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Sheer Stupidity


Joe Kutz
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One girl I know found a great dog, but the shelter's policy wouldn't let her move out of state with the animal! And even though she wasn't planning on moving out of state any time in the foreseeable future, she couldn't guarantee that she wouldn't do so within the dog's lifetime.

 

And people think that the shelter I work at is strict because we require proof of rabies vaccinations on any other pets in the household and for renters a copy of their renter agreement/lease showing that they are in fact allowed to have a pet.

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Must have been 8 or 9 years ago, we were looking to get another dog. We went to all the animal shelters and found a few that we wanted to adopt, but were denied. The reason? Had too many dogs already in their opinion (3 at the time). Ever since I haven't dealt with shelters. Most seem to be run be the extremist wing of the animal rights lobbies. I've gotten a few dogs from rescue groups, and while in Florida I even acted as a halfway house for high risk pets (animals which most shelters put down because they are bad breeds.

 

Their contract is most likely bunk...but until a judge says it is bunk it remains the law so to speak. I seem to recall a few similar situations over the years regarding the resale of software...where the EULA tried to restrict that from the end user. Judge called those contracts bunk as well.

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Ok, I'm not defending Mutts and Moms actions, but they did not sy they don't adopt dogs to home with children under 14, they said they don't adopt small breeds. This is a practice that many shelters at least keep under advisement. Small breeds can be easily, unintentuionally injured by a child, even if they are not being too rough. I know not all children are going to hurt, even accidently a dog, but it is a common issue. I also know from personal experience that there are many small breed dogs who simply don't tolerate children and could bite a child just for getting too close.

 

In the news this morning it was expressly stated by the owner of M&M that they will not place the dogs in a home with kids under the age of 14. Even Diane Sawyer commented on how unreasonable that sounded . . .

 

But the shelter stepped in and took the dog back, saying DeGeneres had signed an agreement that if she cold not keep the dog she would give it back to the shelter. In addition, the shelter says it has a policy of not giving puppies to families with children younger than 14.

 

here's the link to the story:

 

Mutts and Moms

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And people think that the shelter I work at is strict because we require proof of rabies vaccinations on any other pets in the household and for renters a copy of their renter agreement/lease showing that they are in fact allowed to have a pet.

Those are reasonable pre-screening precautions that are intended to look out for the animal. No point in adopting an animal to someone who's going to potentially have it in violation of their lease, which would put the animal at risk of abandonment again. I'm sure you also have policies about adopting too many animals to the same people and adopting out animals to families that would put them beyond their city's ordinances for the number of animals, too. That's all good.

 

There are a lot of pre-screening things I'm fine with - I wouldn't even be opposed to a shelter inspecting my home before and once within a reasonable time period, like 90 days after placement. But some of the other restrictions - like what to do with the animal if you can't keep it, and where you can/can't live, and surprise inspections at any time are preposterous. The surprise inspection clauses really annoy me - if, as a landlord, I can't write a clause into my lease agreements to make surprise inspections of my own property that's leased to someone else, then I don't see how the heck a shelter can get away with a similar clause in an adoption agreement and then enforce it.

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And people think that the shelter I work at is strict because we require proof of rabies vaccinations on any other pets in the household and for renters a copy of their renter agreement/lease showing that they are in fact allowed to have a pet.

Those are reasonable pre-screening precautions that are intended to look out for the animal. No point in adopting an animal to someone who's going to potentially have it in violation of their lease, which would put the animal at risk of abandonment again. I'm sure you also have policies about adopting too many animals to the same people and adopting out animals to families that would put them beyond their city's ordinances for the number of animals, too. That's all good.

 

We also have the "if you chose to give up the animal you have to relinquish it back to us" clause in our contract. I know that we have never gone and snached an animal that was given to another family like in the case of Ellen. I only know of one occasion where we even sent out an ACO to do a well check. We've even had given away animals come in as stays and allowed the new owners to reclaim them.

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See the article on AP said different.

 

Fink said Moms and Mutts has a rule that families with children under 14 are not allowed to adopt small dogs.

