Today’s Breaking News
Well, not today and maybe not breaking to some but it’s definitely a topic that merits some discussion.
A friend of mine on Facebook posted about a group called Always Adopt. Seems they were having a “Super Dog Adoption Day” in Rhode Island. Ok – nice title but keep reading. They were promoting the fact that they were bringing in 250 dogs !!!!! The event was being held at a car dealership, flyers were reportedly posted everywhere. The dogs there were “on a leash or in open fenced play yards” According to their update on Facebook today, they placed 220 animals into homes that very night.
Most people would cheer and congratulate such a group, as most people think there is an overabundance of shelter animals. Some won’t care if everything was done legally or not just because they were “saving” animals (the state they were in actually requires a quarantine). Some won’t bother to research and find out if everything they’re being told by these groups (as well as Humane Society of United States and ASPCA) is true. And some will stop reading right here, immediately classifying me as a “bad breeder” or a “puppy mill” After all, according to any of these groups, I must be one of the these if I dare question any rescue groups’ attempts. But if you’re so inclined to continue, I invite you to read the “other side” and then make your decision I’m not going to preach or paraphrase – I’ll note articles that I hope you will take the time to read, learn and, hopefully, pass on to others
One of the first things everyone brings up when “rescue” is mentioned is the “pet overpopulation” Have you heard the other side of the coin though? It’s actually a myth at this point. There are more than enough homes looking for pets that shelters actually can’t even keep up. Now, that’s not to say some animals aren’t unfortunately being euthanized – some because of health or temperment issues, some because owners request it and some just because – well, the shelters are stupid. Not all, but some. And the euthanasia rate is going down – and down and down. If there was such a pet overpopulation, wouldn’t it be increasing? New data released by Humane Society of United States (HSUS), ASPCA and American Pet Products Association show euthanasia rates down to an all time low of 2 PERCENT !! (See http://www.border-wars.com/2012/06/now-only-2-of-dogs-die-in-shelters.html) And these aren’t figures put out by AKC or any breeder association – these are compiled by the same groups who keep shouting about the overpopulation problem
So, why then does there seem to be so many “homeless” dogs? Here in the northeast there actually isn’t – the shelters here import dogs from the south. But that brings up the question as to where this abundance of dogs is coming from there. Think about it - the adoption event last weekend brought in 250 dogs and it’s estimated that rescues and shelters bring in thousands every year and that’s not thousands to all of the northeast that’s thousands to each state ! (This is just one story from Maine: http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/15455/Default.aspx )
Let’s try to break it down a little more -here in NH, there are about 73 shelters and rescues (and that is only the rescues and shelters who are operating legally within the state and having the appropriate licenses). We’ll take off 30 of those for cat specific rescues; town animal control offices and kennels and miscellaneous groups that probably wouldn’t be bringing in dogs but just help in placement of same. That still gives us 43 groups and if each of those groups only brings in say 10 dogs a month (which is probably a very low estimate) – that’s 120 animals PER GROUP. Add that all up and your talking a potential of over 5,000 dogs being brought in – and that’s just to NH !!!
Those numbers aren’t even counting the rescues who are operating illegally within the state – and there are lots of them This is a problem not confined to just NH – the other new england states are plagued by this too. Someone decides they want to “help” the animals but either doesn’t know or research the laws and requirements of the state or just doesn’t care. States don’t have the manpower to continually “patrol” and watch for these groups. And people who try to report and stop these groups are meant with anger, hostility -and in some cases slander and threats. Some people don’t understand why anyone would try to stop saving animals. In most instances, the “reporters” (for sake of no better word at this time) are immediately labelled as a “backyard breeder” or a “puppy mill” and must be trying to shut these groups down just to make more money themselves.
So – should anyone be allowed to bring in dogs from other states? If you answered yes, I would ask that you think about a few things. One is health issues. If someone doesn’t know or hasn’t bothered to check out requirements for importing dogs (or just doesn’t care), they probably also don’t know what vaccines are needed or health protocols are to be followed. So Rescue “A” decides to just drive down with some friends and bring up dogs that are on “death row” They find a shelter that is asking for help (and a shelter that doesn’t check with Rescue “A”s state to see if paperwork is in order) and agree to take 6 dogs back to new england. Six doesn’t sound like much right? Should be quite easy to place them. What Rescue “A” and her friends don’t know is that the shelter has done no vaccines on these dogs yet and hasn’t temperment tested them. The shelter quickly gives the 6 dogs a rabies vaccine and has a “health certificate” signed for all 6. But Rescue “A” didn’t check the laws that a distemper vaccine is required, as well as a check for parasites and that the health certificate needs to be signed by a vet. Rescue “A” also doesn’t know that 3 kennels down from one of the dogs she is taking is a dog who has distemper. That dog was removed when he shows signs but the shelter hasn’t “classified” it as distemper yet and that doesn’t mean it hasn’t spread. So Rescue “A” and her friends pick up the 6 dogs – 3 of which are young puppies. Once back in New England, they bathe the dogs and find out that 3 of them have fleas. Two others have diarrhea which is actually giardia but since no stool sample was done, it’s attributed to the trip. They start adopting out the dogs, collecting money for them which they put towards gas and keep the rest thinking they’ll make another trip. They haven’t got new health certificates because they figure the one from the shelter is fine. Once all the dogs have been placed, one of Rescue “A”s friends is inudated with fleas on her own dogs; another friend’s dog starts vomitting and having diarrhea; and rescue “a”s own puppy starts getting sick. The adoptive families start calling a few days later – one of the dogs doesn’t like kids and is biting; one of the puppies has died from parvo and another of the dogs is showing signs of distemper.
