Jump to content
BC Boards
Tommy Coyote

I can't get a shelter dog

Recommended Posts

I've been looking for another dog. I really want another border collie but I just can't see spending the money for a good working dog when I don't work my dogs. And there are so many dogs out there right now that need homes.

 

I just want another young dog to play with Tommy. She really needs someone to play with and Ellie has gotten too old to be interested in highjinks.

 

So I stopped in at the Parkville Animal Shelter (a no kill shelter) and they won't let me take a shelter dog because Tommy isn't spayed yet. I have no intention of breeding and am going to get her spayed as soon as she comes out of season. And the only reason I haven't don it before is because I have been afraid that the stress from the surgery might bring on her auto immune disease. But it's been a year and a half since she was sick and she has been just fine. So I'm hoping it's safe now to have the surgery.

 

They will not allow you to adopt anything at all unless all your animals at home are neutered.

 

Is this normal?

 

They had a really pretty little four month old border collie - they said was as mix breed but I don't think so. She's a smooth coat tri and looks pretty pure bred to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the shelters around here will not even consider adopting any animal out that has not been altered. So even though some may (if they actually take the time to read the application) make a comment on your other dog not being spayed, I know of at least one (personal experience not hearsay) that would still let you adopt. There may or may not be more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Odd rule, given that all animals adopted from that shelter would be spayed or neutered. Would they let you adopt if you had an intact cat? Given the rule that would be a reasonable extrapolation. What about a farm with working collies that wanted a "biscuit eater" for the kids?

 

Our Desert Tortoise is not fixed so we're ass-out. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I agree that is simply a dumb rule I can understand why they have it. They are probably trying to make sure that only responsible people adopt. I would ask if you could adopt if you had a note from your veterinarian stating that Tommy hasn't been spayed yet due to potential complications caused by autoimmune disease. Unless they are jerks the director will simply make an exception in your case due to your dog having a medical condition. Otherwise go to another shelter and surely they will be reasonable. I hope you find the dog you're looking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a very normal rule for shelters. You must remember that they are not just adopting out animals, they are heavily invested in reducing the number of unwanted animals that are out there, period. Their philosophy is that no pet dogs need to be intact, and no responsible pet owner has intact dogs. They do not want to adopt dogs into homes where there are intact dogs that may go on to produce puppies that end up in their system - ie they don't want to be all excited about placing one of their dogs with you and then see you at the shelter door in a year with an armful of puppies you created. Even though you couldn't have done it with their shelter dog, since it will have been altered before placement, their philosophy is that good homes have neutered pet dogs. They want their dogs in "good" homes.

 

I'm not making a comment on whether the philosophy makes practical sense, I'm just explaining it. The more proactive shelters (ie no kill facilities etc) are not just moving animals out the door, they are trying to educate the public about responsible pet ownership and what it means with respect to altering pets. If you have an intact pet dog, you are 'part of the problem' potentially, not part of the solution. That's how the philosophy works.

 

As an aside, I've worked on and off in shelters for a lot of years. You'd be amazed how many people come into the shelters looking for something they can breed to their existing pet and are disappointed to learn that the shelter animals are all neutered before placement. Also, in the bigger and busier shelters, who experience a constant stream of litters of puppies and dumped dogs, the staff quickly adopt a very black and white attitude about what constitutes a responsible pet owner. When you've worked in the system, it's not that difficult to empathize with that black & white attitude, because shelter workers really do see the worst of pet owners, more or less constantly.

 

RDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I agree that is simply a dumb rule I can understand why they have it. They are probably trying to make sure that only responsible people adopt. I would ask if you could adopt if you had a note from your veterinarian stating that Tommy hasn't been spayed yet due to potential complications caused by autoimmune disease. Unless they are jerks the director will simply make an exception in your case due to your dog having a medical condition. Otherwise go to another shelter and surely they will be reasonable. I hope you find the dog you're looking for.

 

I disagree wholeheartedly with this extremely dumb rule. Only people with neutered dogs are responsible? How about instead: responsible people control their dogs reproductive status by either neutering or being careful with their dogs. My male puppy is 15 months old and will not be neutered until his growth plates are closed as he is an agility dog. He is not out wandering around, doesn't leave the house without a lead on and is trained to listen and recall. He is healthy, raw fed, vaccinated, and has flea stuff on. He gets a ton of attention and fun in his life. How am I not a good and responsible dog owner?