 

AP linky

 

 

The owner said it though. I saw the clip this morning as I was getting ready for work . . . So, the fact that they would say that is kinda . . . well . . . uncool.

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I feel sorry for the rescue shelter. Sure, they are a bit too "letter of the law", but you have to understand. These people work very hard to ensure that the animal goes to a good family, and thus not right back into a shelter. Sure, Ellen may or may not have given the animal to a good family. But, people who give away animals don't always have the same standards the shelter does. How many dogs given away end up right back at the shelter?

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I feel sorry for the rescue shelter. Sure, they are a bit too "letter of the law", but you have to understand. These people work very hard to ensure that the animal goes to a good family. Sure, Ellen may or may not have given the animal to a good family. But, people who give away animals don't always have the same standards the shelter does. How many dogs given away end up right back at the shelter?

I don't feel sorry for them at all. Good intentions or no, they could have worked this situation out without resorting to strong arm tactics. They made this about them and their policies, not the dog. Even if the home Ellen gave the dog to wasn't a good home, they could have worked out a solution that wouldn't have resulted in the PR fiasco they're currently in. And I beleive that to be the case irregardless of the fact Ellen's a celebrity. If they went and did that to a celebrity, who else are they strong arming? Because you know as well as I do, the little guy has no resources to fight them on this. The shelter is accusing Ellen of using her celebrity status to win her argument with them. Yeah? So what? Did they really expect any less? Maybe if every person were treated like a celebrity, the world would be a better place.

 

Do I think Ellen and her partner are completely in the right, or do I feel sorry for them? Not at all. They, too, could have handled things differently. But the fact is, they handled it like most good people would have. The only people I feel sorry for are the kids - they had a new pet taken from them, and they can probably barely understand why. Those kids will probably grow up with a bad feeling towards all shelters now. I also feel sorry for the dog, who's probably living in less than ideal conditions back at the shelter. That's not saying that shelters are horrible to animals, but a dog should be with a family, not at a shelter.

 

The only thing I see here is that Ellen's celebrity status is bringing attention to the issue. And hopefully, only good will come of that - like perhaps a clear cut ruling on whether these types of clauses are even legal.

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... to give authority to the shelter to come search my house whenever they deemed necessary...

 

Is this for real? Such contracts exist? :wacko:

 

 

 

 

Yes very real. I looked at a lot of the shelters contracts and read them and it was silly. http://www.greatdanerescue.org/adoption.aspx

these are conditions that have to be met.

My favorites were "Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas, Inc. retains the right to check on adoptee's health, care, housing and well being as long as the animal is alive.

 

* If conditions are deemed dangerous for the adoptee by the board of Directors of Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas, Inc., ownership of the adoptee will revert to the Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas, Inc."

 

and

 

"When the adoptee dies, Great Dane Rescue of the Carolinas, Inc. must be notified immediately with details of the time, place and manner of death.

 

* Documentation from a veterinarian is required."

I know rescues are trying to protect the animals but it is a little excessive.

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The silly contracts that alot of shelters have are the reason I bought a dog instead because I didn't want to give authority to the shelter to come search my house whenever theny deemed necessary and provide a death certificate when the animal passed.

 

Policies vary from shelter to shelter. Some have rules that are more stringent than others. To say that "a lot" of shelters reserve the right to come to search homes whenever they want is about as misleading as to say that all breeders are really irresponsible puppy mills.

 

The same sort of "odd" contracts can go for the more "responsible" breeders. One of my coworkers purchased a dog from a breeder that stipulated that he is to show the dog X number of times a year for so many years and use the dog to sire so many litters before the dog can be neutered. Until the contract is fulfilled, the breeder is, by the contract, co-owner of the dog. If the contract is not fulfilled, the ownership reverts to the breeder.

 

Ron

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The silly contracts that alot of shelters have are the reason I bought a dog instead because I didn't want to give authority to the shelter to come search my house whenever theny deemed necessary and provide a death certificate when the animal passed.

 

Policies vary from shelter to shelter. Some have rules that are more stringent than others. To say that "a lot" of shelters reserve the right to come to search homes whenever they want is about as misleading as to say that all breeders are really irresponsible puppy mills.

