Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Take On The Ellen DeGeneres Adoption Story

Should Ellen DeGeneres have been put through the meat grinder over her placement of her adopted dog with someone else? I really don't think so.

Most rescue people I've worked with aren't so rigid in how they place the dogs. They are typically volunteers whose main purpose is to find a good home for the dogs they rescue.

I think this thing with Ellen DeGeneres is more the exception than the rule. See: How common is Ellen's 'Iggygate' scenario?

And the fact is you have a lot of options when it comes to adoption. You can get the same type of dog, same breed, from a variety of organizations. So, if you don't like working with one group, switch to another. Some are super rigid, some aren't, in their philosophy on dog adoption.

Many are afraid of being sued if the dog injures someone... that is a lot of why the rules are so tight. No one talks about that, but it is a fact. Rescue is full of armchair lawyers who see risk and lawsuits behind everything. They are so afraid of complaints that they do stupid things with the dogs, and over-regulate the adoption process. Further, many become little political kingdoms where personalities use rules and procedures to make themselves feel important, to the detriment of the dogs and the other people involved. That is why rescue groups form and fall apart every year. Money is wasted, goodwill of donors and rescue volunteers is wasted, dogs are needlessly put down because of stupid policies, and good homes are eliminated from consideration for irrational reasons.

Postscript: So, Ellen... don't get a dog without reading and abiding by the rules of the rescue organizations you go to. You blew it, and you brought some of this on yourself. A contract is a contract is a contract. To Rescue Groups: maybe it is time to organize an advisory group and adopt a model adoption contract, dog evaluation procedures, group liability insurance protections, and organizational bylaws. You could get professional lawyers to help you draft up the agreement and look at your bylaws and policies, vets and dog trainers to help with evaluation procedures, and so on. AKC... it is time to get involved in this.

Hat Tip to for staying on this story.

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