My Photo


follow us in feedly

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Best Of KC Dog Blog

Become a Fan

« Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 8/7/11 | Main | Las Vegas Mandatory Spay/Neuter -- Year 1 »

August 08, 2011



My husband and I quit fostering because of this exact issue. We would meet what we thought were wonderful folks at adoption events, only to see their applications declined for one of the issues you mention here. I still talk to people that tell me the same sad tale of being rudely rejected by various rescue orgs. It's very frustrating and completely counter productive.

I understand the groups want the 'Perfect' families for their adoptables, but I'm a believer in not letting the PERFECT be the ENEMY of the GOOD.


Very good read and very true. Fortunately we were able to adopt our Terrier mix with little to no problems at all and we lived in an apartment. However we went back to the same shelter 2 years later to adopt a Lab/hound mix and they wouldn't even talk to us. Their reasoning was this is an active type of dog and he needs a fenced in yard. "Okay you adopted us an extremely active type of dog two years ago and we didn't have a yard then". Didn't matter, basically their shelter had become more organized and they had more specific qualifications as far as adopters go. Such as must have a fenced in yard to adopt any of their dogs, they won't adopt to homes with children under 6, and all pets in the home must be spayed/neutered, on heartworm preventative, and flea/tick meds.

A friend of mine went to adopt a male border collie mix recently and he has a male french bulldog that the vet advised against neutering due to health reasons he won't survive the surgery. The vet will absolutely not neuter this dog. The shelter turned him down flat. They said that they cannot adopt to a home that has an unaltered dog.

Do I think its good that shelters have guidelines to make sure the dogs go to a good home? Yes. Do I think they should be anything more than guidelines? No. Good homes come in all shapes and sizes. And I feel they are too picky at times and that just causes a major overflow problem. As a shelter volunteer I see it all the time.

Its a sad reality. I do plan to adopt my next dog, however I have been tempted to just find a reputable breeder and get a well bred purebred. Its less of a headache. However my heart belongs to the homeless dogs.


I own my home, have a fenced yard, am a stay at home mom with a working husband and have 3 kids who are all over 6 years old.

I was turned down by the local rescues because of my kids ages. Never mind that I know an energetic and untrained dog may knock a kid over and am ok with this. Kids fall down, dogs learn. It's not an issue.

Then I went to rescues that wanted me to sign contracts stating they have the right to "inspect the home with little or no notice for the lifetime of the pet" or that, by contract, list what brands of food I am allowed to feed and what vet I am allowed to use. WHAT?!!?

Of course, we also ran into some people working with reacue I can only call hoarders. One lady had 14 dogs from the rescue and hadn't allowed any of them to be adopted for over 2 years! Another rescue wanted us to take a dog that had been brought back 3 times for biting the previous adopters...and we have kids!

So, after a few weeks of "rescue nut drama" we decided to contact a breeder. We now have 4 dogs. 2 female American Pit Bull Terriers, an American Bulldog and a Basset Hound. One female APBT we took in from a family member who couldn't afford her ongoing allergy medications and vet visits. The others we got from breeders because we just did not want to deal with the rescues again.

My dogs live a wonderful life with walks, medical care, quality kibble, obedience training, supervision, love and cuddles and free reign to shed all over the furniture. Too bad this home wasn't considered good enough by the "rescues".


Thankfully our dog was a stray, because according to some of these rules we would have never been able to adopt from a rescue. We don't have a fenced yard, we rent our home (18 years), we aren't married (21 years)and we live on a busy road. Our dog does not go out of the house without one of us on the other end of the leash, he has had 2 years of obed/rally training, he has his CGC, he is chipped, he goes to day care twice a week, has health insurance and is loved unconditionally. We would do this for a rescue if we were given the bad we won't be....


This is a brilliant post. Thank you. I've run into these sorts of requirements over and over again. I'm part of an unmarried couple. I live in an apartment. I don't even have a YARD much less a fenced in one. I was so very thankful that the rescue I adopted my wonderful dog from was able to realize that none of that meant a bad life for our dog. In fact, she gets two long walks, plus two short walks every day. Unless she goes to agility class, which we do twice a week.

These sorts of blanket policies are really just BAD, especially considering the dogs you see year after year in these rescues (which means more dogs cannot be pulled from shelters). I understand they want the best possible homes for their animals, but many times they go overboard, much to the detriment of their animals.


Here is my response to your great post!


Ooops. Forgot the response link:

Dianne Rhodes

Great post. Alexandria refused to adopt to my brother because in the past his dog was hit by a car. Disregard the fact that he petitioned the city to put in a light at that intersection, fenced his yard, and changed the front door. "They'd rather kill them themselves." I bought him a Lab from a breeder.

