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Interesting, well-written piece about animal shelters and HSUS-style sheltering...

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  • Interesting, well-written piece about animal shelters and HSUS-style sheltering...

    I thought this was a great read: http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2011/08/g...d-not-apply-2/
    Here today, gone tomorrow...

  • #2
    Originally posted by FrenchFrytheEqHorse View Post
    great find.

    But I had to stop reading early on....can't afford to go postal at this time.

    Sadly the symptoms are too common...

    Had a woman tell me that her parents were not able to get a dog from the shelter...they had picked one to be euthed the next day, figured the black lab (popular among turn ins, not to much in check outs ) to accompany their younger (late teens) daughter with a disability to keep her company. That would have been largely a 24/7 job....no fence too close to the road....free to good home from the local paper was easy....


    • #3
      My friend wanted a dog, and it was disallowed because she had a fenced yard and "would be tempted to make the dog an outdoor dog"... despite the fact that she said she left her current dog in all day.

      Our local animal control is a great place to adopt from- a few basic standards- current pets need to be registered and current on vaccines, they have a paragraph about the care required and require spay/neuter.

      I pet sit for a lot of people- people who care enough to pay often in excess of $40 a day for care. It is amazing at how much variety you will see in care and set up for animals- and how adaptable animals can be! Happy yard dogs, outdoor kitties that show up, weimeraners living in highrises.....people with babies and giant dogs.


      • Original Poster

        The shelter from which I adopted my pit bull mix also has comparatively lax adoption requisites. They know they're fighting an uphill battle with the animals they serve, so they don't make it harder on themselves. To adopt, you need to have a copy of your lease agreement stating you can have pets (or a similar signed statement from your landlord) if you are renting, and you need to fill out their standard (basic) application that has questions like "have you ever owned a pet before? Do you know of/have a vet? Would you prefer a couch potato or jogging partner?). Then, they require that you go to a 45 minute training class (they hold several each day, so they are not hard to attend) that covers things like when to take your pet to the emergency vet, how to approach strange animals/people, places in the city that you can take your pet for exercise, etc. If you do all of these things, you can take your pet home the same day.

        I really, really liked this piece!
        Here today, gone tomorrow...


        • #5
          Take Winograd with a grain of salt. While I agree that shelters need to more progressive with their adoption policies and their programs for moving pets into new homes, Tompkins County is not all he says it was. But that's a different argument.

          The top shelters in the country have been making adoptions more customer-friendly for years and finding compelling new ways to make critters adoptable/intriguing to the public (ie: free cats, huge discounts, bit adoption events, etc). And it's not because of Winograd.


          • #6
            Intersting article (and I know this guy usually comes with some debate, haha).

            It is interesting to decide which is worse: euthing or the potential for a bad home. I think it is possible to minimize the opportunities for a pet to get placed in a bad home though without completely shooting yourself in the foot. I think maybe shelters have gotten a little too comfortable with the idea of euthanasia as a totally acceptable solution. I don't blame them, and it's hard change your way of thinking. I don't necessarily think NO kill is the only option, but I've seen some of the euthanasia statistics at our local shelters, and it's a bit shocking.

            Working with the general public can be very challenging, and I understand completely the tendency to get jaded quickly. Getting so jaded that you start thinking euthing the majority of your intakes (common at a lot of big shelters) is better than rehoming them is a problem. It's hard as a completely open shelter though.

            I think he makes a good point saying that high volume, high kill shelters probably should make their adoption policies a bit less strict. Sure, you don't want to let a pet go to a bad home or have it go to a place where it might be returned, but I think there are ways to manage that without having to resort to euthanasia as frequently. They should probably consider the lesser of the two evils to be adoption rather than euthing.

            I personally haven't run into too many issues with lots of red tape (and most of the least restrictive policies I've encountered are at high volume or open shelters), but I've heard some horror stories about it.

