Why won’t shelters and rescues let people adopt dogs?

In 2011 I wrote a post asking why some people were rejected when trying to adopt dogs from shelters or rescues. Later, I wrote a post on how to get a dog adoption application approved.

I read all the readers’ comments from those posts, and created two lists:

1. Reasons people said they were rejected from adopting a dog

2. Reasons people said they gave up on adopting a dog

I hope these lists will encourage shelter and rescue directors, employees and volunteers to loosen up their adoption procedures even just a little.

If someone has a positive experience with a rescue group, she will tell her friends. She will be more likely to donate and volunteer. She will be more likely to convince others to adopt. And when she is looking for another pet, she will be more likely to adopt again.

That being said, here were some of the responses:

Reasons people were rejected from adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue

They were college students

They were under age 25

They would be first-time dog owners

They were single and worked full time

The potential adopter worked 10-hour shifts

Both partners worked 9-5

Their commute to work was “too long”

They hadn’t decided whether or not they were going to have children

They had young children

They had young grandchildren

They owned indoor cats

They owned outdoor cats

They lived in an apartment

They did not own their home

They did not own a fenced yard

Their entire property was not fenced

They lived out of town

They lived out of the metro area

They lived out of the county

They lived out of state

They lived on a farm

Did not want to show proof of income by showing a tax return

They did not have a current veterinarian (because they were first-time dog owners)

They could not provide receipts for a full year’s supply of heartworm prevention medication

They chose not to give heartworm prevention meds in the winter months

The potential adopter did not give heartworm prevention to his senior dog dying of cancer

The potential adopter did not vaccinate a pet ferret for rabies

Current pets were not “up to date” on the kennel cough vaccine

Current dogs were not spayed/neutered because they were show dogs

Current dogs were not spayed/neutered for health reasons or because of old age

A show-quality cat was not spayed

Some were not given a reason at all – They just never heard back!

*Note: I would also be rejected for at least nine of these reasons if I tried to adopt from some of these places! How about you?

Reasons people gave up on adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue

The shelters and rescues did not respond to calls or emails

They sent in applications and never heard back

The adoption process was “demoralizing”

Shelter workers were rude or lacked basic customer service

The adoption fees were high (As high as $400!)

They could not meet any dogs until filling out an application

They could not meet any dogs until paying a $25 fee

They were not allowed to choose a dog themselves (the rescue got to decide)

Did not want to submit to a pre-adoption home visit

Did not want to submit to surprise home visits after the adoption

Did not want to give their social security numbers to the rescue

The application required an essay titled “A day in the life of your new dog”

Could not afford the required “holistic” dog food

Did not want to complete “multiple” interviews

Did not want to take the mandatory dog training class

Yep, some of those reasons would be enough to cause me to give up, too. Good grief! Craigslist dogs, anyone?

And how can we call it “pet overpopulation” when shelters and rescues are refusing to adopt out their dogs? Oh, that’s right! It’s because we have a marketing problem. Not an overpopulation problem.

What is the solution to this problem?

Black lab mix sleeping on his dog bed

98 thoughts on “Why won’t shelters and rescues let people adopt dogs?”

  1. I typically enjoy your articles and find them informative and well written. This article? not so much, and I have to voice my objections.
    Rescues have very real reasons for home visits, adoption fees and other pre-requisites. To suggest Craig’s list as an alternative to adopting from a reputable rescue is irresponsible at best. The adoption process can pose an obstacle or two, depending on the rescue you choose to work with, but it is designed to set adoptable dogs up for success in their potential new home. I suggest you look at a list of reasons why people surrender their pets in the first place. I am sure that the list will mirror many of the reasons listed on your “reject” list…”we both work, and no one is home for the dog…We had a baby…we cant afford the vet bills…we travel too much…my son/daughter is allergic…i have to move and can’t take her with me…my landlord said I can’t keep her…I got her as a gift but I can’t keep her in the dorm…she is old…we are divorced and neither of us can take her…the kids lost interest…oh, how is this one: I told my son(who is 5 years old) we can only have one pet and he chose to get a hampster, so we have to get rid of the dog…OMG!
    Solutions to the problem? Well, let’s start with spay and neuter. Bad mouthing rescues because they will not adopt the animals in their care out to anyone that walks through the door? That is far from helpful.
    And to suggest that: “If someone has a positive experience with a rescue group…She will be more likely to donate and volunteer.”Wow, I wish that were true!

      1. How’s this: “Do you have any Pugs puppies? My daughter is graduating from High School this spring and has always wanted a pug puppy so we want to get her one for graduation. One thing though…how long do they live because she is going away to college in the fall….”
        True story!

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          That’s an example of where more communication needs to happen. Were these people automatically rejected or were they interviewed? Perhaps they were planning on caring for the pug until their daughter finished college, and it would be reasonable to ask how long pugs normally live.

          I doubt someone really thought the pug would only live a couple months! And if so … well, then I agree they shouldn’t be adopting any dog!

          1. Communication? I interviewed them. They did not want to be responsible for the dog after their daughter left for school.
            Bottom line is not every applicant equals a good home. Rescues have to advocate for their dogs.

    1. Don’t paint all owners with the same brush. Someone who works all day may have surrendered a dog but that doesn’t mean that all owners who work all day will do the same. I work all day too. My dogs get an hour long offlead run in the morning before I go to work. They are left inside my house all day. My neighbours tell me the dogs are well behaved. I don’t come home to any damage or mess so I assume the dogs are content to sleep for most of the day – just as they do on the days when I am at home. In the evenings I do stuff with my dogs too.

      To put this in perspective, people have the right to have children whenever they wish. No one demands to see a record of their finances, a recommendation from their family doctor, asks how many hours they work, etc, etc, If anyone did they would be promptly and appropriately told to mind their own business. This still holds true when we know large numbers of children are abused and even murdered by their own parents.

      By all means promote responsible pet ownership. But the attitude of extreme distrust of all potential owners unless they produce a truckload of documentation to prove their case is not only offensive, it is also utterly ridiculous.

    2. Oh my gosh Mary-Jo, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you. Just this past weekend 4/13/13 I wrote the exact same thing on Craigs List under Pets. I was called the Dog Police, imagine that. I was looking to purchase some supplies for the local rescue. I was told I was judging. Really, judging to coming to a conclusion without knowing all the facts, this is called FACT when ppl post on Craigs List why they do not want their pet any longer. Thank you again. This gives me hope that there are still intelligent ppl left in this crazy world.

    3. I understand your comment. I have been working professionally in animal care for over 15 years. We also own our own home, with fully fenced in yard. I know dog CPR as well as basic vetting and first aide. I am an experienced behavioral trainer. I also have small children. We have been denied from 4 rescues so far. They should be thorough, but they need to loosen restrictions on a case by case basis. Its pretty awful considering how many never get forever homes due to not picking.

    4. Hi . I went yesterday to the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. For the first time in my LIFE, i was DENIED adoption of a kitten!!!! Why? Cuz i refuse to put my dogs on HEARTWORM MEDS!!!!!!

      Did they ask the vet how well cared for my animals seem? Nope. Did they notice how I carefully pet a scared pup being returned cuz it ran away from it’s previous owner? Nope. Did they notice how fast the dog FLINCHED when another person reached down to pet it, afraid it was going to be struck? Nope. Did they ask for references to confer with, to determine if my animals are cared for and loved? NOPE.

      SO infuriating and I woudl LOVE toknow where I can lodge a complaint….

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Hi Rebecca, that is frustrating. The good thing is there are many more reasonable shelters and rescues out there you can adopt from. Good luck!

    5. Dharma Dampier

      I’m sorry but I really liked this article. We have experienced the same ridiculous treatment as described in this article. It let us know that it wasn’t just us! Yes, some reasons for refusing adoption are common sense, but sometimes you don’t get a reason, and that isn’t right. I recently was told that the shelter owner was told by God to deny an application.

