Screw you and your “DNA” (Do Not Adopt) forwards to rescue e-mail lists and websites. I swear to science, I’m going to beat some stupid down if it’s the last thing I do. Listen up:
There are millions of pets being unnecessarily killed in shelters every year. That’s why I’m on your e-mail lists – to help them. Do not waste my time forwarding other junk. DNA posts are junk.
Anyone who places a pet has the obligation to screen the buyer. No exceptions. I do this. I check for animal cruelty convictions, contact references and build a relationship with the buyer in advance. I understand shelter staff don’t have the opportunity to build relationships but they can and should certainly screen buyers in whatever reasonable ways they deem appropriate to protect the pet.
As I’m sure we are all tragically aware, it is easy as pie for someone of ill intent to get a pet. They need not bother with rescue groups or screening processes.
The DNA forwards are often circulated around e-mail lists and websites by people who have no first hand knowledge of the person(s) being maligned in the message. For all any of us knows, the original message was written by a pedophile in prison posing as an animal rescuer.
I have no idea how many people actually read these things and write down the person’s name on some master list of People I Heard on the Internet are Not Good Pet Owners but I hope it’s very few. I would like a list of those people who do for my People Who Have No Common Sense list.
I do appreciate that people forwarding these e-mails probably are well intentioned – thinking they are potentially saving a pet from a bad situation. But honestly, you’re not. What you are doing is maligning someone you don’t know and possibly making it difficult for them to adopt from a rescue. In which case they are likely to turn to other sources, many of which the forwarders of these e-mails probably loathe. And the victims of these DNA forwards will then have a bad taste in their mouths about rescues. And they’ll tell two friends. And they’ll tell two friends. And so on.
If you have personal experience and first hand knowledge of someone you feel is likely to approach a rescue with the intent of obtaining a pet to abuse, by all means speak up – but in an appropriate and targeted manner. Sending the person’s name in a DNA message to every rescue e-mail list you’re on is not an appropriate and targeted manner. I’m thinking something more along the lines of:
Dear South Carolina Teacup Poofters Rescue,
I too am in SC and recently adopted a Teacup Poofter to Mr. X. I now have the dog back and I feel it’s possible Mr. X may approach your group for a dog. I would like to offer to provide the details of my experience with Mr. X should he apply to adopt a dog from you.
Is that too much trouble? Is it just easier to forward every DNA message you receive to every pet list you’re on without even knowing if one word of the post is accurate? Too bad. If you feel an obligation to help pets and those placing them, do it responsibly or just shut it.
So to recap:
- I can and do screen buyers for myself. If I need your input on a buyer, I’ll give you a ringy-ding.
- Posting DNA messages to e-mail lists and websites is probably libel (IDK, I’m not a lawyer). It’s at least a crappy thing to do. Before you do it, be sure your brain is set to the ON position.
- You will never prevent anyone who wants a pet to abuse from obtaining a pet by forwarding DNA messages. Remember, evil people can get kids to abuse if they try hard enough – getting a pet is no problem.
- Speak up if you yourself have direct personal first hand I-actually-know-this-guy-in-real-life knowledge of someone who abuses pets. Target your offer to share information with those most likely to come in contact with the abuser. Share the information upon the request of someone who is considering placing a pet with this person.
- Try not to forget that most pet owners are good people who want to do right by their pets. They may make different choices than you or I, but they have good hearts. And sometimes people make mistakes, just like you and I, and need an educational hand up, not an anonymous internet smackdown. More understanding, less judgment.