            I was volunteering at a greyhound event the other day and thinking one of the adoption coordinators was maybe being a little TOO forceful about the cons of greyhound adoption. Starting her pitch like this, "Yes, they are great dogs, BUT..." I was like, let's get them interested before we start telling them why they should pick out another breed...


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by BLBGP View Post
              Take Winograd with a grain of salt. While I agree that shelters need to more progressive with their adoption policies and their programs for moving pets into new homes, Tompkins County is not all he says it was. But that's a different argument.

              The top shelters in the country have been making adoptions more customer-friendly for years and finding compelling new ways to make critters adoptable/intriguing to the public (ie: free cats, huge discounts, bit adoption events, etc). And it's not because of Winograd.
              I don't think anyone is suggesting the article is a good one BECAUSE Winograd wrote it- I simply meant to suggest that it highlights a lot of the issues that adopters face from shelters/rescues with HSUS-style adoption programs. I found the reference to the "interrogation room" poster particularly poignant. I am also not familiar with Tompkins County, so indeed took that with a grain of salt as I read his many references to it. I also don't think it was written in a manner that lumped ALL shelters into the "antiquated adoption programs" category. It was clear to me even before I read this that certain shelters/rescues work a lot harder under much more logical guidelines than others. Such is life...

              I work in human adoption. Our agency is making waves in our region with a project designed to reunite teenagers in foster care with their birth parents, which is just one alternative to seeing kids grow up in a foster care system that definitely under-serves them. Through the employment of counseling, educational, vocational, and various other types of programs, this has been a successful method of getting kids OUT of bad foster homes and into more stable families that become life long connections. Of course this isn't an option for a lot of foster kids (ie, those that have been abused, etc), and we see that reality. But through the examination of less traditional options, we've managed to create successful outcomes for many families facing a not so bright future.

              Whenever adoption programs (regardless of type) become too stringent in their characterization of potential adopters, they do a disservice to the "victim". The phrase "no exceptions" is almost always a cop out. Drawing the line is necessary, but also not all that difficult. A lot of people invoke the old slippery slope argument- you know, that "if we start making exceptions for this guy without a fenced yard that wants to adopt the 15 year old 3 legged lab, we're going to start making exceptions to rules against adopting animals out to people who've been convicted of animal abuse...". It's just not that easy to go from "exception A" to "exception Z".

              People that spend time working or volunteering the animal industry are passionate about what they do. Unfortunately, as is often seen on these boards (haha, read ANY of the dog food threads), that translates into "there is only one right way". That quickly becomes gospel for many, and anyone not in the club gets labeled as "less caring, less intelligent, less educated, less _____". Rescues are often guilty of the same thing.

              I am glad my shelter allowed me to adopt my dog while I was renting a house without a fenced yard. She means the world to me and I am certain that her life with me (in my urban, yardless apartment) is exponentially better than the 5 months she spent in the shelter, and most certainly better than euthanasia (from which she was just hours away when I adopted her). I know MY life is absolutely better because of her!
              Here today, gone tomorrow...


              • #8
                Unfortunately, as is often seen on these boards (haha, read ANY of the dog food threads), that translates into "there is only one right way".
                Yup, at work I see so many different lifestyles and care methods for dogs and cats. Very few are ever unhappy with their situation- mainly it is cats, missing their owners. Many people with small children have giant dogs.... and little dogs! Many a lab lives without a fenced yard.


                • #9
                  And this is exactly why I started my own rescue!

                  I was volunteering at an adoption event and overheard a local breed rescue "lg active breed" refuse to take an application from a couple who had recently lost their "same breed" oldster and wanted another. The reason? They had a fenced yard and these dogs were to be "indoor only".

                  I was like :

                  Craziness! With North Carolina euthanizing upwards of 150,000 dogs a year why in the world would you turn someone down without even checking them out??

                  Our rescue has pledged to consider only whether someone will be a good pet owner overall.... do they have a plan for exercise? A vet in mind if they are a new owner or a current vet? If they want a puppy, what are their training plans? Basic common sense good owner type things.

