Best Friends and Oreo’s Law Redux
February 10, 2011
For those of you who work with or know of rescues, try this little exercise: Add up all the rescues you’ve worked with (or known) in your head. Hang on to that number. Now, of those rescues, add up the total number of them who are hoarders. Using those two figures, please share in the comments the percentage of rescues you have worked with or known over the years who are hoarders. I’ll start: Zero.
Now I’m certainly not saying it’s impossible for a rescue group to actually hoard pets, I’m just saying I haven’t known any personally. If I broaden my query to include the many rescues I’ve read about in doing research for this blog, I would come up with a different number. It would have to be an estimate, mind you but I’d suppose that figure would be less than 1%. I would say probably 99% of the rescues I’ve come across in the course of blogging appear to be legitimate groups, trying to adopt out pets saved from kill shelters.
So to my mind, the concern that if we don’t make rescues jump through enough hoops in order to pull from shelters, the pets will end up in hoarding type situations – is actually not a significant worry. I think reasonable screening is a good idea to make sure they’re not some kind of scammers trying to make a buck selling the dogs or people who’ve been convicted of cruelty, etc. But when it gets down to the point of this-pet-is-about-to-be-killed, frankly, I’d be willing to take the risk with an unscreened rescue and hope they fall into the vast majority category of legitimate groups. Not saying that would be my first choice but since we’re talking about life and death here in conjunction with an extremely small risk, I’d rather err on the side of life.
Oreo’s Law has reasonable standards set for rescues who want to pull pets off death row in NY shelters. In summary, the group can’t have an “officer, board member, staff member or volunteer” who is either facing dogfighting/cruelty/neglect charges or has been convicted of same. There is a provision for inspection when serious suspicions of neglect or cruelty exist. And the rescue has to be a 501(c)(3). That’s enough to my mind.
Best Friends is apparently worried that hoarders are going to establish themselves as 501(c)(3)s and beat a path to NY to collect more animals. Because that would be the easiest way for a hoarder to get more animals, right?
And so, immediately after the re-introduction of Oreo’s Law to the NY state assembly, Best Friends came out against it. Last year, they said they were against it because of the danger of – you know, hoarders. This year, they leave out the word hoarders but instead list demands for verbiage to be included in the bill before they would endorse it. The demands are things that all 501(c)(3) rescues already have unless they are – you know, hoarders.
I wouldn’t like to see Oreo’s Law add much more by way of rescue requirements because I fear that some kill shelters might exploit any perceived deficiency in the list of requirements and use it as an excuse to refuse to release death row pets. Nothing in life can be guaranteed. Reasonable precautions can and should be taken. For the rest left to chance, I’d rather give more power to the rescuers who want to save lives than the so-called shelters determined to kill pets.
C’mon Best Friends. This is dumb. And NY’s shelter pets are being needlessly killed while you play your games.