Good Hearted or Just Animal Nazis?

Over the years I’ve listened to people complain about the adoption and rescue practices of various groups and today it is a hot topic.

During the time I worked as an adoption counselor I was mortified at just how difficult the shelter made it to adopt animals.

Suitable households would often be denied an animal because of one minor flaw in a long list of criterion and many, many rules.

This did not prevent animals from being brought back once they were adopted either–which I think was the goal but that doesn’t guarantee anything.

Over the last month two of my close friends have shared experiences with me.

The first works for a cat rescue group. She had three siblings that SHE wanted to go to the same home. In the end, that did not happen and the cats remain in her care.

Not to say that they don’t have it good–they have it better than most animals I know–but her expectations were unrealistic.

From the behavior end, I would never recommend that sibling animals be placed together (in most cases) for a variety of reasons.

And just how many people want to take on three new animals at once?

While many animals sit in cages or abnormal conditions waiting for homes–people are denied adoption rights because someone or some group has to “sanction” the adoption.

Personally, I think some screening is a good idea but would rather see an animal get into a home instead of sitting in a cage for six months as was the case with another pal’s new animal.

This person has been a cat owner for over fifty years. She has spent thousands of dollars on her senior cats–including periodontal work.

However when she went to adopt her newest cat–it was a circus.

First, the cat was in a small cage where he could barely stretch or move around and had been there for over six months.

Her visitations to this cat were no less than four AND she also had a few of her closest friends to go and check him out too.

Once that was done, two adoption agency people came over for home inspections.

But they were amazingly anal and stupid when it came to handling their new human client. I certainly would not want to recommend anyone adopt from that agency based on the behavior of the volunteers and staff–and what was said to my friend.

Ultimately, that cat is happily living in a home where he is loved and is adjusting to life outside of the cage.

He is happy and my friend is thrilled–but is it really necessary to make animal adoptions so difficult?

So, my questions to you are: how extreme do you think agencies and people adopting out animals should get? Do you see a need for change or are you happy with such adoption practics as they stand today?

Finally, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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  1. This is a “hot” topic, and I really appreciate your covering it.
    One of my least favorite statements from rescue/shelter people is: “They’re better off dead” HOW can an animal lover say this? I think ANY home is better than euthanasia. With a home, the animal has a chance. It may not be a perfect home (could someone please define a perfect home?!—It’s a fantasy—THERE IS NO SUCH THING!) but “any” home has the potential to get better, to learn, to love, to grow. Dead is a dead end.
    I currently have 14 foster dogs. Two are sisters, and they adore each other. I would indeed like to place them together. But if I had an interested adopter for one or the other, I’d let them go! Because any home that adopts just one is likely to give it more time and attention and training and interaction than they are both getting in my pack. I don’t have the time and energy to provide the optimum amount of one-on-one socialization that each of these dogs need. But I’m thinking they are better off than being dead…which was another choice.

    Every foster animal I have is spayed or neutered, so I know that nobody will be adding to the problem. If I had the resources I could take in HUNDREDS of intact animals that are being given away rather than dumped at Animal Control or killed. Most people would rather NOT kill an animal, but they also sometimes can’t afford the “normal” high costs of spay/neuter.

    Some people are trying to make a buck by producing pets. Some discover it’s not a big money maker if it’s done right. Some (way too many) have “accidents” and that contributes a lot to the number of “unwanted” animals around here.

    But all of these people are generally good hearted, it seems to me the nazi’s only show up on the sheltering end of the equation, and I find that scary and sad.

  2. @LynnO: I have not heard the “they are better off dead” line ever but I have watched shelter and rescue people snub potential pet owners before giving them a chance–not to mention the animal.

    Fostering has challenges but I think it can be a great option prior to integrating an animal into a new home.

    Ultimately, what I would like to see is a series of programs within shelters and fostering programs that take the well-meaning actions and energy and supply training and additional help to mold those animals into better adoptable pets.

    I’ve seen the nazi mentality in fostering pet parents. Ultimately, I think they mean well but they have an odd sense of stewardship that is not serving the best interest of the animals and ignoring the best interests of those wanting to adopt.

  3. This is a very interesting subject. I had 2 Pomeranians and thought I could foster others. We have a fenced backyard and the dogs stay with me in the house. I went through the rigmarole, filled out a long questionnaire and finally got a “home visit”. This was after they actually called two of my references. We have a 10×10 fenced area that we can move around the yard if the dogs would be in danger (mowing, etc). And, the dogs spent the night in their crates. Those are the only things I could even imagine this woman didn’t like. She brought a neurotic dog with her and even told me it’s OK to have large and small dogs together, and that her Great Dane rolled over and broke the leg of her chihuahua! After her visit, I heard no more from these people. They wouldn’t answer the phone, or emails. They are physically located over an hour away, so I didn’t GO there. This all just blew my mind. I’ve had pets of all kinds for over 40 years at that time and I was disapproved! It’s unbelievable. Especially if you know how I pamper my dogs. Nazi is the right word for some of them.

  4. @Cindy: Thanks for leaving a note. Sorry to hear about your experience but some groups are really a mess and very much a tight knit club. Hope that you find something else to put your energy into!

  5. Here is a great commentary on the topic hot off the press by Nathan Winograd:


  1. […] ranted about animal adoption nazis last year and noticed that my irritation seemed to rise about the same time it did this […]