    6. I tried for over a year to adopt from a shelter. I filled out many many many many applications never received feedback other than to say the dog I was interested in had already been adopted. After this happened the last time I finally went on craigslist and find a puppy who was in dire need of a home. So in effect I saved the dog from euthanization or shelter life, but the frustration and effort I put into adopting, I won’t go through again. I also would not have been approved because I’m a single working mom. of course they don’t ask if I have daycare for my dogs all day or if I have someone coming to the home to care for them. I just had to give up on the process after repeated frustration and denial. I now have a puppy who’s loved, cared for, trained by us in puppy school, and spoiled each day. I wish it had been a dog from the shelter but their application process needs a lot of attention and change.

    7. 977279 i went to humane society last sunday. They said they will not let us have or even meet the dog because we dont have experience with dog. Where am we suppose to get experience with dog to get dog?

  2. We adopted our dog Sammy, a full blood doxie from a rescue. The reason why he and his sister were put up for adoption was that the couple got divorced and neither could take them. So not only did Sammy loose his parents, he lost his sister because they were seperated. Sammys a very clingy dog, perhaps for this reason, he’s afraid to be left again. I agree with MaryJo’s post. I used to work for a rescue and would perform refrence checks for them. Some of the things people wrote on their applications were scary.

  3. I think just listing rejection reasons is a little black and white and doing a huge disservice the vast majority of shelters and rescues that are trying to do the best they can.

    First time dog owner trying to adopt an older Lab with no behavior issues? That’s a crappy rejection reason. (But did it ever happen?)

    First time dog owner trying to adopt an reactive and fearful Rottweiler? Yeah, I think that’s a perfectly valid reason for rejection. Seriously, don’t you?

    1. They would t let me get a small chihuahua because I have a young kid in the home but u can adopt it to an older person with no kids and grandchildren will still be around ….. I call bullshit !!!

  4. I think a thorough application process is necessary and many of the points listed are warranted but losing adopters because they can’t choose their own dog or they must feed them only holistic food or they didn’t give heartworm meds to a dying dog is a little extreme. Just plain ridiculous really. We were fortunate enough to find a couple great dogs that fit our lifestyle and family. They were both adopted and I don’t believe they would fit with any other family than ours. It’s just too bad more people don’t take the time to consider not just the type of pet but breed, training, health, temperament, and lifestyle fit. Perhaps that’s where communication comes in between adoption organizations, breeders, pet stores, etc. and the adopter?
    And….I found amusement in your concluding quip regarding Craigslist. Which has a alot of great dogs up for adoption as well! We would probably resort to that if we had local rescue groups that rejected us because we work full time! Luckily we have some great organizations here with friendly and concerning staff that makes it easy for us to donate to annually and we would most definitely return in the future.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m glad you’ve had great experiences getting dogs from adoption organizations! Because of that, you’re able to spread the word and recommend these places to other potential adopters.

      I will definitely be considering Craigslist as an option, along with certain adoption organizations, when I am ready for my next dog.

      1. How do you know that when a puppy is put on Craig’s list that it’s not from a puppy mill. My neighbor just bought a puppy from Craig’s list for 60.00. It was part Rhodesian Ridgeback and Great Pyrenees. My neighbor had to meet this person for the exhange of money and puppy which I think is a little suspicious. I would want to see where my puppy came from….parents, conditions, etc.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          You can’t always be sure. I’d probably only adopt adult dogs off of Craigslist and talk with them on the phone first to get as much info as possible. Then meet the dog before agreeing to anything.

        2. Rebecca’s Paws and Claws rescue has you pay the transporter in cash or PayPal. You meet them at the parking lot of Petsmart and transact business like a drug deal in a movie. So, nonprofit rescues can be sketchy too.

  5. Thank you for posting this! I hope the rescues take a look at this and reconsider how strict they are about some of the ridiculousness they have going on. My husband and I (young professionals, have a house with a pool and a decent yard) were declined because: we both work full time, we have a pool, and we did not want to do the home visits/surprise home visits that were associated with the adoption.
    We ended up getting a pup from a breeder (gasp!) and at about 1 year old, she is perfectly socialized, gets plenty of exercise (7+ miles on the weekdays, hours of hiking on weekends), and gets mid day visits when needed (including all of her first 9 months). it kills me that many dogs are being denied great homes just because the adopter isn’t perfect.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Many rescues are doing a great job, but others need to find a better balance. Communication is key, and rescues are sometimes too quick to make judgments about people.

      You have one lucky dog! I know that!

    2. I know, right? I ended up paying $150 for a mixed breed puppy. She’s 4 years old now and has gone to the dog park every day of her life with me. We were rejected because we didn’t have a fenced yard. Don’t need one, my dog’s are always at my side…

    3. I totally agree with you. So by denying good homes to these precious animals, they continue to have to live in a shelter.

  6. My husband and I have three adopted dogs, all of which came with various issues (blindness, arthritis, severe anxiety). Two we adopted from a city shelter. We attempted to adopt another dog, a min-pin, from a rescue. We were denied because our border collie mix “would probably attack” another dog or “try to herd it”, and having two large dogs with toy dogs is not a good practice.

    I should add I train dogs and their owners part-time AND my border collie mix works with me as a helper dog, regardless of the dog’s size, and is a very gentle player. I offered to demonstrate my dog’s compatibility with smaller dogs by bringing a small dog with me to the rescue and having them observe her behavior, OR by sending them video of my dog playing well with other small, strange dogs, or by having them do whatever temperament test with her that they would prefer. All of these options were rejected, we were told it was their “procedure”. The dog we attempted to adopt is still “up for adoption” with the rescue, almost a year later.

    We adopted a half-blind min-pin from another rescue and he and the border collie get along fantastically. There has been no herding or aggression on either side. The rescue met our dogs and examined our certifications only.

    It makes me realize the ridiculous lengths some rescues want you to go through to adopt a dog. I’ve talked to many people in the course of my work that were turned off by excessive requirements – yet, they have a dog, are taking good care of it, and are engaging a dog trainer. Often, people have been turned off by interaction with ONE rescue and subsequently go buy a dog from a breeder.

    Absolutely rescues should screen for stupidity. I have no problems with having them fill out lengthy applications and undergo an interview with all family members involved. However, I feel that, unless there is cause for concern, making people jump through additional hoops is unnecessary and downright insulting at times. I get that rescues want to advocate for the animals in their care and I am not against that, but I think that someone in the rescue has to look at their policies and ask themselves honestly, “Would I want to go through this as a potential good-faith adopter?”

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Sounds like you havea really down to earth view on this issue. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

    2. I tried to adopt a companion for my other dog..Her playmate passed away from some unspecifed heart issue at 9 years of age..They had been together for years, and she was not happy alone..
      I have always had outside dogs..have nice doghouses up off the ground on pallets (to eliminate dampness), a carport cover over said doghouses, so they can lay in front of them if it rains all day, not just inside the doghouses…LARGE fenced yard..
      I have aways had larger, northern-type breed dogs..
      I was turned down by three rescues because they didn’t want the dog to be kept outside….and I understand if the dog originally was kept inside all it’s life, it would be difficult to adapt..and I certainly wouldn’t keep a dachshund or chinese crested or other short-haired breed outside..But they said that was their requirements, so..I too went with Craigslist….And I felt guilty about that, but, I tried,….

      1. You shouldn’t feel guilty. The expectations of the rescues you dealt with were unreasonable. Plenty of dogs have a good life and a good home, spending their time outdoors.

  7. When we adopted Molly, our blue weimaraner, she was looked at many times by others but because they had young children they couldn’t adopt her. She was put in a shelter because she could not get along with their ‘new baby’ Since we didn’t have any small children we were able to adopt her, that was 8 years ago, since then we have had a grandchild that she does wonderful with. I can see situations like this that they have to be careful for liability issues if something should happen to a child. Some of the other reason, ridiculous!