 

Its dumb-ass rules like this that keep animals in shelters and contribute to the senseless death of perfectly good animals because they are not adopted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

As an aside, I've worked on and off in shelters for a lot of years. You'd be amazed how many people come into the shelters looking for something they can breed to their existing pet and are disappointed to learn that the shelter animals are all neutered before placement. Also, in the bigger and busier shelters, who experience a constant stream of litters of puppies and dumped dogs, the staff quickly adopt a very black and white attitude about what constitutes a responsible pet owner. When you've worked in the system, it's not that difficult to empathize with that black & white attitude, because shelter workers really do see the worst of pet owners, more or less constantly.

 

 

I worked in a municipal shelter for 6 years and I respectfully disagree. While I get the frustration level, there were far fewer puppies and kittens dumped for "unable to find homes" than there was people dumping their dogs because tehy were "moving" or "too much work" or because they were goofy adolescents and people felt overwhelmed. I could also see that if the OP walked in and said "I want a dog to breed" the shelter might be less inclined to deem him a "good pet owner." But he has a nice dog and wants to adopt a companion, and his dog is intact because of health reasons. To deny him as a good home is just ridiculous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rushdoggie,

The shelter has no way of knowing just how responsible the potential adopter is. They are in the business of cleaning up other people's messes, so I don't find it at all surprising that they don't want to adopt into a home with unneutered pets. Unfortunately rules are often made to cover the lowest common denominator, and in the case of shelters, that lowest common denominator is that responsible pet owners have neutered pets and pet owners with intact dogs are more/most likely to add to the mess the shelter is busy trying to clean up.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rushdoggie,

The shelter has no way of knowing just how responsible the potential adopter is.

 

I get the logic, but it is wrong. There are a lot of ways to determine the responsiblity of the adopter including a vet reference, neighbor reference, records of if this adopter has surrendered dogs before, etc. To assume he is a poor adopter denys a dog a home and thats part of their job too. If their only criteria for determining the responsibility of a potential adopter is if his dog is intact or not they need some additional education.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its dumb-ass rules like this that keep animals in shelters and contribute to the senseless death of perfectly good animals because they are not adopted.

 

Oh I think that's pretty short sighted. Animals in shelter are not being created by a secret factory out behind the kennels to fill them with dogs - the dogs come from the dumb-ass general public, who does not neuter their pets and/or is not responsible with their intact pets.

 

Shelter workers are also not standing around rubbing their hands gleefully at the thought of shooting down everyone who tries to adopt and then taking the animals out back to kill them. Come on - people work in shelters because they love animals and they want to make a difference. They want those animals going to good homes. Very unfortunately, the "good owners" who promise they are responsible with their intact dogs are all too often ignoramouses who want their kids to "experience the miracle of life" or "didn't think Fido would jump the fence to knock up Fluffy down the road" or "whose teenage kids can't get it through their head to shut the gate" etc. And after their intact male dog has roamed one too many times and is impounded yet again and this time they just can't/won't pay the impound fee, it falls on the shelter and its resources to find that dog another home.

 

Shelters aren't the problem people ... the general dog owning public is the problem.

 

This is not to say that there are not responsible dog owners out there with intact dogs. I am one of them. But sadly, the shelters have no reasonable and failsafe way of determining that, and they mostly don't see those responsible people. They have to have some rule implemented to weed out the bad guys. It might not be a rule that works for everyone, but as has been pointed out many times ... if you don't like the way a shelter or a rescue operates / you don't like their policies, you can go adopt somewhere else. That's the beauty (and the curse) of choice.

 

RDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are planning on getting Tommy neutered soon, and you really like this 4-month-old pup? Maybe you could ask the shelter to put your name on him -- and pay all his fees up front -- and send him to a foster home pending Tommy's spay. If they have fosters available and you've made the cash commitment to adopt, I would see this as a win-win. If they don't have fosters available, I wonder if you could send them any of your friends as volunteers? They might get some new volunteers into their system that way too. This is all just blue-sky thinking, but it would be great if this pup landed in a permanent home that knows border collies -- like you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked in a municipal shelter for 6 years and I respectfully disagree. While I get the frustration level, there were far fewer puppies and kittens dumped for "unable to find homes" than there was people dumping their dogs because tehy were "moving" or "too much work" or because they were goofy adolescents and people felt overwhelmed.

