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Week Five:
September 28, 1998 - October 2, 1998

Working with Shelters

Day Three

Subject: CLASS:Yes I am an officer.
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 08:28:52 -0700
From: Mary Beam - beam@erinet.com

In our county the shelters will not work with the rescues. If they know or suspect you are with rescue they will not let you take a dog out. They also refused the donation of a micro chip reader, using the excuse that it would encourage people to micro chip rather than buy license tags for the dogs.

Greene County, the one next to ours, does work happily with rescue. They are wonderful people and have called me when they had a TFT brought in that they would have had to put down if it had been left with them.

This was due to the dog having a corn allergy which caused sores and bare patches all over the little guy's face.

We performed a successful rescue with the consent of the owner and the dog is now in a loving, caring home.

How does one do rescue work when the shelters won't co-operate?


Mary, and The Foxes

Subject: Re: CLASS: Yes I am an Officer/Gone to the beach
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 09:25:39 -0500

This is what's posted on the wall in my office by Diane W. Lecrone:

Gone to the Beach

I drove on out to the shelter today
to purchase some Science Diet,
I saw no cars in the parking lot
and it was amazingly quiet.

I stepped from my car and,
with the door within reach
I read the scribbled note which said,
"Gone to the Beach."

The handwritten note was
from all the staff.
And as I read further,
I just had to laugh.

Since all owners of pets
had them neutered or spayed,
This day that we'd dreamed of
and hoped for and prayed,

Has finally come,
so I stepped inside.
The cages were empty
the gates opened wide.

The goal had been reached,
all the pets had a home.
No more cruelty to see
no more strays on the roam.

Literally jumping for joy
and letting out a scream,
I started myself
From this wonderful dream.

So it wasn't true,
but it's not too late
If your pet's not sterile ---
call the vet, set a date.

If we all do our part
by stopping the chain,
of carelessly breeding,
then hope will remain.

For the shelter staff would
be truly overjoyed,
on the day they can say
we are unemployed.

Paula Page

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 09:56:17 -0400
From: Elizabeth Sommers - ESOMMERS@COURTS.STATE.NY.US

BTW, when this shelter does put a dog up for adoption, they won't release to rescue (unless rescue adopts) until 3 weeks after they've put the dog up for adoption. If it hasn't been adopted in 3 weeks, they will release it to rescue. So they do keep the highly adoptable dogs for themselves, but frankly, I'm not screaming about it. I've got my hands full as it is. I offer support and advice to all those adopting corgis though.

Similar situation here -- we go to the shelter weekly and put a "hold" on any dog that we will take into our program. When that dog's time is up - and the time varies - they call us and usually we have at least 24 hours to get him or her. When there is a health problem, a very elderly dog, or on one occasion a mama just about to give birth, they will release to us immediately.

As the other writer said, I'm not screaming about having to wait -- we are just so full. I *wish* I knew all those Golden mixes leaving the shelter were truly going to be spayed or neutered, but we're working on that.

The one thing that *is* a problem is when they get a purebred who is unaltered. There are too many puppy mills in these here hills for that to be anything but frightening (and no, they don't need a dog with papers -- just *a* dog and *a* set of papers). We don't often get purebred Goldens, but just this week we paid full adoption fee to get a young, unneutered male out before one of our local "businessmen" saw him.

So -- question. The shelter we work with does not do their own spay/neuter, but they give Ag&Mkt. certificates for low-cost s/n. They are in favor of s/n, they promote it, they dream of having the facility to do it themselves, but at the moment they don't. How can we convince them to at least treat the unaltered purebreds differently -- the possiblity being considered is convincing the shelter to make the adopter wait three days to pick up the dog while the s/n is acomplished? Do you know any shelters that have such a policy and does it work?

Betsy Sommers
(Golden Retriever rescue, Albany, NY)

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 13:04:20 -0700
From: Karen Mayer - rottlover@SYSPAC.COM

I had not had much success working with the Mesa animal shelter until fairly recently. I'd been going there two to four times a week to check on rotties and the same people who were there every day didn't show any signs that they recognized me or that I was any different from the average Joan that walked in there, even after I told them each that I was a rescuer, and had applied for their New Hope program (which I've never gotten a response from).

