Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pet Adoption Question

The Chicago Tribune had an article about the screening processes used by animal shelters in advance of an adoption. You might be aware that I have a side in this one.

This is what the shelters say:

"You have no idea how traumatic abandonment is for animals," said Jim Borgelt, president of the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance, a coalition of 15 "no-kill" shelters. "Of course, we want animals to find homes, but we don't want to do it without any regard for the end result."

Alliance members adopt between 14,000 and 15,000 dogs and cats annually. Of those, 3 percent to 6 percent—or roughly 750—are returned.

And the other side:

Katie Popovich recently accompanied her boyfriend to a North Side animal shelter in search of a dog. When a beagle-border collie mix immediately nuzzled against them, they were smitten.

But the 22-year-olds received a considerably chillier response from the human behind the counter. "It seemed like we were instantly thrown into this category that we were just kids and not responsible," she said, adding that they are now talking with breeders.

The rescue where I volunteer, which is only for parrots, has a pretty serious screening process, and it does make people angry. I have heard, "They make you volunteer before they let you adopt." Parrots aren't easy, and if someone that once had a canary wants to adopt a macaw, we worry. The grain of truth to the accusation is that we will suggest spending time onsite with the birds so that our directors can see that the adoptors can handle the large birds.

This article does a good job of laying out the issue. But I don't think I have to tell you that it glosses over the horror stories with the mention of the "return" rate.

It mentions expense, but let me give you numbers: two years ago my dog had a thyroid tumor. It took $2,000 in tests to diagnose and $3,000 for the surgery and after care.

There is no excuse for being rude to people that want to adopt an animal. At the same time, if you can't manage some patience with the adoption process, do you really have the patience for a new pet?

You can read the full text of the article here.


Fluffycat said...

Interesting article. I think there definitely has to be a happy medium, but I've seen too many cats come back to not think that they should screen people thoroughly since it is hard for the animals to be taken to a home then brought back two days later.

Anne said...

Exactly. And with the birds it might be six or twelve months later.