Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rescue Gone Amuck?

UPDATE: I received a call from Dan Irish yesterday (10/28/15), saying there is more to this story... an alternative account. As I stated when I first saw and commented on this story, there is a lot of silly stuff that happens in rescue. Many times, you really can't know the inside story unless you know the people involved. And the public, folks like me, can only know what the press reports. My opinions can only be formed by what is known. Yet, even the first article left me, and I'm sure the readers of the paper, with a lot of unanswered questions. Things didn't add up, and I could see that reading between the lines.

There is a second report, by Scott Anderson in the Amador Ledger Dispatch, entitled "Haunted by 'Rescue'", on 06/20/2012. You SHOULD read this account.

"Yet, as the longtime dog behaviorist stood in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Martell and waved goodbye to Buddy, something caught his attention - the woman's car had no license plates. Suspicious, Irish quickly attempted to call the phone number she'd left him. It was fake. He looked into the address she had given. It didn't exist. Irish was overtaken by a horrible feeling. Several hours later Buddy was dead - euthanized by an active member of Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue, a nonprofit organization that claims to save dogs."

I don't know the parties involved, didn't witness the events. But in all fairness, now that I know there are two sides to this story, I feel it is important for my readers to see both and then do their own research and form their own opinions. Further, if you wish more information, please contact the parties involved, including the papers and the reporters.

My opinion is still the same: Once again, another rescue mess.


Dog rescue volunteer Jill Morgan has received death threats and angry e-mail messages, and her property has been damaged, she says in retribution to her controversial call to euthanize a golden retriever she deemed too aggressive for society. Morgan, who has rescued and placed hundreds of dogs for eight years, in October answered an ad on for a dog she previously handled and knew had aggression problems toward other dogs. She gave a false name to adopt him and had him euthanized. The dog initially was rescued by Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue, where Morgan volunteers, and was adopted out to dog trainer Dan Irish after a number of failed attempts to modify the dog's behavior. Irish, of West Point, said he rehabilitated the dog and then put him online for re-adoption, violating his agreement with the rescue group to keep the dog. According to Irish, he made no such threats but did call her foul names when he learned she falsely represented another group to gain access into his facility for an investigation... officers went to his home one time more than five years ago because he exceeded the limit of dogs on his property. Irish, who last week said he has 10 dogs, is allowed only three dogs and four cats because he doesn't have a kennel license.

What a bunch of silliness! I have worked with rescue groups for years, and sometimes the members will do some pretty stupid things. Sigh, the stories I could tell... and don't because there's no reason to get sued for libel and slander... questionable dogs adopted out; money spent foolishly on dogs that were too old and too sick and should have been put down; inter-organizational squabbles; people overstepping their authority on behalf of the organizations and costing them tens of thousands of dollars; people who shouldn't be rescuing dogs at all setting up their own private shelters, oftentimes severely underfunded and therefore inflicting more abuse upon the dogs in their care; people with mental problems adopting dogs that should be put down; and on and on.

This story doesn't surprise me at all. My opinion of what happened here? First, the adoptee apparently had an agreement with the rescue group to keep the dog and not give it to someone else. Second, the organization could have enforced this agreement. Third, dogs that are dangerous to other dogs don't need to be put down, they can be managed in a variety of ways by people. Forth, you don't go and play James Bond, put a fake name on an application and then put a dog down outside the authority of the organization you apparently represent... looks bad, puts them in a liability conundrum, its got to be some kind of fraudulent thing, and lying is just plain wrong. Fifth, this trainer, if he did what they say, and if there was an agreement to keep the dog, was wrong to not just turn the dog back to the rescue organzation if he had fixed the dog. If there was no agreement, and he had fixed the dog, then he had every right to give it to another person. And if he hadn't fixed the dog, then something is wrong with this situation... and I'd like to know his reasoning for doing what he did. Apparently a lot of assumptions were made by everyone involved, and no one apparently just talked to one another before all this happened. Sixth, wasn't there another way? Did the rescue group do a good job of evaluating and placing this dog? And seventh... death threats? Who is nutty enough to issue death threats to others? This takes things to the level of a felony, most likely, and none of this is worth that.

My suggestions? These don't seem to be the right people to be involved in rescue or adoption. Time for a top to bottom re-evaluation by this rescue group of what they are doing, their procedures, and so forth. There is no way I'd want to be contributing to any organization with these types of problems.

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