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« Palin Edorses Pit Bulls | Main | Wow. »

September 04, 2008



I definitely agree that too much has been made on finding the "perfect" home all the while passing over "perfectly good" homes.

Your example about the Boxer mix, though, doesn't reflects poorly on the dedication that person had to adoption, not on the rescue itself. They probably could have adopted a dog w/o much fanfare from a local city/county run shelter. We don't know the reason for denial - there are valid reasons. Unless we know more (they tried one rescue? reason for denial?)this isn't a fair example of rescues setting the bar too high.

It isn't a reason to imply blame on the rescue for the birth of those six puppies - blame falls squarely on the breeder (and possibly the guy who encouraged the breeder).



I honestly can't blame the breeder on this one. I'm no fan of this instance of breeding-- but honestly, the vast majority of breeders are merely meeting demand for dogs that is not being fulfulled elsewhere. If there are people getting turned down for dogs from shelters, they are going to go get dogs elsewhere.

I can't really say I'm concerned about the overall reason for the denial of adoption in this case. There are always "good" reasons for denial. But who benefitted from the denial? Not the dog. Not the rescue. Not the person being denied. Not the next dog awaiting a spot in the rescue. So who won?

The bottom line is that this is a supply and demand business. The shelter/rescue community HAS to make it easier and more customer-friendly for the public at-large to adopt from them if they want to increase their "market share". If we could increase the market share of adopted dogs by 2-3%, we could come very close to ending the killing in the shelters across the US. But we're not going to do that by creating more hoops for people to jump through.


Great blog. I totally agree. So many great homes are skipped over because a certain rescue group does not deem that person suitable. I have heard so many people that got so badly burned by one rescue that they are reluctant to even try another. I think the strict screening process does more harm than good. Though, let me say that I do believe in screening and think it can be useful if done correctly.


The way I see it, so what if the dog is returned, even multiple times? They get a fee each time they place the dog, which is non-ref :>)

Seriously though, a lot of private rescues are very emotional and overly fussy about placing dogs. Some of them never seem to place a dog because something is always wrong (I know one like that here in Ontario). Others are great, have some simple requirements, do home checks and place dogs regularly.

As for the same sex thing, what's the thinking there? I've never had a problem adopting a same sex dog at the SPCA, so maybe this is something new, it's been a few years since I adopted from a shelter.


One problem with rescue screeners that I have seen is that the screeners themselves are relatively new to dogs. By new, I mean, having been in breed, rescue, obedience clubs etc for less than ten years. Yes, I mean ten. When you are a newbie at anything, you tend to think that things should only be one way, the way you know.

The other problem is, most of us who have been in dogs that long are just plain worn out! If I have to teach beginning obedience one more time to folks who won't even use treats, never mind a clicker.....!

I have to add that I too had an application for a rescue dog denied. He was a sweet old 12 year old Lab that ended up in a shelter. Rescue said they "didn't know who I was." What? I hope he found a nice home.....I would have loved to meet him but it didn't work out.


I met one of my dogs thru a wonderful person who was fostering thru our local shelter. She and the pup met me and my dog several times at the dog park and she came to my home for a visit and left the pup with me overnite for a slumber party, to see how the girls got along. This foster (who is now president of a local rescue) wanted me to adopt this dog. She could have adopted her to me herself and the money would have gone to her own rescue. However, she felt it was right to do the adoption (and pay the fee to) thru the shelter. While at the shelter, 3 people in a row, including me, where turned down for one reason or another. (all 3 of us were begging for the chance)

I sympathize with the shelter's grave responsibility for ensuring a safe and proper home. However, I find it very difficult to believe that 3 out of 3 people are not suitable caregivers for homeless animals.

I find it especially difficult to agree that many less than perfect homes are less desirable than the small cages most of these animals are kept in for months.

In the interest of the dog or cat, sometimes we have to take a chance and pray for the best.

By the way, I did not give up and did end up adopting this pup, paying the shelter's fee, along w/ a nice donation to the foster parent's rescue.


Brent, I forgot to comment on how perfect the Soup Nazi is for this piece! You are so clever!


Rinalia's response is a perfect example of what impedes us achieving no kill - blame the irresponsible public, blame the evil breeders. The general public has NO requirement to be "dedicated" to adoption. They have no requirement to visit numerous rescues to find one that will adopt to them - why in the world would someone think they wouldn't be rejected again? And I know the guy Brent is referring to...the reason he got rejected was: who the hell knows, they never bothered to call him back even after repeated messages. This is hardly an isolated story. Oh, and just try to adopt a dog if you're Black or want an outside farm dog. Hell, I remember seeing a post where someone wanted to ADPOT a Great Pyrenese as a working dog - the response was that GPs weren't made to be working dogs only house dogs - WTF!?

Oh, try to adopt a cat if you want it declawed...I despise declawing but with sky high kill rates of cats in our shelters I'm over it.

Some people dedicate themselves to rescue, some people just want a dog - we shouldn't kid ourselves into thinking we're more noble. Why spend months begging to adopt when you can pick one up from a breeder in a couple hours? Breeders breed because people want their puppies, simple supply and demand.


All excellent points, Michelle. Thank you!


yes Michelle. well said.

And "backyard" breeders breed to provide dogs for people who have gotten turned away at shelters and/or don't want to pay $$$$$ for a designer breed and/or don't want to jump through the hoops set up by our beloved responsible breeders.. Was it terrierman who asked what was so bad about someone breeding his sweet family Lab to the nice family GSD who lives down the block, and producing nice puppies for his neighbors?