 

The same sort of "odd" contracts can go for the more "responsible" breeders. One of my coworkers purchased a dog from a breeder that stipulated that he is to show the dog X number of times a year for so many years and use the dog to sire so many litters before the dog can be neutered. Until the contract is fulfilled, the breeder is, by the contract, co-owner of the dog. If the contract is not fulfilled, the ownership reverts to the breeder.

 

Ron

 

Not to stir things but I said a lot because there were. Maybe it is more prevelant with dane rescues but 4 that i found jsut briefly looking suggests that it is a pretty common clause.

 

 

 

http://www.scdanerescue.homestead.com/

 

"5. Living conditions:

The adopted Great Dane must live inside with its adoptive family. The Great Dane must never remain outside for long periods of time. The adopted Great Dane must be kept in an area where it is sheltered from the elements. When the Great Dane is home alone, it must be kept inside. The Great Dane shall not be kept outdoors unsupervised. The Great Dane shall not be crated for more than 8 hours total in a 24-hour period or for more than 4 hours at a time without a break, if crating is necessary. The crate must be large enough for the Great Dane to move around in and to be comfortable in (usually colossal size). The living conditions of the adopted Great Dane must be kept clean and neat. CSCAGDR reserves the right to check living conditions of the adopted Great Dane at any time. "

 

 

http://groups.msn.com/RaleighCountyAnimalR...e/rcarnews.msnw

"Also, new guardians are to provide future vet care and allow RCAR to check on the pet in the future. "

 

 

http://www.greatcreaturesrescue.org/agreement.pdf

#13

You agree to allow a Great Creatures representative to examine the dog and

his/her living conditions and to surrender the dog to said representative if the

conditions are found unsatisfactory. Great Creatures, or any authorized individual

acting on its behalf, may examine or make inquiry about the dog at any

reasonable time with or without notice to the adopter.

 

 

I do know there are breeders that have odd contracts as above and won't get an animal from them as well with those types of contracts. , my thoughts are it is my pet and I don't want people telling me what I have to do with it.

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I don't feel sorry for them at all. Good intentions or no, they could have worked this situation out without resorting to strong arm tactics. They made this about them and their policies, not the dog.

 

No, I don't think either side handled this the best way. But, the Rescue Shelters rules are by their very nature about the dog. I heard the reason they took the dog back is because there were kids. I doubt that rule was made at random, there must be a reason. Even if it was for some other reason, the rule was there for the dogs benefit. If that dog shouldn't be in a house with children, and this house has children, why should they keep it? And if this home was suitable for the animal, then no big deal, the people just have to go down and get the animal again, this time in their name not in Ellen's. Even if the shelter strong arms them over a trivial point, all the family has to do is go get the animal themselves, big whoop.

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And pay the $250 donation again...

 

The shelter showed up at the house claiming that they were doing an inspection to allow the dog to stay...with cops.

 

They picked up the dog and went out to the cops, and had them scan it (chipped). The chip was registered to them in the database...they took the dog.

 

They got rid of the dog again ASAP because they knew they would likely loose in court (worse case scenario Ellen would have to pay $500 stipulated in the contract for breach...not return the dog).

 

If the shelter really cared about the greater good of the dogs, they could have been much more keen on this situation. As it is, I feel they have done a lot more harm to dogs they take care of as well as other dogs across the country. More people will be hesitant to deal with shelters after this. More people will outright avoid her shelter.

 

@Frugs - I don't have any problem with rescue groups wanting to keep tabs on the animals. The ones I worked with were Rotties, Boxers, Pit Bulls and over high risk breeds. They would put that clause in because from time to time, the dogs would end up back in bad situations again. Great Danes are one of those which I would agree with the stipulation of not crating for long periods of time (as with any big dog like them - they like/need to stretch out for health purposes).

 

Legally though, they can not just take the dog back no matter what (been through this before with abuse cases). The agreement doesn't hold much water...signed or not. We had to go to court and show abuse and hope the judge would agree and return the dog to the county/city (whichever agency they officially worked with) . From there if we were lucky we could get it back and try again. All too often though, they agency would determine the dog to be too high of a risk and have it put down (something that pissed me off to no end).

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