The shelter where I rescue, in response to the ASPCA challenge, held an adopt-a-thon this weekend for 33 hours. All adoptions were processed on the spot and people got to take their new charges home with them. It was name-your-own-price. As a result, 110 dogs and cats were adopted out. There are only 3 dogs left in the shelter! And all the pit bulls are gone. The last puppy was a pit and the family said no pits and then had a change of heart. Thought going through my mind, why didn't we do this before? Now it will be interesting to see how this effects our return rate.


GREAT POST! I had no fence except for the horses when I adopted my first two dogs. They were hand walked about 5 times a day. More healthy for me and them; after I put in a fence, I didn't walk so much and we all lost out. Now with my rescue, I am adjusting my bias toward outdoor dogs (I grew up in Minneapolis; we only had indoor dogs) and have adopted out at least two lately to mostly outdoor homes. I want very good homes, not perfect ones because, SURPRISE!, I am not perfect either.

elaine price

I have been doing rescue for dogs for 11 years - the rescue groups that i have worked with have had very stringent rules and include many that you mention - however, slowly, slowly, we have been coming to the realization that we must look at adoptions as "dog specific" and look for the "best fit" home available for that particular dog - it is a hard balancing act - the most important thing i think for rescue groups to do is to work on education and followup with the adopting family to bring together an environment of people, dogs and happenings which will focus on the well being of the creatures in that household - no, the environment doesn't have to be perfect, it does however, have to be filled with caring and responsible people - the essay has prompted me to think yet more seriously about how to replace "rules" with interactions and support between the rescue and the adopter that will focus on continuing good care for the animals - such a step does demand a certain trust in people - and as i hold in my arms a tiny emaciated Chihuahua with teeth so rotted that to eat is difficult for her, a leg badly injured and how painful i can't tell, i wonder how i can summon up that trust for the human community - i see your point and i do want the animal kill rate to fall to "0", but i can tell you, it is plain difficult to trust my fellow man - sadly my little Heather was one of that 4% of cruelly treated animals - so while rescues need to be introspective, let us suggest some helpful guidelines which will support them to look for "good" homes and not perfect ones, and thus help to further reduce the animal kill rate in this country......elaine


It's frustrating to see rescue groups deny suitable adopters based on them living in an apartment building. I adopted my dog from a rescue organization and I eventually fostered with them. I was offended to later hear one of the other fosters tell me (to my face) that they would never adopt out to me or anyone else who had an apartment because they felt it was unfair to the dog. I work from home, and my dog gets more than the requisite three walks a day (including one minimum three mile walk each day-rain or shine). I believe that adopting out to suitable adopters who live in apartments/condos is actually better than renting out to someone who has a yard because the owner of the yard may just leave their dog in the yard unsupervised, while an apartment/condo dweller is forced to take their dog out.

And I think it's crap about not adopting out to unmarried couples. Married couples don't get divorced? I heard from many applicants who were applying to adopt because they had a pet previously but lost it to their ex in the divorce proceedings.

The goal should be finding suitable, great adopters, not scrutinizing their lifestyle to the point of finding any fault. It not only prolongs the animal from finding a forever home but also turns people off from the adoption option, particularly when pet shops and backyard breeders do not ask any questions and sometimes charge similar prices to the adoption agencies. :(


My wife and I rent. We have two males. And we have no fence. And I guarantee you our dogs receive above-average care. And I bet I walk them 4 miles a day, which keeps me looking hot.

Adopters should have to pass a sniff test though. Last month, two volunteers from the shelter where I volunteer did a home check for a potential adopter. The home was not ideal, but might have passed. Had the guy not told us that his last dog was a pit who kept jumping over the fence. So he put the dog on a chain outside. Then the dog then jumped over the fence while on the chain and hung himself. And the guy told us this completely nonchalantly as if there was nothing he could have done about it. He was declined.


Brent, as usual, I am bowing down to you and muttering "I'm not worthy"...

This is an excellent post and one that needs to be shared far and wide. It's time that everyone who is concerned about animals languishing in shelters start working together to find homes for the pets. Restrictive adoption contracts and clauses about needed fenced yards and no kids and married couples only,etc etc are not helping. I understand the reasoning, but, as you said, it doesn't stop families from getting a pet, it stops them from adopting the pets that you have available.

Here's my take on it, although it's no where as nice as yours!!


Thank you for writing this. As a mom to a 7 month old Pitty pup, I wish I had read this when we were trying to adopt. 3 months of petfinder obsession, many, many, many applications and tears, but we were finally able to write down what ever magic phrases were needed to get through the gatekeepers and bring home the love of my life.

Kathy Pobloskie

Some of my favorite excuses to not adopt:
A Shih Tzu rescue that won't adopt to homes with cats with claws because Shih Tzu's have buggy eyes.
A rescue that doesn't adopt to homes where the public can access the front door. (no mail or deliveries then?)
A rescue that doesn't adopt to homes with smokers or has visitors that smoke.
A rescue that insists all their adopters feed their dogs a natural food that only the rescue sells.
A rescue that wanted to put an adopter on the "Do Not Adopt" list because the person was TOO enthusiastic - calling every couple of days to see if a dog was available.

