Friday, January 31, 2014

Rescue and Shelter Abuse

What is "rescue", exactly? My online dictionary tells me it is defined as:

:  to free from confinement, danger, or evil :  save, deliver: as

a :  to take (as a prisoner) forcibly from custody

b :  to recover (as a prize) by force
c :  to deliver (as a place under siege) by armed force

I'd have to agree that most pet "rescues" involve taking forcibly or recovering a prize through use of force. And if the "prize" happens to be a desirable small breed dog, so much the better for the rescue raiders! Their prisoner is then offered up for sale in a rescue retail store.

However, I'm betting most pet "rescues" view themselves as freedom fighters; nabbing animals from their horrible confinement.  By Jove! They derive a great sense of satisfaction and self-worth from this altruistic activity.

Sometimes this feel-good feeling is justified. When we rescue a pet from a shelter, we are saving it from certain death. But what about other situations?

What about "Rescuing" animals from their owners? Who decides what constitutes a dangerous situation for the animals? Could it be possible that this is not always the humane course of action? And if there is abuse and/or neglect involved, why isn't the first thought to provide assistance to the person involved? Many times animals are rescued from genuinely bad conditions, while the humans (usually elderly or poor, or both) are left behind, broken and forgotten. How "humane" is that, really?

There are actually many "rescue" situations which fall under definitions "a" and "b".  The elderly are often preyed upon by rescuers. The elderly don't often have the resources or the energy to fight for their ownership rights.

Take, for example, a situation in this week's news. A "rescue" deceptively confiscated an elderly couple's pet Chihuahua. The couple believed they were sending their pet off to training school. Instead, their dog was taken from them to be offered as product on the shelf of the rescue retail store.

This news team gets it, and the newscaster tells it like it is. "They intend to sell him for profit" she stated in the news report.

Here's the link to the news program. Check the lovely house the director of the "rescue charity" lives in. It pays to rescue! And they are not above taking advantage of the elderly in order to profit.

And sometimes, the very groups that supposedly "shelter" and "rescue" are the very places that animals need to be rescued FROM.

Even as dogs in some areas are being taken from their rightful owners by animal rescuers who believe that double-coated dogs can't be kept safely outdoors in the winter weather, a shelter in Oklahoma left their door wide open and allowed their charges to freeze to death in the concrete-floored cages.

Where is the public outrage? If this were a private party they would have already gathered up the pitchforks and torches for a fine lynching. But because it's an altruistic "shelter' there's barely a ripple in the news about it.

Shelters and rescues need to be held to the same standards as any other pet store, seller, breeder or broker. Heck, they need to be held to the same COMMANDMENTS as the rest of us.


Instead, the current trend is to give these unregulated rescues and shelters preference in the marketplace.

While breeders and pet stores typically must be transparent in their dealings and provide health guarantees on the animals they sell, shelters and rescues can literally lie, cheat, steal and abuse with impunity. They have no ethical standards. They have no regulation. They provide no health guarantees and rarely any history on the animals they sell.

And for all these abuses, what is the penalty? Why, no penalty at all! They are even being rewarded  with a market monopoly in some areas.


  1. While breeders and pet stores typically must be transparent in their dealings and provide health guarantees on the animals they sell, shelters and rescues can literally lie, cheat, steal and abuse with impunity.

  2. Anyone or any organization that advertises itself as a "shelter, rescue, or private foster" should be required to be state licensed, and state inspected twice annually with the same scale of repercussions for violations that are required by USDA for anyone who cares for or raises animals.