 

I think that may be the case with the municipal shelter you worked in, and fortuitously it is also the case with the one I work in now (and slightly less at the one I aux with). However, it's most certainly not the case with all or even most shelters. I regularly take dogs into rescue from a shelter about an hour away from me that routinely has boxes of puppies left at the gate, or near term bitches dumped at reception etc. My Spring dog foster, who is either a borderjack/IG X border collie is a one year old (max) dog who is tiny and absolutely delightful, and I have sporty folks chomping at the bit to adopt her - but she comes from a shelter where she was on the critical list for euthanasia because where she comes from, the shelters are always at capacity and the general dog owning public are a collective mass of irresponsibility.

 

Not all shelters are created equal, because not all communities are the same. I feel lucky to work in a community that is generally affluent and for the most part responsible with their dogs (the exception being the rez dogs, many of whom are repeat offenders in our system). My colleagues who work in other communities experience a very different reality. My boss previously worked in a different community locally where there were two counters to bypass to reach staff, the reason being that physical assaults on the staff were disturbing common (by the public I mean). That's a totally different kind of community to work in, and the kind of pet owners in that community are also very different.

 

RDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would ask if you could adopt if you had a note from your veterinarian stating that Tommy hasn't been spayed yet due to potential complications caused by autoimmune disease.

 

Do try this. We got Maggie da Cat really quickly because our vet raved about what great pet owners we are.

 

Heck, if they are recalcitrant, ask your vet to call them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I think that's pretty short sighted. Animals in shelter are not being created by a secret factory out behind the kennels to fill them with dogs - the dogs come from the dumb-ass general public, who does not neuter their pets and/or is not responsible with their intact pets.

 

Animals in shelters are there because of dumbass people, and not adopting a dog to the OP because he has an intact dog at home is short sighted. He is not suggesting that the dog he adopts won't be neutered (nor am I suggesting that the shelter adopt out intact dogs), he is saying the dog he has at home is intact for legitimate reasons and should the shelter be concerned about his appropriateness as a home there are other ways to determine that.

 

Shelter workers are also not standing around rubbing their hands gleefully at the thought of shooting down everyone who tries to adopt and then taking the animals out back to kill them. Come on - people work in shelters because they love animals and they want to make a difference. They want those animals going to good homes.

 

And I know this. I *was* a shelter worker and I have done rescue for a very long time. But shelter workers (and mostly administration) have a responsibility to find good homes for good dogs and the use of flat, static criteria to decide who is a good home and who isn't isn't accomplishing that.

 

Very unfortunately, the "good owners" who promise they are responsible with their intact dogs are all too often ignoramouses who want their kids to "experience the miracle of life" or "didn't think Fido would jump the fence to knock up Fluffy down the road" or "whose teenage kids can't get it through their head to shut the gate" etc. And after their intact male dog has roamed one too many times and is impounded yet again and this time they just can't/won't pay the impound fee, it falls on the shelter and its resources to find that dog another home.

 

Again, the OP wants to adopt a neutered dog as a companion for his intact dog. Lets even say that his intact dog was going to wander around and get impregnated. How would that make any difference if he adopted a neutered dog from that shelter or the neutered dog from another shelter? It fails the common sense test.

Shelters aren't the problem people ... the general dog owning public is the problem.

 

Sometimes. I loved my shelter (was John Ancrum SPCA in Charleston, SC, its now called something else)...I worked hard and we did good things. I killed dogs and I cried, but we found good homes for everyone we could. We worked with rescue, we trained volunteers to work with dogs and make them more adoptable. We participated in a program with the US customs people to find sniffer dogs. At that time, I would have told you that all shelters are great and did good things.

 

Then I moved elsewhere and found that the kill rate at the shelter where I moved (Kern Co, CA) was outrageous and they had horrible policies that ensured that only a very few dogs got adopted, and even fewer were recliamed. The hoops you had to jump through to adopt were a turn off and only a tiny % got adopted because of it. Dogs were not reclaimed because people were not allowed to look at teh stray dogs (because of "liability") so you had to give a description and have teh shelter worker tell you if your dog or cat was there. It was run by a lady whose background wasn't animal welfare, but (no lie - literally) Waste Management. I spent months working on a committee to get things changed and even after all that work, very little changed. Shelters have a responsibility just like any other government agency. Denying a dog a home based on a single criterion of responsibility is short sighted and stupid.

