I posted on the blog’s Facebook page yesterday that I wanted a beagle but was exasperated by so many restrictive and invasive requirements from the various rescue groups I was seeing on Petfinder. I have visited this topic often on the blog and as regular readers know, I am all for reasonable screening (picture ID along with a 1 or 2 page adoption application which provides enough information for the group to search for animal cruelty convictions and call the vet reference) but I am opposed to most of the other arbitrary requirements (e.g. signing a contract that allows a representative of the rescue to inspect your home at any time during the pet’s life and repossess the pet if they so choose). I also favor free or pay-what-you-wish adoption fees.
There are millions of pets being sent to the landfill every year in this country and rescue groups literally begging for adopters and fosters while imposing all manner of restrictions. There is a gap here. A gap the size of Oklahoma. By imposing the arbitrary requirements and/or high adoption fees, rescues are not only turning away good people, they are turning off good people from considering or recommending rescue in future. And meanwhile, rescues continue to issue daily pleas because they have no cage space or foster space for more pets and shelters continue the killing. There is a gap.
Rescues have the right to impose all the restrictions they desire. They have the right to charge any fee of their choosing. And they have the right to fund raise in any manner they wish in order to cover their expenses. None of this is in dispute. It’s all legal.
But to my mind, if rescues are in fact driving adopters away with their restrictive and invasive requirements and their high fees, they do not have the right to continually beg for adopters and fosters. Because it’s wrong. There is a gap.
Many people replied to my comments on Facebook. Some shared their experiences trying and failing to adopt from a rescue group. Others posted statements of support. Still others felt that because I am poor, I should not have pets. One commenter wrote:
How do we know that the best of her ability is some little dog hut in the back yard with a 5 foot chain. I’m sorry, but this is the last person I would give a dog to.
Another person added:
I might as well give an animal to a dog fighting group, and that isn’t going to happen EVER…. I will make sure to tell anyone and everyone that these people and this “blog” are to be avoided when ever and where ever possible.. I have seen enough.. you anti-rescue people deserve to be fleeced and rejected by anyone with a conscience .. enjoy being second rate pet owners and second rate human beings..
I want to clarify for the record that the posts on this blog and on the YesBiscuit! Facebook page are attributable to just one person: me. I further want to clarify that I am not anti-rescue. I am pro-rescue. I have evaluated and pulled pets from shelters for rescue, adopted from a shelter myself, and I continue to support various rescue groups both on and off the blog. I am trying to support rescue right now by adopting a beagle but I haven’t yet found one with reasonable screening processes and fees. Thus my posts on Facebook yesterday. There is a gap.
I am not ashamed of being poor. I may be a “second rate” pet owner and human being in the eyes of some, but the question rescues ought to be asking themselves is this: Is a pet better off dead than living in a home we consider to be “second rate”? Because even though most rescues don’t kill pets, many do leave pets on death row because they have no space for them. Freeing up space using reasonable adoption screening processes and fees is a win for people and pets. The other way – well, we see every day of the year how well the other way is working.
None of this is to say that rescue groups are responsible for doing the job the municipal shelters are supposed to be doing. None of this is to say that pet killing is ok, under any circumstances. I’m just saying that rescues should be part of the solution to the pet killing problem in most communities and if you’re going to be part of the solution, why not be the most effective you can be?
And: Many people have sent me leads on beagles and I would like to thank everyone who did. I will let you know what happens. I love you guys. (Also, if any of you want to take shifts wearing Billy down on this, I’ll post a sign up sheet in the hall.)