If there’s one thing shelter pets need, it’s HOMES. They don’t need overly zealous protectors or “good intentions.” Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…
Sadly, far too many shelters and rescue groups turn away potential pet parents for all the wrong reasons, based on just such “good intentions.”
While I am a die-hard advocate for spay/neuter, and see absolutely no need for dogs or cats to breed – EVER, I also think that when rescues turn away people who feel otherwise, they do the animals an injustice.
Recently, a family I know attempted to adopt a second dog. They have one dog, and she’s not spayed. While I disagree with their choice not to spay her, they are extremely responsible owners, and love their current dog dearly. They’ve even considered breeding her because of her exceptional personality (which I also disagree with, but I digress, that’s my personal opinion). This week, they found another dog they like, a female who’s already spayed, and put in an application for adoption.
They were categorically denied due to the fact that they have an un-spayed dog in their home. Granted, both dogs are females, and the other one is already spayed – so it’s not a matter of risk.
In response to the rejection, the family sent a polite, but disappointed response email, expressing their confusion as to the decision. The group wrote back, in a not-so-pleasant manner, and it turned into a nasty, mean-spirited email chain.
In the long run, this group has absolutely alienated a loving, responsible family. That family will go elsewhere for an animal. They won’t buy one (I’ll help them choose otherwise), but they will manage to adopt one from elsewhere. And they’ll come away from the situation with an extremely negative view of rescue groups. Not to mention the fact that the group was spouting inaccurate, overplayed, “irresponsible public” language about pet overpopulation.
Who did this situation help? An animal lost the chance at a loving home, and the family will forever speak negatively about this particular rescue group. By engaging in such an unpleasant dialogue, the group did themselves, and the animals, no favors. Undoubtedly they’re telling themselves that it was justified, and that an animal is better off than in such a home. But they’re wrong. THIS type of reaction is part of the overall problem we’re facing. Dogs are better off in loving homes, PERIOD. Overly onerous restrictions help no one, and do nothing but demonstrate a cynicism and distrust of humans by the rescuers involved. Dogs in homes = lives saved. PERIOD.
Here are a few quotes from emails sent by the rescue group. I was privy to ALL of the emails on both sides, and believe me when I say that the nastiness was uncalled for. I will not divulge the parties involved because I do not want to cast a negative light on any rescue group, for fear of reducing their animals’ chances for adoption. Nonetheless, see some of their responses below:
“There is HUNDREDS of dogs and cats put to sleep (in this city) every day due to space issues in shelters, no matter how many we save, the problem will never reduce unless people spay and neuter their pets. We are the ones who have to look into the eyes of these little ones every day knowing we can not save them all and that if someone had spayed their mommy they would not be sitting on death row in a shelter. I’m sorry, but I simply can not understand how someone who loves dogs, and I am sure that you do, would willingly add to the problem. Any puppy that would be born to your dog takes away the chance of a home for a shelter baby, the cycle then continues when the puppies themselves go into homes and are not spayed or neutered.”
“You are a disgrace to contribute to this problem and then bashing the people trying to fix it. We try to educate people that don’t know, but some people are just too stuborn or dumb to take the time to learn and understand.”
Well that’s sure not winning any supporters, now is it?