Instead of compiling my favorite articles for 2015, this year I’d like to discuss the greatest issue myself and many other animal advocates faced this past year: whether or not a rescue is legitimate or a scam. I’ll explain as best I can about what was going on and what needs to be done to fix it. What I’m suggesting here are a few ideas for animal rescue transparency.
For most of 2015 I’ve been caught in the middle of the animal rescue wars. On the one hand, countless rescues are doing their best to convince supporters that because they have a 501c3, they’re an excellent rescue. Some of these rescues “pull” 50 or more cats a week.
There are those who believe that a rescue should be allowed to do this; getting an animal out of a shelter should be praiseworthy. However, on the news, we see animals discovered dead after their bodies are found dumped (dead or alive) following their rescue. What’s happening is that these bogus rescues are taking pledges meant to help with veterinary care and either killing these animals or merely releasing them.
We all need to use a little common sense. Good rescues have reported back to me that around 200-300 rescues per year is the maximum they can handle. It’s tough finding homes for more than that even when you have a good foster support system to care for the animals during their quarantine and then while they wait for adoption events.
Those who pay close attention to the individual rescues are seeing lots of animals leaving the shelter, never to be seen or heard from again. There has to be a method of accountability from the time an animal leaves the shelter until they reach their forever home.
Transparency would end a lot of unnecessary bullying of rescues whose only fault is not having a good paper trail. Yes, there are bad rescues out there who con money from supporters and could care less about the animals. There are also many rescues forced into folding once false information makes its way around the internet.
I believe there should be a law of some type where rescues have to make available information on each and every animal they save from rescue to adoption. A penalty of some sort should be in place for those who don’t do this. It should be easy for rescues who act responsibly and don’t pull more cats than they can quarantine, vet and offer for adoption.
It wouldn’t be complicated to achieve transparency in a rescue: an Excel sheet posted on a monthly basis would suffice. For those unfamiliar with MS Office software, a Pinterest account would work just as well. Boards for Adoptable pets, Adopted, Rainbow Bridge, etc. would be simple to do. I have a similar concept on my boards at Furby’s House.
Every cat and dog who appears on the “urgent list” is given a pin with all of the info. The dog or cat is moved into a monthly folder once no longer available, with notes as to whether adopted/rescued or just safe. I also use “Rest in Peace” and “Unaccounted For” folders for those who become lost in the shuffle (a problem rescues shouldn’t have).
These folders are easier to use than Facebook albums because it throws the information up there all at once. A rescue could make notes as to whether a cat or dog is still in quarantine (eliminating the accusations the animal was put straight into the rescue population), whether in foster care, and any other information needed to help find a new home. Any animals transferred to another rescue could also be noted as to where animals are transported, as many dogs from the south make their way north to find homes.
Transparency would improve the entire rescue system because an advocate could follow the animals as it goes through the system. It’s a lot better than the scary system we have now where many pets disappear as soon as the rescue leaves the shelter with them.
Does this sound like a good idea to you? I’d love some input on this, and please include suggestions if you have any. I believe it would be great and would benefit legit rescues. I just know I can’t endure another year of fighting between rescues and those out to destroy them. We all need to protect the good rescues out there, this being a national problem.
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