  8. Kaya come from a shelter and Norman came from Craigslist and I must admit it was very daunting and scary to adopt from the shelter and that is not nearly as strict as a rescue group. I thought for sure being a single self-employed renter would count me out. I think I lucked out when they did not do a home check because part of my fence is low. I understand why some of these questions are important, but they should not be such blanket statements. And at the end of the day, the things they “try” to avoid are impossible. Because when someone “all of a sudden” has to move and can’t bring the dog or decides they can’t have a dog with kids is too hard to predetermine from a simple question like “will you have kids soon?” or “where do you work?” Please change their minds all the time and dogs lose homes. There’s no stopping it. The other one that drives me crazy is when rescues won’t adopt 2 dogs of the same sex in the same home.

  9. Thank you for bringing the absurdity of strict adoption procedures to light. We recently adopted a puppy from Craigslist only after we contacted several rescue organizations that were out-of-state and wanted us to pay high travel fees to bring the pet locally, which would not ensure that we would actually get to keep the pet. It was only for a visit and home interview. But first we would need to undergo a long interview process complete with our life story and references.

    It is understandable that the rescue organizations want to prevent placing the pet in a home that will ultimately not care for the pet, but what is the alternative? Continuing the pet’s life in a kenneled facility? Isn’t it more important that the pet find a home, even if the circumstances aren’t entirely ideal? I suspect I would’ve been turned down after a home visit because we live in a small apartment. However, I take my dog down a three-mile wilderness trail DAILY. I also take her outside six times a day to play fetch and ball with her. She is getting more exercise than those dogs with large yards who are just “put outside” for their exercise needs.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I have known some dogs that have been in rescue for two to three years. How is that better than going home? I’m not sure.

  10. Adopt from the local kill shelter. The staff wants to actually find homes for the dogs.
    All of our dogs have been adopted from our local Humane Society.
    One of them was rejected by the local breed rescue because she was too old. We get along with her just fine.

  11. OMD! How shameful. I knew the process was tedious for me but many of these are even more ridiculous. I’d be careful of Craigslist, though. They have their own set of problems like charging high adoption fees without providing the services like spay and neuter and up-to-date shots. The solution? Some rescues need to ease up. I realize they want to make sure their dogs find good homes and don’t end up back in the shelter. But just because someone doesn’t meet all the criteria doesn’t mean they won’t make great pet owners.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      At least there are also some rescues and shelters out there with reasonable policies. We can support those groups, but I feel bad for the dogs that have to stay in the rescue system for years because of these policies.

  12. Obviously you have never worked with or for a rescue – nearly ALL of which are completely dependent upon donations, adoption fees and many volunteers reaching into their own pockets to support the animals in their care. Any idea what it costs to treat a dog for heartworm? Have it spayed/neutered and teeth cleaned? Treat demodectic mange? Bloat? Cherry eye? Pyometria? I think that should address the complaints about ‘exhorbitant’ adoption fees. As for application fees, those are typically applied towards the adoption, and generally can be tax-deductible. They help separate out the serious adopters and the ‘just looking’ people. We are volunteers, after all.

    I’ve been part of many rescue groups over the past twenty years, as a foster home, as an application screener/approver, completing home visits and interviews. Most of the dogs in rescue have been through enough – volunteers are trying their best to ensure that next placement will be the dog’s forever home. These dogs are usually throwaways from people who ‘don’t want to go through the screening process’ and instead buy from a backyard breeder.

    The last thing a rescue wants is a return – and many of the reasons on the list (I work long hours, I have small children, don’t own my home, no fenced yard, have other unaltered animals) account for a very high percentage of returns. If someone told you eating certain peanuts would give you a rash 60% of the time, but you could screen them before you ate them and reduce the risk to 8%, wouldn’t you seek out the peanuts with the lower risk?

    Certain purebreeds have traits which may make them unsuitable for some people, but they refuse to acknowledge that and buy from a backyard breeder. A good example of this was the popularity several years back of retired racing greyhounds (a breed which REQUIRES a fenced yard for very good reason). Folks who adopted these wonderful couch potatoes found themselves attracted to the tiny Italian Greyhound, wanting a ‘lap size’ version of their lovely, low-key, easily-housebroken, typically very-healthy retired racer.

    As the demand went up, so did the number of backyard breeders and puppymills. Except the IG is hard to housebreak, very busy, very demanding attention-wise and very delicate. What happened? A flood of IGs to rescue, many with genetic defects as a result of shit breeding, not to mention even MORE challenging housebreaking issues because they were used to living in filth at the mill or the backyard breeder’s place. So, if you don’t want to listen to what the breed rescue person is trying to tell you, then you probably shouldn’t have one.

    As others have mentioned, many city pounds, ASPCAs and Humane Societies do not have the home visit requirement or only minimal background checks, which scares the bejeezus out of me for the dogs, but, I understand the limitations of funding and volunteers. However, if you buy from a backyard breeder to avoid rescue’s questions, then you are part of the problem.

    As for ‘tests for people who have kids,’ kids can talk. They go to school, people see them and at least most of the time can identify abuse and neglect. A dog can be tossed into a backyard at the end of a chain with a muddy bowl of water, a bag of food ripped open and a crappy dog house and even if by some fluke the community has some sort of animal welfare officer, typically authorities can’t do a damn thing about it

    Rescues rarely have dogs in their care for ‘years,’ and those typically are the hard-to-place with medical issues or who are old. I fostered a Great Dane for 6 months because he had a significant allergy and skin issue which required medication and special food. In the six months I had him I had two applications, one from a woman bragged about how much money the family had and how well she took care of her beautiful arabian horse. However, she didn’t want to pay the $250 adoption fee “because they were a wonderful home and he is a special needs dog.” We had well more than that $250 into him for his neuter, the skin scrapings, shots, and medication and special shampoos to get his skin condition under control. Think I was going to hand him off to someone without careful screening? NO.

    I currently have four rescue dogs – an elderly boston terrier (rescue group had him for 7 months – we were the first application for him) a miniature poodle (in rescue for 8 months because ‘no one wants black ones,’) and two retired racing greyhounds – one who languished in rescue because he was very, very shy, and the other who was a bit of a troublemaker so had to go to a home very familiar with the breed. Even though I had glowing vet references and was well-known in the rescue community, I did not object to the home visits, because I know how important it is to know where the dogs the group is responsible for are going.

    1. @MB – Although I would never recommend purchasing a dog from a backyard breeder, I do know lots of people who have done so and have cared for their dogs for life. They are not part of the problem. None of their dogs have ended up in rescue.

      The holier than thou attitude of some folks in rescue is a big turn off. As for the comment about kids can talk – in order for that to be effective adults need to listen and take action. I know of plenty of incidents where the kids have talked and not been believed. The abuse has then continued. Dog care is being held to a ridiculously high standard by some people that doesn’t exist for other species. The Dog Nazis need to back off a bit.

      1. Yes, they ARE part of the problem because their purchases allow the BYB to continue doing what they are doing. The vast majority of dogs I’ve fostered and placed since volunteering for rescue were products of BYBs, because reputable breeders have a contract with their purchasers to return the dog to the breeder ONLY. When rescue gets a dog from a person who bought from a reputable breeder, we can usually find out who and they take the dog back.

        I’ll acknowledge there are rescuers who are holier than thou – and I agree that is a turnoff. However, I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to go buy a BYB dog.

        1. Since when do you have the right to dictate who shall breed and who shall not? Not all BYB produce lots of puppies. Some of them only have one or two litters from their bitch that is a well loved pet. I’ve known some whose puppies end up in the homes of friends and in the local neighbourhood as well loved pets. Those people have the right to breed and others have the right to buy those dogs. Their choices are none of your business. I’ve seen some better dogs come from those places than from some registered breeders I know.

          Ultimately, the person responsible for placing the dog in rescue is the owner. Yes, BYB breeders, puppy farmers and pet stores are more likely to place a dog without questioning the buyer. But there are also plenty of buyers who know the right things to say to a reputable breeder too and then they still get rid of the dog eventually. Most, if not all, reputable breeders eventually place a dog in the wrong home, no matter how careful they are.

