

    It’s stories like this that make me believe “rescues” are the biggest force driving people to breeders over adoption.

    Reply
    • “Adopt, don’t shop – except for you, and you, and you, and those guys, and these people, and them over there…”

      Reply
  8. I think what happens is that these rescuers unfairly & foolishly & falsely generalize from a few unfortunate incidents. Someday we need to talk about the fact that in a way rescue is like a herd health situation — you’re going to fail in a certain small percentage of cases & have a certain no. of heartbreaks.

    Reply
  9. Everyone here is commenting on a situation that they have absolutely NO direct knowledge of. NON of you were there. My assumption is that NON of you know the people involved.. How often have we heard and seen stories of rescue organizations just dropping off animals to people that they really have no clue about? No home checks, no reference checks. NOTHING to check out what conditions the animals would be placed in. Now I do TOTALLY agree, discrimination is an awful word and an awful deed. People should NOT be discriminated for the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, their sex or sexual orientation. But keep this in mind folks, we ALL would have been making a judgement had that dog been dropped off without anyone checking into the environment that dog would have been placed in!!!!! Often people’s intuition’s are a lot better than people like to give credit to. And while this person may have been unfairly refused the dog because of her neighborhood, I would ask this, how many people would drop a pit bull off in a neighborhood where there is known gangs and dog fighting? Now maybe the analogy is a might far fetched in this particular situation, but I would rather have the rescue and the dog be safe than sorry. Because you all know, if, g-d forbid, something happened to that dog in the future you all would have been crucifying the rescue group!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Kerri DeBlasi

     /  June 20, 2015

    @Jerry Edelman: I’m going to comment on this situation that I do have first hand knowledge of. Criss Keeler is my daughter. She worked as an assistant in an animal hospital here in Connecticut for five years. She was raised with pups and kittens and various other farm livestock that she assisted with at home. She is an animal LOVER and has personally saved and rescued many animals both tame and wild. She comes from a family that loves and nurtures animals so much that I believe it is in her blood. She had never “whoops” let an animal get away from her and run out in the street or run away from home, etc. All her animals have always been extremely well cared-for. When she comes back to Connecticut to visit us, she helps me take care of my current animals: three dogs, three cats, and flock of chickens (half of all of these are rescues). The woman who owns alleged “saving K9 lives” has no clue the wonderful opportunity she denied to Eloise. And this rescue group isn’t alone. I’ve two friends who were denied by other rescue groups in the past month. One was deemed “too old for a puppy” at 72 years young (and active!) the other denied a puppy because they actually work and wouldn’t be with the dog 24/7… EVEN THOUGH they had a puppy babysitter lined up for while they were at work! The discrimination seems too rampant with many rescue agencies. What a shame it leads people desiring to adopt a pet to search out a place to instead purchase one, via breeders or pet shops.

    Reply

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