COLUMN: Some rescue groups are more interested in profit than animal welfare

COLUMN: Some rescue groups are more interested in profit than animal welfare

Lee Monro
 When there is an overwhelming situation going on in the world, we feel good about ourselves when we can help to change it for the better. Unfortunately, this is also when we can be taken advantage of by unprincipled “saviors.” Animal welfare is an area that is particularly easy to be fooled into thinking you are helping, when in fact you could actually be contributing to making a terrible situation even worse for an innocent animal.

There are an estimated 4-6 million pets euthanized in this country each year. There were 3,876 pets euthanized last year in Gaston County alone, and an estimated 260,000 in all of N.C. These staggering numbers help explain why there are so many animal rescue groups – but unfortunately, they do not all have the best interests of the animals in mind.

I am not talking about reputable rescues that have adequate checks and balances to ensure their hard work makes a positive difference in the lives of any abandoned pets they decide to help.

In 2011, there were over 8,072 animals brought into Gaston County Animal Control. Out of these 8,072 (intake) – 4,034 were listed as “placements,” animals that were adopted, rescued or reclaimed by owners. Of the 1,196 animals listed as adopted – it is estimated that at least half were adopted by a long list of animal rescues. Sounds great, right?

I have found that most of these rescues aren’t even from this state. Why are groups from other states coming here to “rescue” our dogs and cats? Do other states not have a problem with pet overpopulation? The answer is YES – they do. I was very disappointed with some of the information I was able to discover about some out-of-states rescues.

Let’s look at Pennsylvania – home to at least four rescues that are frequent benefactors of our animal shelter pets. Pennsylvania has a euthanasia rate of between 71-76 percent. Due to astounding intake numbers (a Philadelphia SPCA shelter had 32,000 intakes) and, like a lot of N.C. county shelters, also uses the gas chamber to euthanize the unwanted animals. I thought I would check out these rescues to make sure of the well being of former Gaston County’s dogs that had been taken up north.

I went to their websites and discovered that since all the dogs are in foster, I would have to pay a $15-35 (non-refundable) application fee just to see a dog. I was very upset to discover one rescue will adopt out dogs without being spayed/neutered as long as you are willing to pay a $100 spay/neuter deposit. I know puppies less than six months are too young to be fixed, but any older dog should not leave any rescue intact. Our taxpayers’ dogs that some people think of as worthless, can now bring in as much as $375-$500 in adoption fees in these northern states. How are these adoptions affecting the taxpayer?

In a March 26 Gazette article entitled “County paying more to adopt out animals,” it was discussed how an increase in adoptions added $40,000 to the 2011 county budget.

What happens to these dogs if they are not adopted out by a certain period of time? In order to find out if your donation is truly saving the lives of our pets, here are some recommendations:

Do your homework and ask a lot of questions of the non-profit first. A trustworthy non-profit won’t mind if you ask, and will have documented processes and procedures. They should have records of when each animal they “rescued” is spayed and neutered and where they are now. If they tell you there is no way they can possibly keep up with that information – then don’t give them your money. A good animal rescue group knows it’s not about the quantity of animals they help, but rather the quality of care they can provide to the ones they do. They have to have the ability to say “no – we can’t save them all” – that’s the reality of the situation.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by unscrupulous rescues that are more concerned about making a profit and misrepresenting themselves as hero when in fact they are taking away homes from the pets already in their own state….


~ by topcatsroar on August 22, 2012.

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