          1. I’m on the side of the dogs. Period. THEY suffer when breeders refuse to be responsible for the puppies they bring into the world, while millions of great dogs are put down every.single.year, and while thousands of purebreds from BYBs fill rescues and shelters to overflowing. Their choices ARE my business when I, and others like me, reach into our pockets to subsidize and attempt to fix the misery they cause and refuse to be responsible for.

            Finally, as I mentioned – reputable breeders are not adding to the dogs flooding rescues, shelters and the like. Irresponsible BYBs making money off that “well loved pet” are. I never said a ‘registered breeder’ was better….many horrific mills are registered and supposedly inspected by USDA and/or AKC. I only referred to reputable breeders, and by that I mean a person who takes back any pup sold, anytime, for any reason. I have yet to meet a BYB who does that – most of the time they can’t be found. If they can, they refuse to take responsibility…and I have PLENTY of examples of that.

  13. Many pros and cons about adopting through shelters. I have a rescued, senior Rottweiler, but she came to me on her own when I was living on a farm. She had been dumped by someone, and had many behavioral and health issues. She’s doing great now, no longer afraid or timid. I think she was a breeder in a mill due to her initial behavior issues, scared of the wind, people, other dogs. After two years, she’s a different animal now, happy and calm.

    I do have to comment on referring folks to Craigslist though, as that is a KNOWN marketing place for puppy mill owners, and believe me, dogs that come out of that milieu are riddled with some of the most challenging health and behavioral problems that you’ll find anywhere. So please DO NOT support those who sell dogs or any other kind of pet through Craigslist! And don’t advise others to do so!

    All this being said, my neighbors adopted an adorable dachshund puppy from a shelter in Austin, TX., where I live, and they promptly tossed him into their backyard 24/7, did not get him vet care, heartworm meds, shelter to get out of the elements, or anything else that I could see. He is not fixed, either. I cut a hole in my fence so he could come over so I could make sure he had food, water and some company, and once had to cut a leather collar off him that he had grown out of (it was way too tight). I got a dog house off CL for free, gave it to them and discussed care of their dog with them, and they started taking a better care of him. He’s a great dog, really sweet. But I didn’t want to report them because I didn’t want to expose the dog to any possibility of being put down, as our city is not a no-kill. Anyway, we must have more lenient standards for adoption where I live, since these neighbors don’t seem to have a single clue about being responsible pet owners.

    I endorse vetting adopters in order to avoid situations like what I have experienced with my neighbors, but the reasons you cited in this article, and some of the reasons shared in the comments, seem absurd and quite counterproductive to the goal of reducing unwanted animal populations. Let’s hope a happy medium is found at most of the shelters in our country.

  14. Well – I would be rejected for 10 of those reasons……but I own 6 dogs, all of which are healthy and well looked after! I understand rescue agencies and shelters are doing what they feel is the best interest of the dog, but unfortunately in this day and age, most people work full time jobs. I make accommodations for my dogs during the day (I have a pet sitter that comes over) and ensure they are getting enough exercise and attention when I am home from work.

    Rescue agencies complain that they can’t find enough homes or fosters and shelters are killing healthy animals by the dozens on a daily basis because of overpopulation – I agree with you – maybe it’s time they look at their adoption processes and lighten up!

    I too tried to adopt a rescue dog who would have ended up in a great home as a pet and a sport prospect (and if it didn’t work out for dog sports – oh well – it still would have been my pet – I have 3 dogs that are retired and living comfortable lives as cheerleaders).

    1. sorry…..hit enter too soon…..

      I tried to rescue a dog and I called and called and called – and they never called back!!!! I filled out the application, provided references (including my Vet) and did my due diligence and never got a call back. I don’t know what happened with that dog (it was a JRT/ACD mix – would have been a difficult dog to place with your average dog owner because of the high energy), but they couldn’t take the time to call me back, so I got one of those “free to a good home” dogs off of Craigslist!

  15. @MB – Whilst your care for and generosity towards rescue dogs is admirable, at the end of the day it is your choice to spend your money on this issue. You have absolutely no right to dictate to the choices of others, nor to tell them how they shall spend their money.

    I also know of dogs from reputable breeders that have ended up in rescue. The breeders were never contacted when the owners wanted to surrender the dogs. Ultimately, it is the owner who places the dog in rescue. It is the easy way out. No need to make an effort to rehome it, get rid of it instantly and in some cases at least the rescue is geographically closer than the breeder. It would be nice if laws provided for compulsory microchipping of dogs and recording the owner’s name so that serial dumpers could be identified and prevented from owning another dog.

    1. When did I ‘dictate to the (sic) choices of others?’ I merely pointed out – accurately – that anyone who buys from BYBs, and any breeder who does not take responsibility for his/her pups are both big parts of the problem. I stand behind that comment.

      And you’re kind of arguing against yourself when you say ‘serial dumpers could be identified and prevented from owning another dog..’ that sounds suspiciously like ‘dictating… the choices of others.’

      1. No one has the right to be cruel to an animal. There’s a world of difference between buying a dog from a breeder of which you do not approve and giving it a good, forever home vs buying dogs on a whim and dumping them when the novelty wears off.

        1. Both buyers are contributing equally to the root problem, which is enabling an irresponsible breeder to remain in business, making money off a so-called ‘beloved pet,’ (most aren’t) while ignoring the thousands of great dogs, purebred and otherwise, who are put down every day in this country.

          1. So long as the buyer looks after the dog, they have the right to buy whatever dog they want. Their choice is none of your business. No one died and made you the boss. You’re free to buy the type of dog you want. Respect the same right of others. We all have different standards that we seek from a breeder and in a dog. That doesn’t make you right and everyone else who differs wrong.

  16. For the third (at least) time, I never said people couldn’t buy a dog from an irresponsible breeder. However, I DID say those who do are contributing to overflowing shelters and rescues, and I will add, the ruin of many previously healthy breeds. Italian greyhounds are a perfect example. So are chihuahuas.

    You don’t seem to want to acknowledge my words, which is fine, but your comments don’t really make any sense as a debate.

    1. Oh nonsense. Registered breeders are doing a fine job of ruining breeds all on their own with a high COI for generation after generation. They don’t need anyone’s help with that. All we have to do is leave the custody of every breed to the very people who consider themselves to be responsible breeders.

      Using your logic then we could say that people like yourself are contributing to the problem of overflowing shelters. You take all these unwanted dogs and make it oh so easy for people to get rid of their unwanted dogs with absolutely no consequences for their poor choices.

      1. You are the one who continually refers to ‘registered’ breeders, not me. For the second time, registered does not equal responsible. Some of the shittiest puppy mills and BYBs are ‘registered’ or have ‘akc registered’ pups.
        Here is my definition of a RESPONSIBLE breeder:
        (note nowhere do I use the words ‘registered’)
        –health tests for all breeding dogs, depending upon the breed (ex: OFA hip/penn hip certification for Great Danes & other hip dysplasia-prone breeds)
        –careful attention to lines for health
        –rare litters – and all sold on strict contracts for either spay/neuter or show (usually co-own unless it is someone they know and trust) if left intact AND all health testing done.
        –pup chipped before it leaves the breeders’
        –strict return policy for any age, any reason,any time
        I defy you to find a chihuahua with luxating patellas in a shelter that came from a breeder who does all of the above.

        I know several responsible breeders who do all this and more. They don’t make money on their pups, and if by some fluke they do end up in a shelter or rescue they are chipped for identification.

        As for your comment about my ‘logic,’ uh, no, I’m using the law of supply and demand. If the demand for BYB dogs went away, so would they, because they are in it for the money. Period.

        1. Strawman argument. Referring to registered breeders once is not “continually”.

          You are entitled to your views on what constitutes a responsible breeder. Not everyone agrees with you and they have a right to disagree.

          I’ve encountered plenty of BYBs who only own one bitch and only have 1 or 2 litters in that bitch’s lifetime – hardly in it for the money. They’re more likely to like their bitch and want a puppy from her. They will breed without even considering whether or not there is a market for the remainder of the litter. It’s also worth noting that a very large percentage of shelter dogs in my area are extremely fugly staffy crosses. No breeder who is in it for the money will waste their time breeding fugly dogs that no one wants. These dogs are more likely to be coming from pet owners of entire dogs who let their dogs wander. Lack of demand for these dogs isn’t stopping the breeding and these dogs are filling up our local shelters.

