Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Long, Long Time (Reply) -- New York City

(Picture Left: "Melanie" -- Dumped at pound five years following adoption. But, lucky for Melanie, it wasn't the cruel summer.)

Karyn Writes: Regarding the promise in your contract to always take back an animal you have adopted out; are you guaranteed that if an animal is dumped back at the pound that you will be called and given the opportunity to re-rescue that animal? If you are, my instinct would be to remove that promise from your contract. Not only does it hold you legally responsible to take back an animal (which could and probably does happen during times when you're already having trouble finding space for all those you're currently responsible for), but in my opinion, it also gives potential adopters an escape clause. "I don't have to make a real commitment. If it doesn't work out, I can always return him/her." I regard it as similar to getting married knowing that you can always divorce if the marriage doesn't suit you. Yes, there are good reasons for divorce. But if you go into a marriage expecting to divorce someday, you probably will. And if you go into a pet adoption knowing that someone else will take the pet once you no longer have room in your life for it, then you probably won't keep that pet for life either. It just decreases the amount of responsibility and commitment an adopter has to make at the outset. Removing that clause may be one key to getting people to take their pet adoptions more seriously, hopefully resulting in fewer re-dumped pets. Just my 2c! -- Karyn

Reply: Well, for only two cents, your post is the bargain of the century!

First, to answer your question, yes, we are called from the pound if any of our adopted animals gets dropped off. All animals rescued by us are microchipped and thus, identified to us.

In fact, about six months ago, a Chow mix named, "Melanie" who we adopted out five years ago, was abandoned at Animal Control as a so-called "bite case."

When informed from the shelter, I looked up the record of Melanie and called her adopter.

Previously, I had adopted Melanie to a single man. But, the man had since married and the couple had a baby who was then ten-months-old and crawling around.

Apparently, the baby climbed on the dog one day and was patting the dog's ear (which was sensitive due to an infection). Melanie whipped her head around and apparently hit the baby, causing a minor bruise. (The dog did NOT bite!) The baby was fine and required no medical attention, but the wife insisted on "getting rid of the dog."

Not a happy scenario of course, but what was I to do? I can't advise someone to get a divorce!

Anyway, the fact that Melanie was erroneously turned in as a "bite case" actually turned out to be fortunate. Law requires all bite case animals to be "held" for ten days for observation of possible rabies (a joke in New York City, but law nonetheless.) The ten day holding period allowed me enough time to photograph Melanie, advertise her and find an emergency foster home.

Even more fortunate, the young Manhattan couple who fostered Melanie, later adopted her.

She really was and is a lovely dog.

However, were such incident to occur today, I doubt I would be so "fortunate."

Fosters (emergency or otherwise) are extremely tough to find in New York City during the summer as so many people travel for vacations.

As noted many times previously, Euthanasia Stats at city shelters skyrocket during the summer. -- Double for dogs and more than triple for cats and kittens compared to winter months.

In any event, you make an excellent point about removing the "take back anytime" clause in our adoption contract. While I believe it important to guarantee return if an adoption fails, it is neither practical nor even possible to take back animals years after an adoption and the animal is at or near the end point of his/her life.

That is especially true in today's terrible economic crunch.

But, more to your point, yes, I believe you are correct in citing that people who know there is always an "out" may not be apt to truly and wholeheartedly commit to an animal.

"Hell, if the dog/cat gets old, infirm or I just don't want to deal with him/her anymore, I can just call the adoption agency to come get her/him!"

Unfortunately, I think that's exactly what the adopters of Daisy, the (now) 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel expected.

I am still waiting for "John" to email me updated pictures of Daisy.

I have a feeling I will be waiting a long, long time...... -- PCA

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