I collect and save these in a file, then re-read them and laugh and cry at the same time.


Kathy...those are priceless and I bet there are a lot more like those out there!

Marsha Colina

BEWARE of this rescue group!!! They refuse efforts to reunite animals with their true owners Word to the wise: Steer clear of this group and if you've ever had any bad experiences with them I would love to hear about it. I'd like to shut them down and out of business!! Shame on each and every one of these "ladies"!!!​ers/SC256.html

KitNKats Rescue
But the animals who had been waiting longer for their beloved people to accompany them across the Bridge knew what was happening and they began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge.
23 hours ago · Like · · Share

Marsha Eileen Colina They REFUSED to allow me to see an animal in their "rescue" that I have good reason to believe is mine. ARGGGGGGGG!!!!!!
23 hours ago · Like
Marsha Eileen Colina Will be calling Petsmart headquarters today about them!
23 hours ago · Like

copied from my facebook post...just because they use the name "rescue" does NOT mean they are the standard setters for animal concerns. They displayed these animals in cages(and very small carriers)at Petsmart on a very hot day from 11AM-430/500PM with no water available or even offered. Who's the real problem here? Clearly sometimes it's the "rescuers" themselves!

Marsha Colina

meanwhile...this animal(which I feel there is a good likelihood is my lost pet) is still pictured on their petfinder page. There's profit in rescues so why reunite? Sickened and heartbroken!!!!!

PAMM - People Against Misguided Morons

Marsha raises another great point (post the link!)...I know rescue folks that will do nothing to find owners of lost pets if the pet is highly adoptable. Better not loose your bull terrier or anything teacup! And better get tags on your pet too as anything lost without a collar is automatically assumed to be DUMPED by many...

Christine Bullington-Evans

I totally agree with all the comments. The fence requirement really is a pet peeve of mine. First of all dogs need to be walked a few times per day. They need that stimulation. A tired dog is a good dog. Far too many dogs never get walked because their owners send them outside to their fenced in yard. I understand that sometimes that is necessary, but I still think it is unfair for rescue groups to make a fence a requirement. There are a lot of responsible pet owners who love walking their dogs. I imagine that the rescue groups are concerned that the owner will simply put the dog on a tie out and leave them there for hours at a time if they don't have a fence. Yes that is not acceptable. I really hope we can change the thinking of pet rescue groups. There are a lot of people without fences who would be a great pet owner.

Christine Evans
Offering dog training, pet sitting and dog walking in the Kansas City area.

Dianne Rhodes

This made me smile.
From the Newseum's website:
Gerald R. Ford's photographer, David Hume Kennerly, was looking for a golden retriever for his boss in 1974 but didn't want to reveal who the owner would be. "Do they own or rent?" the breeder asked. "I guess you could say they live in public housing," Kennerly deadpanned. Ford named the dog Liberty.


Thanks to everyone for the stories and examples...many of which I've not heard before. I hope that there is growing awareness of these restrictions so we can begin reversing these restrictions.

Dianne -- love the "public housing" comment. Funny.

Alana -- it's funny that you bring up that you quit fostering because of this. We essentially quit fostering for a rescue group because they were turning away so many applications and causing us to foster the same dog for 6-10 months without us even knowing of any of the apps (one dog, which we ended up keeping, had apparently 50 apps turned down and we were unaware she ever had any). Because every foster was becoming a long-term foster, we just quit doing it with them.

Jennifer Brighton

My husband and I wanted to adopt another indoor kitty to join our existing two and our two dogs. I was surprised when my local shelter told me because I already have four pets in the city limits they legally could not adopt another one to me per city regulations. Of course, we can just go to another agency that does not know how many pets we have.

I'm not blaming my local shelter. It's a city issue. But what I couldn't understand is that our kitties are indoor-only. How in the heck does that impact anyone else in the city? We are financially able to care for the pets we have, so it seems like a goofy rule.


The rescue group I work with is a perfect example of this. Once, a very nice family came in looking for a dog. I greeted and spoke to them, and they owned a female Golden Retriever with whom they did RallyO and agility with and were looking for another female dog.

They were denied on the spot because their dog was intact, and the adoption counselor told them to their face that they "were the reason that we have to do this".

And a few years ago a family friend tried to adopt from a pug rescue but were denied because they did not have a fenced yard. Instead, they got a puppy from a newspaper ad. When I asked them about it, they told me that the breeder did not let them see the mother and the puppies were shown in a "greeting room". Their dog died of cancer at three.


Jackie -- sorry to hear about your friend's pug. I hate breeders like that that clearly are no breeding for the health of the animals. A fencing requirement for a Pug?

Jennifer -- I always struggle with adopting a dog to someone that is technically "illegal". I would have with an indoor cat, but aren't arbitrary pet limits ridiculous?

The comments to this entry are closed.