  17. Uh, it was twice. And as for the strawman argument comment, you’d probably better read the definition, since you have repeatedly misrepresented my position, alleging I’m claiming “the right to dictate who shall breed and who shall not,” inferring I decided “[someone] died and made [me] the boss; and alleging I “…dictate to the choices of others (sic): and “…tell them how they shall spend their money,” when what I am stating, and correctly, is that:

    –irresponsible breeders (including but not limited to puppy mills and backyard breeders) are filling up shelters and rescues. Run a petfinder search on any of the following purebreds:
    italian greyhounds
    shih tzu
    cocker spaniels
    silky terrier
    jack/parson russel terrier
    Better yet, go to National Mill Dog Rescue’s website and see even more of the carnage.

    “They will breed without even considering whether or not there is a market for the remainder of the litter.” So then what do they do with the leftovers? Thought so. Oh that’s right – they find a ‘wonderful home for it’ with the neighbors and walk away. Great.

  18. You clearly have dictated to the choices of others by casting judgement upon a breeder and a buyer you know nothing about, by claiming that the buyer was part of the problem. Buy the dog you want and let others do the same – as is their right.

    It is very rare to find purebreeds in my local shelters. When they arrive they don’t stay there for long. Shih Tzus are in high demand here too. Small white fluffies of all kinds are very popular and are quickly rehomed. Local shelters are largely filled with fugly combinations of crossbreeds, often combinations that don’t appear to have been considered in light of the parent breeds’ original purpose and behavioural characteristics.

    I have not suggested that the BYB who breeds rarely is a responsible breeder. I am merely responding to your incorrect assertion that all BYBs are in it for the money. The problem of high numbers of dumped dogs is a multi-faceted one and will never be solved. Everyone has the right to own a dog. Some people will continue to purchase them without considering whether or not the dog agrees with their lifestyle.

    You consider that a responsible breeder only breeds rarely. Lots of people turn to puppy farmers, pet stores and BYB because they don’t want to wait for a year or two or even longer to get their puppy. The waiting list for Westies in my area is around 5 years now. Small white fluffies are incredibly popular with local puppy farmers, in fact some of the largest in this area sell more small white fluffies than anything else. Demand for the services of puppy farmers and BYBs won’t decrease so long as responsible breeders are unable to keep up with demand.

    You place the blame for overfilled shelters solely on breeders. Yet as you correctly state, if the demand wasn’t present, the supply wouldn’t be either. Therefore a large portion of the blame must be attributed to the people who actually place the dogs in the shelters, and that is frequently the buyers/owners. The entire system is contingent upon their demand for dogs and they want them now.

    1. I did not place the blame for overfilled shelters ‘solely on breeders.’ I placed it on IRRESPONSIBLE breeders AND the people who buy from them. Big difference. Responsible breeders probably could keep up with the demand, but choose not to for the health and welfare of their pets. Shrugging your shoulders and continuing to defend an industry that is inherently cruel isn’t the right thing to do, either.

      Don’t know where you live, but I found 252 westies on petfinder, across the country from California to Pennsylvania…and that’s only the rescues and shelters who list there. I find it contradictory that someone who will buy a dog from a puppy farmer (probably more properly called a puppy mill) won’t go to a shelter because ‘they don’t know what they’re getting.’

      And not everyone has the right to own a dog – many abusers have lost that right.

      1. “I did not place the blame for overfilled shelters ‘solely on breeders.’ I placed it on IRRESPONSIBLE breeders AND the people who buy from them.”

        Irresponsible is subjective. Not everyone shares your views and what you cannot seem to acknowledge is that you passed judgement on a breeder and owner that you do not know. People who buy dogs and give them a good home for life are not the problem. They are not putting dogs in shelters.

        “Responsible breeders probably could keep up with the demand, but choose not to for the health and welfare of their pets.”

        That’s logical. In other words, they cannot keep up with the demand. Or perhaps you’re trying to say that anyone who cannot buy from a responsible breeder is an incompetent owner.

        Thank you for an enlightening conversation. You have done a great job in turning me and others away from rescue dogs because we really cannot be bothered putting up with dictatorial attitudes and prejudices like yours.

  19. Oh please..you and others like you have no intention of going the rescue route. You already exposed your prejudice by twisting words and ignoring logic. Continue being part of the problem… I believe in karma.

  20. This is one really good reason why shelters and Rescues screen the way we do:


  21. Mary-Jo……..I totally agree that Rescue groups need to do their due diligence in order to protect rescue animals from nut jobs like the guy you referenced in your link above, but I think the point that was trying to be made was that sometimes Rescue groups go overboard and good homes with loving people get excluded for asinine reasons.

    I am a good dog mom – I have six dogs (3 of whom are rescues; 5 of which are altered) and everyone of them is healthy (including my fourteen year old boy), happy, vaccinated and three are licensed (because where I live, 3 is the bylaw). I also have two cats (both are rescues) that have never seen the outdoors – they are NOT declawed, but live their lives inside, for their protection. They too are healthy and happy.

    My dogs live in the house; they sleep on my bed; they all have warm coats for the winter (to go outside a potty); and their food is more expensive than mine is every month. If I had to add up how much I have spent in vet bills in the past 15 years, it probably exceeds $35,000 (I had one dog who was epileptic and I spent over $10,000 on him in one year). They go to a Chiropractic DVM for adjustments, massage and receive specialty exercise/workout training (they are sport dogs). When I found a lump on my girlie Border Collie, she was immediately taken to the Vet to have it tested and removed. When my Cattle Dog came up lame, she immediately went to the Ortho Vet for exam. When one of my cats got very sick, he was rushed to Emergency and that bill ended up costing me $2,000.

    Based on the questions outlined above that some Rescues base their selection criteria on, I wouldn’t qualify for a dog and probably wouldn’t qualify for a cat either. Is that fair to me or an animal needing a home? I don’t think so.

    The point I am trying to make, is not everyone will fit into a Rescue Group’s pigeon hole as the perfect home, but yet they can offer a perfect home. Common sense needs to prevail.


  22. I agree with most of what the author has said. Two of out of my three dogs were from backyard breeders. In the sense they were family pets who accidentally bred, we purchased the two from friends, one is 15 weeks Pomeranian, the other a one year old yorkie. They are the best of friends. I tried rehoming a friends dog. But sadly it was riddled with anxiety problems and was not socialised properly as it was abused long long before. It didn’t want to be friends with my dogs, and it wasn’t working. When I tried with a shelter even with no fees, they made it extremely difficult for me to even phone them, every time I rang, it wasn’t suitable and they wouldn’t set a date in stone, for me to meet their rescues. Needless to say I didn’t get very far and ended up purchasing a puppy for my two dogs, through a friend. My three year old Pom, was bought from gumtree and we didn’t know the breeder, luckily she’s in good health but wasn’t very well socialised, and still is nervous with other dogs. I think if dogs are gonna be put to death everyday I’d rather see a dog go to a good home, even if it isn’t a forever home.

  23. Ps the dog I tried to rehome was returned to its original owner. if a person goes out of their way to buy essential items for the rescue, set up a safe area, researched. The breed or even the breeds in it genes and understands the dogs likes etc like it perfers a home without kids, or other dogs, etc, and they can offer the dog those promises, I say bloody give the dog a safe home. Realistically now if I was adopt a rescue it would have to be socialised with other dogs, or be a puppy. I find it easier training a puppy than I do trying to correct behavioural problems. That shelters scare you with.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yeah, it’s a strange system we have in place, that’s for sure. Hopefully things will begin to change for the better.

