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Pets: To Adopt or Not to Adopt and From Whom

This is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax…

I definitely like and appreciate animals. I have had many over my lifetime, the majority of which were adopted from state organizations. At the moment, I do not have any at all. The main reason is because my previous pets either died of old age, or I had to put them down because of health reasons. Losing a pet that has become part of the family is difficult, but sometimes it is helpful to bring a new family member home.

I had been considering doing just that, when I came across a disturbing trend. Apparently, it is now common place for alleged “Animal Rescuers” take on the role of a financial breeder. Now what do I mean by that? Let me explain:

I have never bought an animal from a breeder. Personally, I have a slight issue with breeding when there are so many animals that need homes. Now understand, I have actually met breeders that are absolutely wonderful people and they are wonderful to their animals. And if I had 200 to 500 extra dollars lying around, I would consider buying from them. However, I have also either seen directly or seen the results of horrifying breeders who are slowing killing and abusing their animals just to make a buck. How does this tie into my previous statement? Animals from good and bad breeders are by no means cheap. Purchasing a pet from a breeder will cost you, especially if you’re looking for a pure breed. State and private rescue organizations used to (some still do) ready an animal for adoption and charge a nominal fee, usually between $30 and $75. Because of the high cost of equipment and supplies, many now charge even more. Due to the huge increase in the stray population, eventually breed rescuers came into the picture. They would take home as many pure or mixed of a specific breed as they could from animal shelters and adopt them out themselves. Good right? Well, that depends. What I have recently discovered is that these same people are now charging $250 to $500 or more for animals that they found at a shelter or on the street. Many of the animals they are charging this for are not even remotely a pure breed. To make matters worse, they are keeping these animals (up to 6 or more) in their homes, with there children, other pets, other people, and then it begins: If you check websites such as petfinder.com, you will find that many shelters use this or similar services to post their adoptable animals online. You will also find that many rescuers use these services under very loving business names. What you may not realize is that there is no specific location for these “businesses”. That in itself is fine, because for one, it saves on overhead costs. So, then why are they charging so much for animals that need homes? MANY of these people and/or organizations are taking advantage of the fact that people will spend a lot of money on or for their pets. But in the same breath, these same people will criticize breeders for the fees they charge and the number of animals they have. These people are keeping these animals in full families (children, spouse, siblings), but will claim to be protecting the animals from the following situations:
1. They will not release animals to a home with children…They claim the animals will not do well in a household that has children younger than certain ages. This I find interesting considering these people have children of those ages in their homes. Hmm, I wonder why their homes with kids is fine, but noone else’s is? Maybe because their kids are terrorizing these helpless animals…just a thought.
2. Some have told me that they refuse to release an animal to a home that does not have a fence, no exceptions, for the safety of the animal… I have personally driven by homes (in different counties) of these “saviors”, and many of them do not have fences. But again, their homes don’t apply.
3. They must visit your home to make sure it is suitable and acceptable for the animal… Did I mention that I have driven by their homes? I have seen conditions that compare to some of the worst breeders ever. Again, their homes don’t apply.
4. They will not release (some) of the animals to homes with one or more dogs… Let’s recap–They have one or more of their own personal cats, dogs, and others, and they usually have at least three “adoptable” pets. Are you seeing a pattern?

You may be thinking that I’ve tried to adopt an animal from these people; I have not. I began this journey simply by visiting my local shelter. They did not have a dog that I was interested in, except one that was on a waiting list because he was of a popular breed, Shih Tzu. Hmm… a state animal shelter with a waiting list. Anyway, they told me about petfinder.com, so I checked it out. That is when I began seeing all of the “rescue organizations” and the fees they charge. I could not believe what I was seeing. I began calling them to find out about their policies, and to be honest, I started feeling sick. Many of them are charging more than reputable breeders, and as I said, most of their animals are not pure breed. Some of them are calling the fees home-ing fees. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in paying for their motgage, long distance phone bill, and ipods for their kids. From the information I have gathered, they are claiming to care only about the animals, and they will make sure the prospective adopter is fit or they will not release the animal. I beg to differ about that. I made a deal with two different families that were looking for a dog to welcome home. I asked them if they would give me information regarding their experiences (different approaches were taken to insure accuracy). They did, and the results were extremely unsettling. One family (who said they had a dog, but did not) was told that they could take the dog home immediately without a site visit, if they would agree to pay a little more. The other family took their 4yr old son with them to a parking lot to view several animals (yes, I said parking lot) from a different rescuer. This rescuer previously told them that she would not release an animal to a home with children under the age of six. She changed her mind when she saw $360 cash. (The family did not get a dog from this person, but instead adopted from a local shelter.)

1–I am frustrated with what these people are getting away with. They claim to care about these animals and their future living conditions, but refuse to let you see their homes…I wonder why.
2– They are charging outrageous fees for animals they took from shelters or found wondering the streets.
3– They are blatantly judging people and their families when they should be placed under one serious microscope themselves.
4– I am saddened by the fact that there are many wonderful families, with or without children, who are being judged unfairly because they don’t have that kind of money available to “adopt” a pet, or because they don’t have a fence. Yes, fences are important– but what about apartment dwellers or people like myself that have a lot of land? I guess if you don’t have a fence, you aren’t capable of keep an animal safe.

I beg you… if you are planning on adopting a pet from a “professional” rescuer or a “family” rescuer, please do your homework. Do not agree to meet these people at a “convenient” location. Insist on seeing the homes where these animals have been living. If you are willing to pay the big bucks, insist they give you papers on the animal. Remember, many of these animals are strays. Where are they going to get valid papers? And consider; how can someone who is taking in several strays into their complete families claim that those animals cannot be around other dogs, cats, or children? Yes, at times, this is valid, depending on the animal. But it is certainly not the norm. Consider this–What if many of these dogs and other animals became traumatized AFTER living with these people and their children and their animals in their homes? Possible don’t you think?

Now, I’m not saying ALL rescuers are bad, just as I’m not saying all breeders are bad. That is certainly not the case. However, I am saying that there are many questionable people out there claiming to have the animal’s best interest at heart. They have cuddly and warm names for their “organizations”, and now they make a lot of money in the name of rescue. BEWARE!!

There are many great organizations & people out there that truly care about animals. If you are looking for a new pet, please research the places and the people that you are considering. And always Be Aware.

Now that I have gotten this off my chest and reported many of these groups to the proper authorities, I can now resume my search for the new member of my family. Stay tuned for updates.

Thank you for reading this and thank you for your comments.

Be well,
And That’s What’s on My Desk

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