Let’s Make Animal Rescue Transparency the Goal for 2016

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.

Rescue cat
ADOPTED>Intake: 12/11 Available: Now NAME: Flower ANIMAL ID: 30382826 BREED: DSH SEX: Female EST. AGE: 1 yr Est Weight: 6.13 lbs Health: Temperament: Friendly ADDITIONAL INFO: RESCUE PULL FEE: $39.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

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. 

Rescue Cat
Intake: 12/7 Available: 12/13 NAME: Carter ANIMAL ID: 30349351 BREED: DSH SEX: Male EST. AGE: 1 yr Est Weight: 5.9 lbs Health: Temperament: Friendly ADDITIONAL INFO: RESCUE PULL FEE: $39

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. 

Rescue Cat
ADOPTED>Intake: 12/1 Available: 12/7 NAME: Fridge ANIMAL ID: 30302929 BREED: DSH SEX: Male EST. AGE: 3 yrs Est Weight: 10.5 lbs Health: Temperament: Friendly ADDITIONAL INFO: RESCUE PULL FEE: $39

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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14 thoughts on “Let’s Make Animal Rescue Transparency the Goal for 2016”

  1. I think part of the problem is the public can’t comprehend rescues just getting an animal out of the shelter, collecting the pledges then either abandoning or killing that animal. People are a different kind of mean these days. They think nothing of animal life, especially cats. There are some really horrible people out there these days. It’s just difficult proving it and then convincing others it’s the truth.

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    • ELisa, you seem to be saying that the bad behavior of some rescues leading to unnecessary deaths is accepted because the life of a cat is not worth a lot really in the eyes of some people involved in cat rescue.

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        • Yes, Jan, it does seem that way. I can understand how it gets like that but it is inexcusable though. The more a shelter kills healthy cats the less value they place on the life of cats and vice versa.

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  2. I think there should be a data base by state on all animals pulled by rescues. This should be accessible to all rescues and shelters to view. It should list the animals pulled by date and the name and location of the rescue that pulled. Anyone, at any time, should be able to contact the rescue and ask for disposition of the animal. The rescues should have intake information on each one taken in, whether from a shelter or an individual. Fosters should have applications on file and be available for contact on any animal in their care. The pulling rescue is accountable for the animal no matter if in foster. It comes down to keeping thorough records and a documented trail on each rescue from intake to adoption.Any cat that enters the data base for Princeton’s has a record from intake until adoption. Records on adoption are kept for the life of the animal. Once a Princeton’s kitty, always a Princeton’s kitty.

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    • I thought the shelter had to provide that disposition of the animals info for the state already along with their euthanasia data already?

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    • Every shelter should be able to provide an annual recap by rescue organization as to the numbers of animals pulled. But whether county run facilities actually care about the ultimate disposition of the animal or not, is another issue. We have learned the hard way, there are worse situations than humane euthanasia. But the caliber and mentalities of shelter management needs to evolve beyond the statistical concept of “safe”; and with checks and balances in place. Even with a well established foster base, it is very unlikelihood that any rescue could financially support anywhere near 500 animals annually, without being stretched to the limit. And the paper trail for each animal goes without saying; the respectable rescues will ALWAYS insist on an infallible open door return policy for the duration of their animals’ natural lives. And in the end, if we are not going to enhance, preserve, and protect the quality of the animal’s life, that we are saving, then what really is the point ?

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  3. Elisa You said find most pull/rescue 200-300 a year? Wow I guess we have always been slack. Our biggest year in last 10 years was 3 years ago with a big TNR project resulting in 28, 5-7 week old kittens. But we do help the local shelter in many ways, it would kill us if we found out something happened to animals sent out. After the incident JW we follow up the pulls ourselves. We also help TNR fund raising and Spay it Forward fundraising for spay/neuter.

    Reply
    • That’s for well established rescues. Princeton’s Meow pulls a lot for Cabarrus County in NC, Columbus Paws and Purrs pulls a lot in Georgia and Saving Southern Kitties and Foster Paws pulls a lot for GCACS. They pull at a small but steady rate and we see a lot of adoptions. I feel sure rescues who pull from major metro areas are more likely to hit that 300 mark. SSK said they pulled around 200 in 2015 and that’s using Petsmart and a team of good fosters.

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      • I thought we were well established 20 years worth LOL. AT one time e had 16 fosters but now we have scaled back considerable. We always take photos with the adopters and the cat they have adopted. We post them to our pages if the people are agreeable to having their photo on FB or web some do not want their pictures on FB especially their kids. But even if we do not post we get a adoption day photo for the adoption record. And we have all their phone numbers with the cats name saved so we can check back in the initial adoption time frame. So adopters are great about sending us a picture on the kitties birthday (adoption day) Christmas etc. We try to be very interactive with adopters Many will contact for cat advise and we encourage that. Yes Princeton’s has a adoption of fosters and a adoption center they have pulled probable 60-70% of t cats coming out of Cabarrus. I do not know what effect the changes at Cabarrus and the county re-taking over operations will have on that.

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  4. I am very glad you are doing this. In the past year I have seen the rescue wars on Facebook and have fostered for several rescues. I have been doing research on what is required by the state Agriculture boards in northern states. Did you know that the state of Connecticut requires an exam by vet in their state within 48 hours of arrival from SC? $500 fine per animal if not done! State Licenses are not required by GCAC for pulling animals. 501c3 is merely a label used to acquire donations. The good, the bad, and the ugly of animal rescue needs to be documented and published, and I can’t think of anyone better than you to do it. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

    Reply
    • That’s the problem because I don’t want to bring down any rescue with an article. What if I’m wrong? But I don’t want to help them either. All I can do with a clean conscious is tell people what to watch for. Rescues need to be encouraged to grow but they really need to study the legit successful ones and know what they’re doing.

      Reply

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