  24. I went to my local animal shelter to adopt a dog. I looked at all of them and fell in love with one. So I filled out the adoption papers for him. I was told they take a week to let you know. Well I’ve been waiting just over a week. I asked my three friends who I had to put for references if they were contacted yet, but they haven’t gotten a call yet! So I called the shelter, twice. Left a voice mail asking how the adoption process is going and that I’m really excited about adopting this wonderful dog and asked them to get back to me as soon as possible. Well that was five days ago. Still nothing, no call from them, not even an email! And my friends still haven’t heard from them!!
    I don’t want to end up going to the shelter and asking them whats going on and why are they not returning my calls and taking so long in letting me know. I want this dog! He’s still at the shelter.
    If they take any longer I’m just going to give up waiting and calling them and just get a puppy for free from someone who’s dog ended up getting pregnant by an unknown male dog.

    And the other thing is, they say that they have WAY to many dogs and cats at the shelter, that they have waiting lists and can’t take in any more. So why give a person who really wants to adopt a dog the run around?? I was told no one ever showed interest in this dog and that I was the only one who actually filled out a form and brought it in for him. So why make me wait a week and five days and not call and tell me whats taking so long?? I’d like to know whats going on so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time with this animal shelter!! And here I thought I was doing something wonderful by adopting a dog!

  25. Possible explanations for these reasons from someone who has volunteered in rescue for quite some time::

    They were college students – Lots of college students have been known to dump their dogs in a shelter when the school year ends because their parents won’t let them have a dog at home. Ask shelters near colleges how much their intake goes up in late May. Ask rescues how stressed they are by this overload because on top of that, adoptions always slow down in summer months. By far the best time to adopt a dog is June/July/August. Adopting then truly saves lives.

    They were under age 25 – Rescue may be looking for a more stable home for the dog they wanted because perhaps that dog has issues (emotional or medical).

    They would be first-time dog owners – The dog they applied for needs an experienced owner due to abuse it’s suffered in the past.

    They were single and worked full time – The dog is high energy and destructive if not exercised enough. Adopter may have refused to consider doggie daycare or a midday dog walker.

    The potential adopter worked 10-hour shifts – Similar to above.

    Both partners worked 9-5 – Similar to above.

    Their commute to work was “too long” – Similar to above.

    They hadn’t decided whether or not they were going to have children – The dog they wanted may not be good with children or may have resource guarding issues that make them unsuitable for being around children. Perhaps the dog they wanted was teased by a child before being dumped in a shelter and is now afraid of or stressed by children.

    They had young children – The dog they wanted may not be good with children or may have resource guarding issues that make them unsuitable for being around children. They may have wanted a tiny dog which could accidentally be harmed by a young child. Ask rescuers and shelters how many small dogs they’ve seen that were inadvertently injured by little kids….and then dumped because the owners couldn’t afford the vet care required to reset the bones or do surgery to save the dog’s life. Many a rescue has gotten a call from a shelter or vet with this very scenario asking if they can step up immediately or the dog will be killed by order of the owner or because the shelter doesn’t have the funds to pay several thousand dollars for the care of one dog.

    They had young grandchildren – The dog they wanted may not be good with children or may have resource guarding issues that make them unsuitable for being around children. They may have wanted a tiny dog which could accidentally be harmed by a young child.

    They owned indoor cats – Perhaps the dog they wanted would like to eat cats…prey drive.

    They owned outdoor cats – Perhaps the dog they wanted would like to eat cats…prey drive.

    They lived in an apartment – Perhaps the dog they wanted was an alert barker who would be annoying the neighbors who were retired/home during the day making noise. Or perhaps the landlord/leashing company didn’t allow pets.

    They did not own their home – Again, possible landlord issues.

    They did not own a fenced yard – Perhaps the dog they wanted was high energy or would want to chase/harm (prey drive) other animals. The fence could be a safety mechanism for other animals. The dog could need lots of exercise and let’s face reality here, nobody walks their dog every day 365 days a year for the dog’s entire life. Sometimes weather, work, family, life gets in the way. A fenced yard gives the dog a way to run and burn off energy.

    Their entire property was not fenced – What good is a partially fenced lot for keeping a dog contained?

    They lived out of town – Some rescues will only adopt within a certain distance to make it easier for them to retrieve a dog if an adoption fails.

    They lived out of the metro area – Same as above.

    They lived out of the county – Same as above.

    They lived out of state – Same as a bove.

    They lived on a farm – Same as above or the dog is not good at recall and will likely run off or the dog is not good with farm animals (some dogs are surrendered to rural shelters for killing chickens or goats).

    Did not want to show proof of income by showing a tax return – This one I would say is a bit over the top. It is important to know income level to know if an adopter can actually afford medical care for a dog over the course of it’s life, but asking for a tax return I think is a bit much.

    They did not have a current veterinarian (because they were first-time dog owners) – This one can be worked around by having a long discussion and educating first-time adopters, referring them to articles/websites, etc.

    They could not provide receipts for a full year’s supply of heartworm prevention medication – If this adopter lives in the south where heartworm is very prevalent and dogs are literally chained out and dying from it, I can see the rescue’s point here.

    They chose not to give heartworm prevention meds in the winter months – This one’s over the top for northern adopters but not southern. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes so if you live up north where it freezes often, it’s less of a concern. For southern owners, same response as question above.

    The potential adopter did not give heartworm prevention to his senior dog dying of cancer – Over the top. Cancer is likely to kill the dog before any new heartworm infestation would.

    The potential adopter did not vaccinate a pet ferret for rabies – Can’t say I’ve ever heard this one.

    Current pets were not “up to date” on the kennel cough vaccine – IMO this vaccine is like trying to vaccinate a human for the common cold and is probably a waste of money.

    Current dogs were not spayed/neutered because they were show dogs – Rescues are all about trying to cut down on overpopulation. Most will not adopt where there are unaltered pets in the home. Also of concern is an unaltered male could be aggressive to other males entering what he considers his territory. If you want a male and you have an unaltered male, forget about it. Bad idea.

    Current dogs were not spayed/neutered for health reasons or because of old age – If vet can provide medical reason, I don’t see this one as an obstacle to adoption.

    A show-quality cat was not spayed – There are SO many cats dying in shelters. FAR more than dogs. All cats should be spayed/neutered. Breeding any at this point is irresponsible and literally costs other cats their lives.

    1. “The dog could need lots of exercise and let’s face reality here, nobody walks their dog every day 365 days a year for the dog’s entire life. Sometimes weather, work, family, life gets in the way. A fenced yard gives the dog a way to run and burn off energy.”

      I disagree entirely with this statement! I walked my dog EVERY DAY (5 – 6 times a day because we lived in an apartment) 365 days a year, REGARDLESS of weather (except when I was on holiday without the dog which only happened 4 times in the whole 7 years I had him and for those times he was walked every day by the family members I left him with) even with a broken foot that I could BARELY walk on I still hobbled him out to pee and poop and I exercised him on my roof terrace and had a family member take him out for runs in the country at the weekends (which he was accustomed to and I didn’t want to deprive him of) for me until my foot healed! This just proves my point that people with gardens get LAZY about their dogs because they have the convenience of a garden!

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        I’m with you. My dog has never had a yard. It’s easy now that he’s a senior but when he was younger, I took him running every day and on lots of walks. And of course potty breaks on a leash 4 times a day or more. This was in North Dakota. Doesn’t get much colder than Fargo, N.D.

  26. I had a purebred working line border collie from a dog pound who lived with me in a 1 bed apartment in the city. He was never destructive, noisy or hyperactive and he was perfectly behaved and happy. He passed away 6 weeks ago so recently I looked into adopting another dog from a rescue.

    I was refused by the rescue because I don’t have a garden, I don’t have a large house and I work (part time). The puppy I was looking at was a collie-mix said to grow to around medium size. They said that collies need a lot of space (despite the puppy not actually being purebred, it is at most 1/4 rough collie NOT border collie). They offered me a small terrier cross instead after I had already told them I was explicitly NOT looking for a small dog and tried to push it on me after I said I did NOT like terrier types, and they basically implied with a house my size I could not adopt a medium sized dog or a herding or hunting breed or herding/hunting mix at all from them.