 

This is an excellent article.

 

Good Homes Need Not Apply

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

but she comes from a shelter where she was on the critical list for euthanasia because where she comes from, the shelters are always at capacity and the general dog owning public are a collective mass of irresponsibility.

 

 

And this describes most of the kill shelters in the Southeast US. Puppies by the boxful, hell yes, and pregnant females all the time. I think so many people are blissfully unaware of just how huge a problem pet overpopulation is in this country, in certain parts more than others. So, yeah, I agree with everything RDM wrote, and can understand where the shelters are coming from with these type of requirements. It truly is about more than just one adoptor or one dog. They're trying to make a difference in the bigger picture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It truly is about more than just one adoptor or one dog. They're trying to make a difference in the bigger picture.

 

And how will the dog he has at home make any difference in the bigger picture? Again, the OP is not asking to adopt an intact dog. What he does or doesn't do with his dog at home won't change whether he adopts a dog from their shelter or another...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an FYI, Tommy is the dog's name, and I believe her owner is a woman....

 

TC,

Would the shelter relent if you showed them a letter from your vet stating that you plan to spay Tommy, but it was delayed because of health issues? It's not as if you're looking at a male pup, but if you really like the 4-month-old, maybe you just need to go the extra mile to show the shelter staff that you are responsible and would be a good home.

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And how will the dog he has at home make any difference in the bigger picture? Again, the OP is not asking to adopt an intact dog. What he does or doesn't do with his dog at home won't change whether he adopts a dog from their shelter or another...

 

You don't think so? I think there is always a good possibility that if a shelter worker explains to someone why they only adopt to homes where pet dogs are neutered, and why pet dogs should be neutered, the individual might just neuter their dog and therefore no longer be a potential contributor to the problem. Lots won't, but some might and will, and that's part of how the education process works. You can't make someone neuter their dog, but you can provide some education and incentive to do so.

 

I would also guess, from the shelter's perspective, if he lets his intact dog have puppies that may end up in the system, he is part of the problem and therefore not a "good" owner. Also, if he is likely to have puppies by his intact dog at home, in an area where puppies in the system are very common, and those puppies may end up in the system because he dumped them on the shelter, he's probably the kind of person who would dump the dog he adopted as well (or if his intact dog got knocked up for roaming, his adopted dog was probably roaming as well etc). I could go on in this vein, but I think you get the idea.

 

I don't actually disagree with you - I *personally* feel there are a multitude of ways to determine whether someone is responsible / a good dog owner, and that a blanket rule may regrettably weed out some excellent owners. In a more ideal world, the shelters would have the resources and options to determine this. But that's just not a reality and for many shelters, not practical :(

 

RDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the logic, but it is wrong. There are a lot of ways to determine the responsiblity of the adopter including a vet reference, neighbor reference, records of if this adopter has surrendered dogs before, etc. To assume he is a poor adopter denys a dog a home and thats part of their job too. If their only criteria for determining the responsibility of a potential adopter is if his dog is intact or not they need some additional education.

 

It's the same category of "Zero Tolerance" that gets grade school kids suspended for having one of these: New-Green-&-Gray-Poses-3.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand their philosophy and they have every right to run their shelter the way they think is best. And I will keep looking. Somewhere out there is a little border collie that needs a home. And our home needs a border collie. I just don't want any other kind of dog. It's what I've always had.

 

This is how bad this group is: there is a really good dog trainer up here who has Bostons. She is really active in obedience. But she was showing one of her Bostons in conformation so he wasn't neutered yet. This would have been one of the best homes that any animal could have had. I know these people and they are absolutely wonderful. But they wouldn't let her adopt a cat.

 

There are people out there who really strongly believe that no pet should be bred - well - no dog or cat no matter the parentage looks like. I have talked to people that don't believe any pure bred dog should be bred because they think that is what is causing the overpopulation of the non-purebred dogs.

 

But I really think that people whould be able to get a dog and be able to get the one of the breed of their choice. I don't want someone else telling me what kind of dog I can have or expecting me to live by their rules.