The fact remains that the breeder chose to breed. The person chose to buy that puppy. Not returning phone calls is unprofessional and rude, it's really bad pr. But how on earth can we jump from "They didn't return my phone call" to "I'm never trusting rescuers again, so let me buy a dog"? That is a failure of logic.

"Why spend months begging to adopt when you can pick one up from a breeder in a couple hours?"

There is a lot of assuming that county/city shelters, especially in more rural areas, are going to require months for you to adopt one of their animals. Go to California's central valley - stop by Madera's shelter or Kern county's shelter where euth rates are around 70%. They'll probably beg you to take a dog or cat. When you're stuck in an area, where it's easy to buy a dog for $5 or get a Lab GSD mix from your neighbor, why bother going to the pound? And when your shelter budget is a measly $5 million, how on earth can you utilize those funds for better education when you can barely pay your ac officers or house the animals?

Like with so many issues, this is way more complex than the broad stroke of "ALL rescuers are putting people through fifty million hoops to adopt, therefore they suck."



I don't think anyone is saying that ALL rescuers are putting people through too many hoops. I certainly hope I didn't imply that. There are a LOT of really great rescues and shelters out there. However, there are also a good many that make it really too difficult to adopt that give the entire community a bad name. My point in posting this is to get people who have really harsh adoption requirements to realize they aren't really helping in this situation.

As for the breeder, I still come back to the fact that they're just filling a demand that in this particular case was created by the rescue. As a marketing person, it's really frustrating to me when people point fingers at this breeder as the problem when there are multiple factors at fault here.

But the we in the rescue community need to clean up our own messes before we start pointing the finger at everyone else as being the problems. Please take the time to read through the comments on the Tribune article. My example I gave is far from an isolated incident.


"The fact remains that the breeder chose to breed. The person chose to buy that puppy." Yes, you are right. This FACT remains despite what you would have liked to see happen. You may not like it but that doesn't effect reality - this type of stuff is happening and needs to be fixed.

"I'm never trusting rescuers again, so let me buy a dog"? That is a failure of logic." - Who's logic? It makes sense to me:
The guy wanted a dog, the rescue wouldn't give him the dog he not only wanted but had fallen in love with, they treated him rudely, so a friend that has a wonderful dog said "Hey, take one of my puppies".

We should be running the business of saving pets lives exactly how we would run any business. Targeted marketing, positive PR, clean comfortable locations, excellent customer and value added service and convenience.


There's a certain type of person who believes that breeding is bad, that puppies being born is somehow a problem, that people who don't want or worse, don't qualify, for the cast-offs at the shelters somehow shouldn't own a dog at all or should feel guilty for getting one.

It's the AR mantra, it's bulls**t and until the shelter industry (as they call it), which is geared to death for many reasons including financial, adjusts its corporate attitude, hires some people who actually care about animal welfare and makes an effort to 'sell' its 'product', things will remain static.

It's ridiculous to condemn someone for breeding dogs and even more ridiculous to condemn someone else for obtaining a dog privately. That's the way the world works and its the way it's always worked.

Dog breeders aren't the problem. People who buy puppies privately aren't the problem. People who are turned down for adoptions aren't the problem.

The problem is the myopic, complacent, bitter bunch who blame everyone and everything but their own system for the problem - assuming a problem exists at all, that is, which I remain unconvinced about.


Just to clarify - I remain unconvinced that the problem is of the proportions claimed and that it is too difficult to solve with any but drastic measures, such as intrusive unconstitutional legislation.


Hey Brent,

You didn't imply that, but it is a general impression I get from other comments.

It's a little ironic that some are so willing to foist blame on the shelter system while also refusing to hold anyone else accountable for producing animals (some of whom end up in that "blameworthy" shelter system). I think it's fair to state that all parties are accountable, both for their actions and for creating problems when there needn't be any.


"One of this adopter's friends had recently gone to a rescue with the hope of adopting a mixed-breed Boxer. For some reason (the friend wasn't even sure why), the rescue denied his application. So after being denied from adopting, the friend went to another friend, encouraged them to breed his unaltered dog, and he adopted one of the litter of puppies."

So, going back to Rinalia's comments--just how is it the rescue's fault that the guy didn't get a dog? I think that guy is an unbelievable jerk for encouraging boxer breeding based on a denial by one rescue. He alone is the reason those six extra puppies were born. That whole story kind of makes me sick and I have no sympathy for this guy whatsoever.



You missed the entire point of me including that story. I don't feel sorry for the guy either. He got a dog.

The point is. He got a dog. The rescue had an opportunity to adopt an unaltered dog to him, get another dog out of rescue and into a home, but they didn't. For whatever reason they didn't think he was worthy of the dog. Them denying him a dog BENEFITED NOBODY.

The point wasn't to feel sorry for the guy who wanted a dog, or for the breeder, as much as noting that it was a missed opportunity - -a missed opportunity for a rescue -- who's primary mission is to put good dogs in good homes -- to fullfil their mission. It was a missed opportunity to put an altered, rescue dog into a home instead of sending him elsewhere to get a dog.

If we're going to ever solve the problem of having animals die in shelters, we're going to have to seize all of our opportunities...and not turn them away. There is no conceivable benefit to turning him away.

There are some parts of this homeless animal problem that we cannot control as a rescue/shelter community, but we must maximize our opportunities on the things we can control...and this rescue failed at that.


"just how is it the rescue's fault that the guy didn't get a dog? "

You mean other than the fact they wouldn't give him one?!?

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