So, from one person helping you have 4 sick dogs – those dogs have exposed every animal on that “transport” to those diseases; everyone of Rescue”A”s friends’ dogs and the adoptive families other dogs have now been exposed – as well as anyone else these dogs have come in contact with – the other dogs at petsmart where one family brought their dog directly from Rescue “A”s house ; all the other dogs in their respective neighborhoods as the dogs get walked and “do their business” (even if picked up), anyone’s animals at the vet’s office or clinic the families bring the dogs too, and anyone’s dogs that any of these people have visited as diseases can be transported by humans on clothing and shoes. So, for those of you who originally said anyone should be able to bring dogs in if “they’re saving them”, would you still think the same if it was your puppy that got sick from exposure to these other dogs?
While this may seem a far-fetched scenario, it’s not that off-base. Even the shelters who are licensed and bring dogs in risk exposure to other dogs. NH has seen an upsurge in parvo and distemper – diseases this state has pretty much had in check for years. This article is from 2006 but is still relevant as it brings up the points of increased disease as well as the problem of declining interest in older dogs because of the import of puppies http://www.maddiesfund.org/Maddies_Institute/Articles/The_Pros_and_Cons_of_Dog_Transport.html I find it especially interesting that this 2006 article, while bringing up the health issues makes note that
“this activity is probably just a temporary phenomenon. Notes Hurley, “Bay Area shelters seem to be traveling farther and farther to find pups and small dogs – there’s a lot more competition for them now” and
“With more spay/neuter programs, model adoption programs and the success of current transport programs, shelters throughout the country will probably get the dog – or at least the small dog and puppy surplus – under control within a few years.”
It’s been 5 years and yet we are still faced with the same problems.
The second point I’d like everyone to think about with the importing of dogs is where do all these dogs come from? Remember the number of over 5,000 just for NH -what if all new england states were importing that many dogs each year? And what happened to the above projection that the “surplus” should be under control. Reports have shown the numbers being “imported” are increasing each year. So, do the states these dogs are coming from just have a “don’t care” attitude and not spay or neuter any pets? The economy is bad everywhere but are there that many families turning in dogs? And how do these shelters always seem to have sooo many puppies?
I know, I know <g> you ll probably think I sound like lunatic but there are cases of animals “being lost” or “disappearing” and showing up on CL or other sites for sale (oh excuse me, you’re supposed to say rehoming LOL) Who’s to say, because of the demand, shelters or rescues aren’t doing this? (And I’m not pointing figures at any particular shelter, rescue, group or area – I’m just putting possibilities out there) None of the shelters or rescues are accountable as to the money they collect or how many animals they bring in (shelters are not required to make this figures public) . Why not?
If anyone ever saw the show on Animal Planet (the name escapes me right now) a couple of years ago about rescue, you’d understand where this thought may come from. One of the first ones I watched was a woman who “travelled” the roads in her area picking up “stray” dogs. She would even approach people who had puppies asking them to give them to her. At one point, she “found” a chihuahua who she picked up. It didn’t show any attempt to find the owners (even though the dog had a collar and obviously was well taken care of) and she kept the dog (well, gave him to her husband as gift). They also showed how she arranged for the dogs to come up to northeast – she would adopt them out online and send around 40-50 puppies/dogs at time to the “puppy stations” in different states. The show had video of these dogs – sometimes 2-3 per cage – with stacked cages and all in back of an 18 wheeler !!! The truck would stop at side of highway at designated spots to meet adopters and the ONE guy driving the truck (no others assisting him) would drop each dog off to their adoptive family. And yet, HSUS and others are up in arms because some breeders have websites and ship their dogs to new owners? (and breeders, for most part, use airline shipping not the back of 18 wheelers)
There have been postings on craigslist (CL) and I know of personal accounts of dogs being stolen and then sold or even “adopted” (rehomed or bought, whatever CL wants to call it) and then being resold to make a profit (called dog flipping) or lost and turned into a shelter and adopted out immediately. There is one such posting on FB now where a “dog recovery” group got notice of a dog being found and when they posted about him, said a “adopter” was already lined up if owner “didn’t show up” The local shelter gave him to/let him stay with whatever family/person this was after only 6 days !!! If the shelters were full, I could see not having time to wait for a long time, but this particular shelter is usually empty unless they’ve imported dogs from the south
That’s my case Hopefully some of you continued to read the post through, as well as checking out the links – and hopefully some of you have gained some new insight about all of this.