                  Anything more is ego and aggrandizing....
                  HaHA! Made-est Thou Look!


                  • #10
                    Anything more is ego and aggrandizing....
                    Yes, and it is very sad. I love Charlotte Mecklenburgs shelter. The staff is so happy when a pet gets a home! None of this judginess, just a big thanks and a smile as they see a cat get a home.

                    There are some really good rescues too, that are very sane. My Heidi came from Project HALO and they dropped her off (house check) and were so grateful. I gave them a rescue dog and they found him a great home in no time.

                    I think the bad ones can give all rescues a bad name.

                    The other thing I have noticed is that really dedicated "animal people" can be very bad with relating to people. Some of the best sitters where I work are horrible with people. They just come off all wrong and seem to dislike people.


                    • #11
                      with HSUS-style adoption programs
                      HSUS? the ones who don't run any shelters and collect lots of money they don't spend on shelters?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                        HSUS? the ones who don't run any shelters and collect lots of money they don't spend on shelters?

                        That would be the one.


                        • #13
                          I just recently adopted a collie. I contacted many collie rescues...some didn't want a collie on a horse farm (?????), some didn't think my 4 board fencing was adequate fencing, but invisible fence is a no no, one said I had too many areas in the house with wood floors, one wanted me to bring (300 miles away) all members of my family, including the barn cat (who doesn't get along with my foxhound at all) to meet the new dog.

                          The rescue I used (Tri-State Collie rescue) had reasonable rules, checked with my vets and a reference. Asked for and I emailed pictures of the inside and outside of the house. They also charged a very reasonable fee.

                          But, there are a lot of fruitcakes out there and I strongly believe the ones with the most stringent rules are actually hoarders masquerading as rescues. Yes, you do need to vet an adopter, but, really, some of the rules make my brain hurt.

                          Then, on the other hand, there is the "shelter" in my county that will not take cats. Period. They make a very limited effort to adopt out dogs (4 days on death row) and when they do adopt one, they are not neutered or spayed...just a rabies shot. Way to go, Madison County shelter...what's the deal? Job security?


                          • #14
                            I had too many areas in the house with wood floors
                            WTF was the reasoning for that? Hardwoods are GREAT when you have pets- easy clean up! My house is all hardwoods. OK, except the ugly linoleum in the kitchen. My poor, poor animals. Forced to live on hardwoods. Death is a better option.

                            I kind of get the horse barn objection (safety) and the fence (the dog could slip out) but hardwood floors?

                            I pet sat for a house- all hardwoods (OMFG!) no fenced in yard, a collie, pittie and a chow mix.... and they had small kids. All the dogs were happy, healthy and obviously well loved.

                            In fact, I can only think of ONE dog that I sit for that would meet their approval- she has carpet! A chain link Fence.... but OHMYGOD on nice days, her golden retreiver spends the day in the yard.

                            I can say- they should screen for renters a little more carefully- nothing makes me angrier than "Pookie needs a home IMMEDIATELY because my new apartment does not take dogs!"... in my city, I think there are 2 apartment complexes out of what 1000+ that don't allow pets.


                            • #15
                              Magnolia73, they were afraid the dog would "slip" on the floor when she got older. Yes, my aged collie did slip, but we put down a bunch of area rugs and runners for her.

                              The fence is 4 board, she really can't squeeze under or through...at least not without a lot of work. And really, unless you have fence on a concrete pad that's tall enough to contain a dog...no fence is escape proof.

                              I thought the no horse farm was funny...this is a herding dog after all, rough coat collie. They LOVE to be outside and in the barn. Even on my elder collie's last days, her ears would perk up and she would jog/trot to the barn.


                              • #16
                                Yep, some shelters just shoot themselves in the foot and the animals pay the

                                When we lived in Denver, our big orange and white dog-cat disappeared. He loved to go to the barn with me and all you had to do was call his name and
                                say the word barn, and he was at the door. Normally, he came back in with me but every once in a while Scooter had to take a walk about. I'd leave the garage door up high enough for him to get in and crack the door to the garage so he could push his way in.