 

This is a no kill shelter I wanted to support them. They are way overlaoded with dogs right now because of the recession. And the competition here in town is selling their dogs for $1 a pound - that's neutered and heart worm checked and everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an FYI, Tommy is the dog's name, and I believe her owner is a woman....

 

TC,

Would the shelter relent if you showed them a letter from your vet stating that you plan to spay Tommy, but it was delayed because of health issues? It's not as if you're looking at a male pup, but if you really like the 4-month-old, maybe you just need to go the extra mile to show the shelter staff that you are responsible and would be a good home.

 

J.

 

Yes, I was thinking this, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't think so? I think there is always a good possibility that if a shelter worker explains to someone why they only adopt to homes where pet dogs are neutered, and why pet dogs should be neutered, the individual might just neuter their dog and therefore no longer be a potential contributor to the problem. Lots won't, but some might and will, and that's part of how the education process works. You can't make someone neuter their dog, but you can provide some education and incentive to do so.

 

I would also guess, from the shelter's perspective, if he lets his intact dog have puppies that may end up in the system, he is part of the problem and therefore not a "good" owner. Also, if he is likely to have puppies by his intact dog at home, in an area where puppies in the system are very common, and those puppies may end up in the system because he dumped them on the shelter, he's probably the kind of person who would dump the dog he adopted as well (or if his intact dog got knocked up for roaming, his adopted dog was probably roaming as well etc). I could go on in this vein, but I think you get the idea.

 

You said it better than I could, but yes, this is what I meant by the bigger picture.

 

I don't actually disagree with you - I *personally* feel there are a multitude of ways to determine whether someone is responsible / a good dog owner, and that a blanket rule may regrettably weed out some excellent owners. In a more ideal world, the shelters would have the resources and options to determine this. But that's just not a reality and for many shelters, not practical :(

 

RDM

 

I agree with this, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't think so? I think there is always a good possibility that if a shelter worker explains to someone why they only adopt to homes where pet dogs are neutered, and why pet dogs should be neutered, the individual might just neuter their dog and therefore no longer be a potential contributor to the problem. Lots won't, but some might and will, and that's part of how the education process works. You can't make someone neuter their dog, but you can provide some education and incentive to do so.

 

I would agree that this would be sufficient incentive if there were no other shelters or ready source of dogs out there. However, the OP (and I apologize to Tommy for calling her a him) already said theres another shelter in town. And I think its a load of BS when the potential adopter explains that she has not yet neutered her girl for valid, health related reasons. So thinking that this will cause her to neuter her dog isn't likely to work for this shelter.

 

I would also guess, from the shelter's perspective, if he lets his intact dog have puppies that may end up in the system, he is part of the problem and therefore not a "good" owner.

 

I think you are right, and the shelter needs to be educated and be more open minded about what a "good" owner is. It still doesn't change the fact that the sweet 4 month old girl could have been in a great home with a great owner who is BC saavy and would have been a wonderful choice for that girl, and blanket policies that do little to solve the problem have prevented that.

 

I have talked to a lot of great dog people who have attempted to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter who have been deemed "not appropriate" for a whole host of stupid reasons (fences, children, other dogs being intact). It has turned those people off and they get dogs from other places and thats a loss. Rescue and shelter work is about the animals, and what is best for them, and I find that blanket policies at some shelters and rescues sometimes get so hung up on ideology that the goal is lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My family was turned down for a Border Collie rescue because we had land and cows and they were afraid the dog would get hurt. :blink: We have had herding dogs all my life (Catahoula, Aussie, Blue Heeler and Border Collies) and none of our dogs have ever been hurt and they have all lived long, happy lives. Our home would have been heaven for that dog.

 

This subject came up at dinner the other night and I actually know more loving dog owners who have been turned down than have actually been approved.

 

I appreciate the tough job that rescue organizations have and the good work that they do, but its a bit discouraging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind too that "no-kill" shelters have the luxury of turning away adopters and not having to euth, they just stop accepting animals. Open admission shelters often have looser rules because if they don't adopt an animal out it will mean euth. When you have the luxury of time then you can afford to be picky. That's one of the huuuuuge reasons that I prefer to support open admission shelters when it comes to adopting a dog from a shelter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...