Then, a few months ago, out of the clear blue, I got a call from a guy who worked there. His job was in public education, esp. with kids. He asked whether there was anything he could do for me! I was so taken aback, I didn't know what to say :-) Since then, he calls every few weeks to check to see if he can be of help, and last time he called, he offered to give me (and did give me) a whole case of the packets the shelter gives out to new adopters, which includes treats, stain remover, and a dog food sample. I've given them to new adopters, and it's really nice to be able to hand them something extra -- not just the "keys to the dog" (leash).

One lady at the shelter has started to recognize me and has been more friendly and courteous and helpful. It's a start, and with the helpful advice of the folks on this list, I'm sure we can improve our relationship even more! Interestingly, the guys in the back, the ACOs who deal directly with the animals, are the nicest. They obviously love dogs and when I take new dogs to them for their rabies shots, they are always delighted to see the rotties, and give them a lot of attention. (You should have seen them fawn over Destiny, my 3-legged rescue -- they all *gathered* around to pet and love on her! LOL!)

Karen Mayer - Mesa, AZ - rottlover@syspac.com
Be Someone's Hero Today
Save a life, make a friend
Phoenix Area Rottweiler Rescue

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 21:06:25 -0400
From: Deborah Orpen - DeborahOrpen@COMPUSERVE.COM

My experience with shelters and most personnel has been great, probably because they were spunky enough to contact national rescue after the local club's 'rescue' people just outright said no or told them to contact the breeder when papers were available and got a Yes! we'll help all we can! response instead. One club member told me outright that they don't take owner surrenders and shelter dogs and I won't get into her exact words :-(... IMO, that is not rescue so I align myself for reasons obvious with the national rescue program as they are active and caring.

To overcome any possible suspicion for lack of a better word, when I deal with shelters I provide my personal information and references so that they may contact the other shelters' personnel I have dealt with in the past. I send a thank you note and update and pics of the adoption. Depending on the shelter, I have had to pay adoption fees, some no fee, and most will arrange extra tests, shots or spay/neuter at my expense and they seem to appreciate the effort on my part as a volunteer. I never forget they have the hardest job of all and I let them know how I feel. In a small way, it helps to say we're on the same side because we are (or should be!).

Deb Orpen
GSP Rescue volunteer
Pittsburgh PA

Subject: Re: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 21:06:19 -0400
From: Deborah Orpen - DeborahOrpen@COMPUSERVE.COM

This is a class question.

From my previous post, I mention an apathetic local rescue group. I can deal with that as IMHO some people wish to be rescue PC and that eventually becomes generally known as just unhelpful in the rescue effort. However, what about true rescue imposters who have ulterior motives? How does one recognize the pattern, prove it and expose the issue broadly and legally? IOW, I am assuming they are the reason some shelters balk at rescue groups? If I am wrong, please correct me. If that's not the case, how can we help make all shelters rescue-friendly.

Deb Orpen
GSP Rescue volunteer
Pittsburgh PA

Subject: CLASS: working with shelters
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 1998 18:27:37 +0000
From: Pam Bishop - dobra@pe.net

One thing that is really important is to always return a call from a shelter immediately. If they call you, they need to know if you are or are not coming to get the dog. Time is important. NEVER say you will come then not do it. Be honest. If you are full and have no place to put the dog, tell them that you really appreciate their call and wish you could help but that you, like them, are overwhelmed with animals and don't have any place to put the dog. Ask how long the dog has. Tell them that if a place opens you will call immediately and do it. Don't tell them what you "think" they might want to hear. The fastest way to turn off a shelter to rescue is to not return phone calls.

Or....as bad, say you are coming to pick up a dog and not do it. That's even worse. Many shelters today will not hold a dog even as you drive to the shelter to pick it up. Here in So. Calif. only a few that know me and know I'm dependable will hold a dog for me. Even if I'm driving 60-100 miles to pick it up. I now have a cell phone and ask them to at least call me on the road if they adopt it out while I'm driving there. And this is because someone didn't show up when promised and we all pay for it now.

Please remember how the shelter feels. If they call you, consider it an emergency and call right back. If you say you are coming to get a dog, be there when you said you would be. So important....

Fox Terrier Rescue

End of Day Three

Day Four

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