Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Turnaround: "Shelter Dogs" Now In Short Supply

Some parts of the country have a shortage of rescued
dogs available for adoption. But this silver lining
has a potentially dangerous cloud.  
Here's some good news/bad news: Shelter dogs are now the new Hot Thing.  

As National Public Radio reports, the demand for dogs now outstrips the supply of those available for adoption in many states.

That means more people are adopting shelter dogs.

Instead of being euthanized, most of these dogs that were abandoned or lost their previous human companions are getting new homes and new lives.

Rescue organizations should take a lot of credit for this. They're good at social media, and they routinely release YouTube videos, post news of successful rescues on Twitter, Facebook,  Instagram and other sites, and raise funds to do their pet adoption work.

So it's a good thing right?

Well yes, but.......

However, humans, being what they are, are both good and bad. The generosity of people who take dogs into their homes is one of the wonderful things people do.

But there's always money to be made from shortages. That's where the potential bad people come in.

Many rescue groups search far and wide, including overseas, to obtain dogs for adoption. That's not necessarily a bad thing. A Russian or Iraqi dog deserves a good life as much as an American Fido does.

But what if you get unethical traffickers? People who kidnap dogs from happy homes in other countries and bring them here.

The NPR story doesn't really get into that aspect of trafficking.  However, there's a mad rush to bring dogs to the United States for adoption. Some of these dogs might be sick or worse.

Some of the dogs coming from other countries turn out to have rabies. Patti Strand, Director of the National Animal Interest Alliance, told NPR:

"We've had a dog with rabies come in from Iraq. One came in from India, another from Thailand. We've had a dog from Puerto Rico that wound up in a shelter in Massachusetts with rabies."

Plus, a Vermont family reportedly ended up with a rescue puppy in 2013 that had rabies. The dog was euthanized, and I'm sure the experience was traumatizing for the family. At least the situation was caught in time before any family members got sick and died.

Also, some organizations place dangerous dogs, ones with serious behaviorial issues, ones that bite and attack, with unsuspecting families.

Many of iffy dog adoption organizations are not necessarily evil, just irresponsible, cynical, ignorant and naive, says the National Animal Interest Alliance:

Strand writes on her organization's Web site:

"For some shelters, saving a dog's life has become a bigger priority than protecting the public from sick or dangerous dogs. Whether they misapply the no-kill shelter philosophy, try to achieve ever higher live-release rates or are simply ignorant about dog behavior, a growing number of these shelters place dangerous dogs with adopters."

Some leading mainstream shelters and rescue organizations are speaking out against irresponsible actors, Strand said, which is good news. Some state governments are also looking at tightening laws to ensure dogs from out of state and overseas are subject to stringent health examinations and registrations.

I guess all this is just another example among a zillion that every silver lining has a cloud, and every cloud has a silver lining.

Just go hug your dog friend today, OK?

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