    If they have such unrealistic expectations they are NEVER going to home all the medium and large sized dogs because there simply AREN’T enough large houses with gardens for all of them. They’d prefer a dog lived in an OUTDOOR concrete cell with 6 – 7 other dogs, not enough beds to sleep on, with human contact (and cleaning of said cell) for only 1 hour a day, than go to a home where it would be left in alone but in comfort for only 5 hours 5 days a week (and in comfort means it can sleep on my bed and have the run of the flat once housebroken).

    Instead they’d prefer to wait until the “perfect” home comes along where presumably the dog will be allowed to run in and out of the garden as it pleases. What they don’t seem to realize is people with gardens tend to just leave the dog to it’s own devices because they don’t HAVE to take the dogs out for walks. They get lazy and the dog sits alone outside, not exercising (because it’s just the same boring garden he’s seen every day of his life) and maybe the dog gets walked once a day, maybe not. In addition, many people with large houses keep the dog confined to the downstairs part of the house, which is often no larger than my 1 bed flat. So the dog is living in the same interior space and only gets the added benefit to walk outside as needed to pee (with the downside of less walks around the neighbourhood where the dog would get the opportunity to meet other dogs, meet other people, see children, see cats, smell other dogs “calling cards” and leave their own etc).

    Yet they’ll adopt out a smaller dog to the same small apartment… why? Are they expecting that the smaller dog will run around and exercise itself in the apartment? Aside from the unrealistic aspect of this (dogs don’t exercise themselves) that SHOULDN’T be allowed anyway – dogs should behave calmly indoors and allowing a small dog to run riot is bad behaviour that should be seen in the same light as letting a LARGE dog run riot. Not to mention smaller dogs can’t hold their bladder as long as a large dog, are noisier on average and have a more annoying, shrill bark (at exactly the right frequency to REALLY annoy the neighbours – every complaint about a dog barking I’ve ever heard has been a small dog with a shrill bark).

    Then there’s the hypocrisy of allowing cats to be homed in apartments. Why should a cat not have access to the outdoors if a dog absolutely requires it? A dog can have a lead put on and go out for a walk – you can’t do that with most cats so housecats in apartments are living totally cut off from the outside world like prisoners and rescues think this is fine??? My cats when I lived in a house with a garden were ALWAYS outside. They only came in to eat and sleep (their own choice). Cats LOVE the outdoors arguably more than dogs do (cats are wilder in spirit than dogs who are more domesticated).

    Now the only option I am left with is to buy a dog even though I hate the idea of funding breeders when there are dogs in rescue (dogs I can’t adopt sadly), or privately adopt. Since the rescues will not cooperate, there will be one more dog in a tiny concrete cell than there needed to be. Since I will be buying, I will be getting a PUREBRED border collie, arguably MUCH harder and more work than a rough-collie mix would have been (but I’m not even allowed a medium sized mongrel because apparently even they need loads of space).

    I don’t mind doing the added work but I’m angry that a rescue would rather a dog languish in rescue for years waiting for a “perfect” home than go to a less than perfect but loving home >:(

    And there is a MASSIVE overpopulation problem here, dogs are killed by the tens of thousands in a single kill shelter each year and the no kill shelters are overflowing with dogs that have been in rescue for more than 3 years. Surely being in a 1 bed apartment is better than being in a concrete cell with little to no human contact?!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      So sorry to hear your dog died and I wish you the best in finding another dog. This group is obviously not the right place to get one. So frustrating, I know. I wish you the best in your search.

    2. I think it is also noteworthy to point out that dogs often get stolen out of gardens, That is the ideal tactic of some dog thieves. They watch a house, realize that the owner is completely irresponsible. They swoop in, take the dog and it is often never herd from again. It happens a lot more often then people realize. When my family had a dog we did not have a fence we would chain him outside and play with him or just let him enjoy the sunshine (oh the humanity), Most of the time he was inside with us. If he was outside we made shore we were always watching him. We were ether in the kitchen or we were playing with him. I loved my canine as if it was my child and i protected him as such. Most dogs have the mentality of a 2 or 3 year old human. Unless you have a dog that is naturally couscous they are often blissfully unaware of danger, If you would not let your toddler do something without supervision then you should not let your dog. that is the why i see it.
      I see a fenced in yard as a convenience not a necessity, Just because some people cant afford to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to fence in there yard is not grounds to judge that person unworthy of a pet. In America we have a right to the pursuit of happiness, In what ever form it takes. As long as you are not hurting anyone you have the right to do as you please. if a person whats a pet dog they are going to find one adopted or not. that is there right. I honestly think some shelters workers are guilty of violating peoples rights. A shelter workers personal opinions should not matter or factor into the adoption processes at all normally we call this behavior discriminatory and bigoted. They have there right to to give there talk about how they think you are making a mistake and offer there concerns and recommendations, but If the applicant has no history of animal abuse. There is no justifiable reason to deny them the pet of there choice.
      i am going to get real here for a second and it my make some people uncomfortable but it needs to say it, NOT ALL but some shelter workers and rescuers are actually animal hoarders. They overwhelm themselves with animals that they can not take care of and end up become abusive and cruel themselves. They cant stand the idea of parting with any animal no matter how qualified the adopter is. It fills them with anxiety, Not because they care but because the adopter will find out the dog was neglected and abused. that is the reason they try and scare people away with there outrageous standards. These people need help and I hope that they are brave enough to admit they have a problem and they find it. I know people will hate me for saying the truth but it must be said. people like this are often drawn to jobs in shelter work and rescue because it is a good cover for there problem. It is all about them and there insecurity. The animal dose not even factor into there concerns. that is the really sad part.
      We face the same problem with some foster parents and social workers, Horrors beyond compare are often covered up from within these programs themselves. It is the same in animal shelters. All you have to do is watch the news and read the paper to find proof of this.

  27. I think the biggest problem here. Is we need to use our common sense. I would love to live in a world where every dog had a home. But with shelters brimming, with animals what to do. We need clear guidelines. I have several family members as well as myself refused dogs for seemingly small reasons. I was refused because i live in a mobile home. fully gated beautiful area with a park close by. My daughter was refused because she was contracting at the time. Even though her partner was fully employed. And yet another relative was refused because she had a very sick older dog put to sleep 10 years earlier. Of course we have all moved on. I myself have two beautiful i dogs. One is now four and the other two. My daughter bought a bird and was given two unwanted kittens and they are all thriving. As for my other relative, and get this she is a partners with a breeder very responsible breeder.

    I can honestly say we all would have made wonderful owners being absolute animal lovers. And would have gone on to recommend adopting pets through shelters. Unfortunately we all now hesitate to approach a shelter.

    And in closing is it fair to these poor animals, to keep them in kennels when there are available homes. Because like my family if can offer a good home to an pet we will find another way. And of course that leads to another question.


  28. Pissed off dog lover

    This article is dead on. I’m about to post this link to a few “rescue” fb pages. I have a big home, fenced in yard, have successfully adopted and kept forever two other fur-babies but was just denied because my vaccination records for one of my dogs isn’t consistent enough for their standards. Never mind the evidence that we OVER vaccinate them nowadays or that I spoil my dogs for their entire lives. I’m so irate right now. I will never again donate to another shelter without putting THEM through the ringer first (just like they did for me). When I’m eventually forced to BUY a dog, and it seems I may, (because I am getting a dog despite their ridiculous refusal), I will post pictures of my healthy, happy dog on their site with the caption “This could’ve been one of your rescues! Keep up the “good” work!”

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with rescues and shelters. They are not all so bad but unfortunately enough do make it very difficult. Good luck in your search for a dog.

    2. I got screwed also. It’s a dishonest racket. Go to pet shop or breeder. No hassle. The rescue place wanted as much as a pet shop. It is all about money. I have had goo,d luck with petland 4 times.

