With any thing, even dog adoption, it is a buyer beware market. While rescuing animals is a good thought, not all rescues are well-thought out. Sometimes, it might seem as if the rescue has too many good thoughts. Here are some suggestions for saving you time, money and heartache.
Yesterday, a fit woman who was looking forward to a vacation hiking in a national park told me that she had been rejected by a rescue organization. The first reason was her age: She was over 50 and wanted a medium to large-sized dog. She was also told that she would be required to run the dog five miles a day and never feed the dog with a dog food that contained any ingredients coming from China.
I once spoke over the phone with a rescue person and breeder who wouldn’t adopt out to “Orientals” or “blacks.”
The rescue, which I won’t be naming, wasn’t one I was familiar with, but it isn’t hard to start up a rescue organization and some don’t even bother with the basic paperwork. There are more wacko-doodles in the world than labradoodles.
Here’s a list of things to check:
- The rescue has the federal 501(c)(3). You can do this by going to this IRS link.
- Verify the organizations tax-exempt status by asking to see the IRS letter granting them this status.
- You can also call the IRS toll-free at 1-877-829-5500.
- In the case of fiscal sponsorships, you’ll have to check with the umbrella foundation.
- Look at the other organizations under the umbrella foundation.
- Check to see if there are complaints and how reasonable the complaints are. Try Ripoff Report or RescueWatchDogs. The latter, however, seems to mostly focus on one particular rescue.
- Ask to see the adoption agreement before you fall in love with a canine face.
- If any of the requests seem unreasonable, then pass.
- Some animal rescuers are actually animal hoarders so it doesn’t hurt to read up on animal hoarders.
- Look at the facility. Is it clean? Are the animals clean?
- If the facility is in a condo or apartment, be extra careful. Condos generally have a pet policy limiting the number of animals allowed. If the person in charge of the rescue ignores the law in this specific situation, don’t expect things to go well if you get on the wrong side of the person for whatever reason.
- Compare the cost of the animal to the cost of local humane societies. Look at where the person advertises. Some rescuers are actually re-sellers. They get a pet for free off of some place like Craigslist and then try and turn a profit. They post a sob story, but know little about the actual animal. Check with local humane societies and see what the reputation of the group is.
You might have to walk away from an adoption if the circumstances are suspect. Don’t be fooled by the thought that you could save the dog from the rescuer. You are adopting a dog and the policies of the rescuer. You are signing a contract and if the person is on the wrong side of sane, then you might be buying a long-term problem.