                                Well, one night he didn't come in and never saw him again. Neighbors said that
                                he would come and visit (news to me as I thought he stayed on our property
                                during daytime outings).

                                Made many trips to several shelters over the next few weeks just in case he had "hitched" a ride as he loved getting into open vehicles. A big, gray fluffy
                                blue-eyed cat caught my eye and attempted to adopt him. A sweet teen aged
                                volunteer took my application but wouldn't let me have him as our cat hadn't been missing 30 days. What would I do if Scooter came home? Told her I'd now have 4 cats instead of 3 cats and with 3 levels of house and 3600 sf it wouldn't be a problem. Still no....so I had a friend go and adopt him while I waited in the parking lot. Sam was with us until earlier this year when old age
                                caught up with him and he had to take the trip over the Bridge.


                                • #17
                                  I was AMAZED when we went to our local shelter to adopt a kitten (they were having a half-off sale, it makes me laugh and cry at the same time...) and all they wanted to hear was "I've had cats all my life" "We have 2 at home already" and we walked in there with our 3 month old son!

                                  I even told them "we're planning on keeping her as an indoor cat" their response was pretty much 'okay' (from my understanding they occasionally actually have 'barn cats' to adopt out )

                                  No problem, paid our money, got a ticket for Tasha to be spayed when the time came (included with adoption fee!) & off we went. Kitty got a great home & they made room to save more animals - that is how these places should run!!

                                  Unfortunately Tasha ended up not working very well with out family (she was too shy and we were too loud!) but she now lives a very happy life with my single sister .
                                  "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                                  Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                                  Need You Now Equine


                                  • #18
                                    Years ago (the cat in question is now 12) I found a teenage kitten. I was on a day trip with some friends to a city maybe 30 minutes from where I lived, so I took the kitty home in my car and proceeded to call the radio stations and animal services in the city in which the cat was found.

                                    I wanted to let the animal services folks know I had the kitten in case anyone was looking for it. But I was prepared to keep him if no calls came in.

                                    I was told I was REQUIRED BY LAW to bring the kitten to them so it could sit in a cage for three weeks. After said three weeks, if no one adopted him, I could adopt him for $85.00.

                                    Radio silence ensued. I did not pick up my phone for unknown numbers for about two months (yes they DID call and harass me!). My boss promised he'd step in and say it was his cat and that I had returned it to him, but I found avoidance the best approach.

                                    Seriously? Drive a half hour to put a cat in a place with (presumably) limited space and (also presumably) the potential for the spread of illness, and then have to pay $85.00? What kind of fool did they take me for? And in whose best interest was THAT?
                                    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                                    • #19
                                      Winograd's a slick bullshit artist. It's funny how rescue is such a female occupation, but the big political operators seem to always be guys. There's a big loudmouth rescue guy in Philly who every time there's a pet story, him and 'his' organization are front and center with quotes and compelling photographs.

                                      That said, I am so grateful that I have a long relationship with a good shelter. This has enabled me to bypass the horrors of dealing with dog people who are batshit crazy.

                                      Originally posted by JoZ View Post
                                      And in whose best interest was THAT?
                                      The previous owners', maybe? I know, the odds are good nobody is looking for any given stray, but I have to side with the law there. If you're looking in a shelter for a lost pet and you don't see it in the cages, you might not go to the staff and ask if someone called in to say they're keeping a lost kitten at their house.


                                      • #20
                                        Some of the rescues definitely go overboard, but I believe their intentions are good. I know that they are trying to keep their "charges" from going into another bad situation (presumably the pets have already lost one home).

                                        We walked out of one local rescue after getting the third degree, and adopted our dogs elsewhere. My mother later wanted to volunteer there (she had volunteered there in the past, and has had dogs and cats all her life) and they asked for 3 references. Are you kidding me? I guess they have too many volunteers?