  29. Did anyone ever consider that maybe some of these rescue places really don’t want to adopt out a dog and it could be for any of the following reasons:
    1. the foster parent is too attached but rescue wants to use the dog to get interest and donations
    2.the rescue place makes money using puppies so if they adopt them out they lose that magnet
    3.maybe they *churn* dogs back and forth between other rescues so it’s not obvious that dogs are not being adopted (because they deny everyone)

    It sure seems there is a strong incentive to NOT let a dog be adopted – guarantee that there is money behind that incentive

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I don’t think that is the case. I think they truly believe most people are not good enough homes.

      1. I got screwed also. It’s a dishonest racket. Go to pet shop or breeder. No hassle. The rescue place wanted as much as a pet shop. It is all about money. I have had goo,d luck with petland 4 times.

  30. I hate to say it, but I feel like I’ve been duped by a rescue group. I work from home and – due to severe social anxiety – never leave my house. I don’t drive even though I live in a rural area. My husband and I own our own home where we live with our two children who are both pre-teens.

    We adopted a husky seven years ago from a hoarder situation. She came to us a scared and shy dog. In the six years before her passing, she became my best friend and guardian angel. She would make me get out of the house and set goals for me to be more active. Together we helped each other get better. She passed away last year very suddenly, due to a stroke. Our family was heartbroken with her loss and we wanted to find a way to honor her memory. So I found a reputable rescue nearby that always had pictures of pups that needed homes and funds.

    While I was still grieving and knew it wouldn’t be smart to adopt right away, I began donating to them on a monthly basis. They had a white shepherd on their site that was adorable and had generated a lot of attention. He was a beautiful senior dog and I just knew he wouldn’t be available for long, but I also was still grieving. Fast forward a year, and the dog is still available. At first, I thought that maybe no one wanted a senior dog, but looking through the comments on his post, there were almost 100 people that claimed to have applied for him.

    Recently, I submitted my own application with an inquiry to see if he was available. The group contacted me back within a day to say that he was. A different lady called and interviewed me by phone and approved my application and told me that the foster of the dog would contact me and to let her know within 24 hours how it went. I started to think that all of the money I had donated was truly going to help these wonderful pets.

    Even though the woman I initially spoke to was very kind. I feel bad and more disheartened as each day goes by and the foster has not contacted me. If the foster family decided to keep the dog, there is no reason to keep his picture posted across the internet. I would be thrilled to find out that they had kept him, simply to know that he is in a good home, but what bothers me is the fact that the foster won’t even send a quick e-mail or make a quick phone call to tell me anything.

    I feel like this dog was just used as click bait and that this foster has never had any intention of adopting him out, yet still uses him to draw in donations. It makes me wary of donating to these rescues when I don’t know if the money is being used to actually help these dogs or to line someones pocket. This bothers me because I WANT to help. I WANT to adopt. I HAVE donated.

    If any rescuers or fosters read this, please know that I applaud your hard work in pulling these pups from varied situations where they need your help. At the same time, if really want to help them find your forever homes, then you do need to contact potential adopters. Most of us don’t care if we need to walk across hot coals to be approved, we simply want to do our part to help, but my not communicating, failing to update statuses, and flat out denying people without looking any deeper, you are only adding to the problem.

    To anyone out there in the same boat of waiting to be approved, I wish you the best of luck, but know that when you do find your pup or kitty, they will be well worth it.

  31. I just went to a rescue yesterday trying to adopt a dog. The lady there scoffed at me when I said I live in an apartment and would use a tie out for outside play. My apartment is a house split into 4 seperate units, with yard! The tie out has an auger on it and is for up to a 150lb dog at 28in long. She said they’re unreplyable. Yeah, that’s why I just told you I would be supervising the dog. After she ignored everything I said she made it clear she didn’t think an apartment would be a good fit. Seriously? I just explained this to you… anyway I’m in college, 21, apartment, didn’t put a vet down, haven’t owned pets as an adult. That’s clearly what I’m trying to do, isn’t it? I know when I call back in 2 days she will shred my application telling me I wouldn’t be a proper owner. At this point if that’s what happens I’m going to a breeder because apparently every college student is irrisponsible. Really? At least I’m there trying to get a degree to better my life. That should say something, but no all we do is drink every day and ignore our responsiblities. At least that’s how she made me feel.

  32. No wonder dogs cannot get homes. I will never try to rescue a dog again. Rescue owner yelled at me for not giving my dog heartworm
    I will continue to buy the dog I choose from pet store. I bought 3with no problem and took in 3 strays. All were between 12 to 17 years at death. I have had 2 dogs at a time. They are treated like kings and queens. Heart worm meds are a big financial gain for stores and vets . They have people scared. Read. What holistic vets say about overuse of heartworm meds. It has become a racket and part of American greed. The rescue place thinks I am a bad person. My dogs love their home and large fenced in yard. They love cuddling up on my bed!!!!! Eating the best food.going for car rides and taking walks. These rescue places are causing dogs to not have a wonderful home. They wanted $350 for a blind dog. They should be shut down. Buy the breed you want from a pet store. No hassles and they won’t yell at you.


  33. I know this is an old entry although people are still commenting. Just ran into this issue. I don’t mind the fees associated with the adoption although some do seem rather high. However, the rules they have are ridiculous. We have been denied because we don’t already have a dog in the house. Three of the dogs we inquired about and wanted to adopt need to have another older dog in the house or they won’t let you adopt. We have a fenced yard, a small pond (this was also an issue for one “rescue” place) and we live in a safe, gated community with a four acre park and little trails to walk on. If we’d have gotten one of these dogs, they would have received so much love and care! We spent lots of time choosing because we have a cat and had to choose dogs that were fine with cats. What a colossal waste of time. I will go to the local pound and I will not give a dime to these so-called rescue organizations. They are so full of themselves.

  34. I’ve been trying to adopt a dog for 9 months now, got denied every single time and every single place had a different excuse to why they would not adopt me the dog.

    One was my career choice, I race drones for living part time and I work for my father part time.

    They were afraid that the dog would get hurt by the Drone which is not true I take videos of dogs for families with my drones.

    Another rescue denied me a dog because they said I had to at least have three dogs under my belt? like seriously?

    Another rescue I went with a friend to go adopt a dog but I was waiting for my friend to show up and I did not want to wait in the lobby so I asked them is there a place to get a bite to eat around here and I’ll be back. Well my friend shows up later and this chubby employee that was rude to me to begin with told my friend that I asked him if they had dog food at 7-Eleven that I can use for treats?

    My friend said let’s get out of here this place is crazy like seriously I did not even say that to the guy I just asked him if there’s a good place to get a bite to eat because I was hungry.

    So he lied to my friend some of these people that they employ are straight-up nuts if you ask me I’m in California I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country but in California the people act like they don’t like working there at all they’re so rude and the experience is horrible.

    And another one asked me how much I have saved up for vet bills just in case something happens and I said I have a credit card

    They said no because of the possibility of it can get denied and your dog will not get care are you kidding me? If that were the case my family would definitely jump in until my credit card issues worth figured out if that would ever happen I mean some of the questions they ask is ridiculous no wonder why there’s an abundance of animals in shelters it’s hard to adopt.

    I still have not got my dog and I was looking for a puppy to get trained professionally as a service dog but I didn’t tell them that because who knows what they would have said then.

    But bums are walking down the street with three or four dogs that they can’t obviously afford that bills for but that’s okay this country is backwards.

    I want my dog but I don’t know what to do I can’t get one no matter where I go in my County. And yes I want to rescue from my County because I want to help a dog in need and some idiot in my County just let go.

    Very depressing a Year’s going to go by and I still won’t get my dog I have no idea what the real truth is to why they will not give me a dog I seriously doubt it’s any of the questions they asked it must be the way I look or something 🙁

    1. I would try Craigslist or newspaper classifieds. Find an individual who has to give up their dog for whatever reason.

      1. Thank you I will give that a try. I’ve never tried looking on Craigslist for a dog, I’ll definitely let you guys know how it goes.


  35. Rescues and shelters that are putting up such tough barriers to get a pet are going to shy people away for good.

    I’m getting to that point myself, it was easier to get a mortgage on my house.

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