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« No Kill Conference Day 2 -- some reading material | Main | Breed Descrimination isn't just for city councils »

May 05, 2009



I agree, we need a paradigm shift.

While I think many of the folks who I've witnessed dropping off animals appear irresponsible, that does not serve animals or people. That type of thinking only engenders feelings of scorn and contempt, which are not helpful when trying to create meaningful change.

No, I don't think everyone should be allowed to adopt an animal. I also don't think it's very useful to make people jump through fifty flaming hoops to adopt an animal.

Which, of course, makes me glad I don't work in a shelter where I'd have to figure out the medium that serves the most number of animals and people. :)


The ridiculous hoops you must jump through to get approved are the product of the questioners making the reality they believe exists.

If I can find a list of criteria that I think sound good, but really have nothing to do with being a good owner, I can grill people looking for the perfect owner, with no real evidence that this will be true, just my self satisfaction that I believe good owners to be rare and only a limited few people can pass my test, so they must be the same.

They don't understand supply and demand and they don't understand why people get pets. So they can't understand why so many get rid of them. In all that ignorance, they make up reasons. Then they make up solutions.

With so many made up problems, and made up solutions, they have very full questionnaires. And the truth is, they SUCK at what they do. Recidivism rates to shelters are sky high.


Rescues need to make sure that they are emphasizing Education rather than Restriction- who are they to judge whether or not someone would make a great home? And actually- who says all animals need a great home? What's wrond with an adequate home?


well said, Anne!
"the perfect is the enemy of the good"
Sometimes you have to wonder if some of these shelter managers and rescuers, in truth) really want people to have pets, given the absurd requirements they set. Pet Connection has a great report on remarks by presenters at the conference about some of the incredibly easy things any shelter can do to increase adoption rates, without any increase in budget. Maybe Brent will add his perspective


Brent, you're speaking in generalizations again.

A good number of the municipal public shelters that we consult with allow the public to purchase pets with minimal or no screening at all. Want a pit bull or american bulldog or mix? I can point you to a dozen shelters AND rescues that will throw the dog at you, no home visits, no screening, no backflips required. (Need a guard dog? no problem!) We know because we get to be dragged in to do consults and clean up when things go wrong at home. ;-)

There may be specialized rescues (french bulldog rescue comes to mind) that get a plethora of applications for a handful of dogs that screen much tighter that most. I say, bully for them.

But french bulldogs and other sought after breeds don't really count as shelter dogs, do they? The fad breeds that are suffering at the hands of the most irresponsible owners are the ones that need to stay in the front and center of this conversation.

I would love to see more members of the public willing to learn how to rescue so we can get more of the real shelter dogs - the pit bulls, american bulldogs and, now, mastiff mixes and chihuahuas - out of the kennels and into safe hands before their behavior goes to sh*t. But that's where the conversation usually ends ... "I'd love to foster but I can't because...."

It's so much easier to blame the shelters and rescues for not doing enough.



Of course there are a great number of rescues and shelters that do things very well. I did not mean to imply that all them are wrong. And I'm sure the environment in the Bay area is much different than it is here. We have dozens of rescue groups here that hold onto fencing requirements -- even though a larger part of our urban population is moving into condos and lofts that can't accommodate fencing -- or are moving into subdivisions in the burbs that don't allow fences.

We of course have many that are very good about getting dogs into homes -- and this post isn't directed at them. But we have a lot of breed-neutral rescue groups that are denying nearly as many applications as they're accepting...and that's just messed up.

And not everyone that is critical of how some of the rescues are doing things are people who aren't doing anything to help...


I don't mean to argue with you B, but hassle free pet purchases are not just a bay area thing ...

Los Angeles AC only requires a photo ID to get any pet. No muss, no fuss.
San Diego AC, same thing.

Not that I agree with that practice!

I'm just sayin.' It's not hard to buy a shelter animal in one of the most pet overpopulated states in the county -- Even the most irresponsible of pet owners can have their pick.


YES, we should absolutely blame the irresponsible shelters and rescues that AREN'T doing enough to get dogs in homes in at LEAST the same breath the we blame the irresponsible public.

Citing examples from CA does not make anything in this post any less true. KCMO AC had little to no application process - IF you could get there when they were open and IF you could stomach going into the den of death.

If a shelter or rescue doesn't have ridiculous adoption guidelines then obviously this post wasn't directed at them.

Ending the killing in this country will take ALL aspects of our animal welfare system to be re-evaluated and maximized to its fullest potential.


"It's not hard to buy a shelter animal"..

interesting framing! Do shelters now understand what they do as "selling", not "adopting out"?


> If a shelter or rescue doesn't have ridiculous adoption guidelines then obviously this post wasn't directed at them.

To be effective with your messaging, I think it's necessary to cite examples rather than pepper spray cyber space with the idea that tens of thousands of random organizations may be too restrictive with their adoption criteria. My sense is that Brent's criticisms are generally targeted at KCMO's dysfunction as well as your local rescues, but that usually doesn't come out until we tussle in the comment section. As you know, I'm with you 100% on the desire to get dysfunctional orgs up to speed, but am always concerned about broad stroking as a means to a goal. But hey - it's your blog! And I should just shut up.



I don't have a huge problem with broadstroking this. Obviously there are quite a few groups who are doing this well -- but I think there is a pretty large number who is getting this very wrong.

Back in September, I posted about a story that ran in the Chicago Tribune on adoption standards. You can read that post here:

On top of the 19 comments I received on that article, the Chicago Tribune article had nearly 300 responses of people with stories about their adoption applications being denied. I think this is a bigger problem than just in Kansas City (and we do have some very good groups here BTW)...and ignoring it will not make it better any time soon.

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