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

August 08, 2011


Stacey Kimmel-Smith

My husband and I are going through this right now -- we may be denied from adopting an 8 year old cat that has been at the shelter since 2007 -- half its life -- because our other cat sometimes goes outside, in a supervised situation. We even agreed to make our cat an indoor cat, our heart is breaking for this animal that has spent half its life in a 12x12 room. A few of the shelter staff "get it" and are trying to help, but the decisionmaker was uncooperative on the phone and does not return our calls. I am wanting to really OUT this situation. My husband and I create a dream home for our animals, we are totally pet-focused. This is such a travesty.


Celine --- you are not preventing dogs from being stolen, you're preventing them from being adopted.

BigSister -- thanks for the stories -- and they are all perfect examples of why I wrote this post and why I think it's necessary. These blanket exclusions are not isolated to only a handful of rescues -- but very ingrained into the culture of animal welfare.

Sue Johnston

Thank you for writing this article. You point out some very valid points that I think rescues and shelters could consider. I don't have a fenced yard. However, I have almost an acre yard in which I host informal dog playdates. My dog gets several walks a day, goes to a 10 acre fenced in dog park frequently and has his dog friends over often. I think he gets more exercise than many who have a fenced yard. When I was younger and single, I also owned a dog. I would have been turned away from a rescue. That dog was my stability in those years and I was fortunate to have him with me until he died at the age of 13.


The post and the feedback is all very enlightening. My rescue does not have standard denials, we sometimes work with families for several weeks allowing them to foster temporarily to ensure that, for instance, the dog and cat can get along well enough not to cause harm - sometimes the 2 weeks proves to be effective and the adoption is complete and other times, the applicant finds out that it's not a good match. We just don't want to deny anyone by making broad assumptions. we also adopt to renters. we like to speak to and meet all applicants first and see if we can find them a 'good fit'.

What I really struggle with are applicants that haven't shown consistent preventative care for their current pets - no proof of heart worm testing or preventatives for instance... I struggle with people who have euthanized a puppy because it was going blind (rather than contacting a rescue to take the dog, they now want to replace it).

I'd love to hear some feedback on these concerns...


While I agree with the sentiment, I do have to agree with the rescues as well. A rescue in my local area thinks it's better (and I quote) "to put a dog in a home where they haven't two penny's to rub together, than not re-home it".

Yes, put a dog in a home where it frequently may not get fed, certainly wont get good quality food, and is unlikely to ever go to the vet - even when the dog is in lots of pain & needs to be euthanised. I'm sorry, but that to me is just not a good home.

Laurie Lamarche

As a past shelter worker and a present rescue foster home, I'd have to disagree with most of what you said. Rescues are hard to adopt from yes...but if you are turned away from a rescue, almost any shelter will adopt to you if your application is at all sane. I know this and worked for an actually really good Humane Society. And most of us in rescue are bright enough to know that each dog is an individual and that not all the rules apply all the time. Also I've never worked for a rescue that won't adopt to singles or people without a fenced in yard. Unless your an admittedly large person, who is an admitted couch potato like me. I would never adopt a dog to me without a yard. :) What rescues are trying to alleviate are the reasons why dogs end up with us to begin with. And yes we get attached. So it's harder to get a dog from a rescue for that reason. Good breeders are the same and worse! But shelters are much easier to adopt from. Certainly none of the ones I deal with, have worked at, or get rescues from turn away any reasonable application. As per the outdoor situation...hell no you can't adopt that poodle and leave it outside. I don't care how "comfy" the barn is. But you can have a border collie. As long as he comes in when it's too cold, and he is properly worked and cared for and loved. I'm not sure what you mean about gender issues. If you mean you can't adopt a 3 yr old male pitbull to bring home to your own 3 yr old male pitbull, then duh....? Have you taken any behaviour classes? Read a dog training book? Now mind I stated, rules are meant to be broken. I HAVE owned 2 male pitbulls of the same age. I knew what I was getting into and planned for it, trained for it, and managed it for years. And it was often rough!! But,if you can show me that you are smart then I say "have at it babe!". :) But in general, for the average dog noob, no terriers of the same age and sex. Terriers are scrappy, and are tough breeds. But if you wanted 2 female golden retrievers, well then even the noobiest dog owner could manage that. As long as they had a fenced in yard. ;) Two large dogs are tough on a noobie dog owner. SEE!! :) See how the rules are fluid and change to suit the situation? Not fair of you to assume non of us know what we're doing. :)



You say you disagree with me but then basically echo back what I just stated. Of course a miniature poodle makes for a horrible selection as an outside dog - but that doesn't mean that a shelter or rescue shouldn't ever consider outside dogs.

And I kind of snicker at the same gender rules for "Terriers." Are there some cautions that need to take place? Sure. And the adopters need to be aware of that. But I think it's funny that the rescue people that put the rules in place tend to have 3,4,5 or more dogs in their home (so obviously they have multiples of the same genders) and THEY can handle it -- why not having a little faith that if people understand the risks they can too?

And I think you're using a limited number of groups you work with to base an opinion on -- in spite of what your experiences are, there are a surprising number of shelter and rescue groups that have blanket policies that include things like "no outside dogs", "no kids", "no renters", must have a fence, etc. And obviously, no two dogs are alike and have exactly the same needs - -so the blanket policies don't make sense.

Discount Pet Supplies

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.

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