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 Post subject: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Does anyone know much about dog rescue groups that post their available dogs on Pet Finder? We have been looking for a dog and we wanted to search more than just our local humane society.

We have found rescue groups on Pet Finder for specific breeds/ breed crosses, but how do you know if it is a scam, breeder, or actual rescue group? We like some of the dogs that this group lists, but there are some things that seem like red flags to me and I was wondering if those things are just normal rescue group procedures.

Here is a link to one of the dogs that we might be interested in:

http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/18216299

Here is more information about the group:

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/OR268.html

Here are the things that trouble me:

1. They won't answer questions about a particular dog until you have paid a $15 application fee. I don't mind paying a fee if that is how things work, but is that how things normally work? It seems like it might be some sort of scam?

2. This statement in their information: "We believe in rescue without borders that assists all dogs that need homes. We do not distinguish between dogs that come from pet stores, puppy mills or breeders and we do not discriminate against Pyr mixes. "

** Does that mean that I might be just buying a dog from a breeder/ puppy mill?

3. No where does it state what the adoption fee is. Is that normal?

My family has always gotten pets from the Humane Society so I have no idea how rescues work or how to tell if they are the real deal. I am hoping that someone on the ppk can offer some advice. Bonus points if you know anything about this particular organization!


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:50 pm 
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The $15 application fee isn't applicable to the adult dogs, which I found interesting. I would just call and ask my questions to the organization.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:03 pm 
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I would be hesitant personally. I know they may be small and need funds, but I've never heard of a rescue or shelter around here charging an application fee. It's really hard to tell much about a place just online because people can put up a pretty good front. I would try to find a phone number and see about going to meet the dog/s before applying and see what they say. If you are able to then it would tell you more about the place by seeing it. If they insist on meeting you somewhere to show you the dog that's something to be alert of (unless they are all in foster or something, then that's a different situation). My uncle had a dog breeding business (which I considered a puppy mill and has since been shut down...) and he would never let people come there, but always meet them somewhere so nobody could see the conditions. Just something to be aware of and keep an eye out for.

So yeah, I'd call and go from there. You can try to e-mail, but that's easily ignored, phones are way more direct of course. Good luck! Whatever the case may be have fun with your new pooch when you find the right one!

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 4:17 pm 
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I don’t know anything about this particular group but I did a quick search for you and they do appear to be a legitimate non-profit in that they file a 990. So I don’t think they are a scam.

They are based in New York so I don’t know exactly how they operate out of Portland- but it sounds like animals are in foster care all over the country and the reason that they can’t answer questions about a specific animal through the main office is that they would need to get in touch with the foster parents in Portland.

I have never heard of a group charging a fee to fill out an application but I do know that it can take a lot of time to thoroughly review an application especially given that in this case there is distance involved.

As for NOT mentioning the application fee-I don’t find this to be particularly helpful but I can’t say that it should necessarily be a red flag – though they should be able to tell you if ask you as them before you fill out an application.

Just looking at the site they appear to be very thorough and really want adopters to understand they are making a life time commitment to these animals. I know the group that I volunteer with is sometimes accused of being too picky about who they will let adopt our animals (we turn down 2/3 of the applications we get for cats and the number is higher for dogs)- but it’s a fine line to walk sometimes. (And really having reviewed applications in the past for another group- you would not believe some of the people who try to adopt animals. Maybe that’s why they charge an application fee- to discourage the nut cases and non-serious adopters).

And I have also seen first hand that if an adoption doesn’t “work out” it can be really traumatic for the animal even if the adopter has the good sense to return him/her to us-and not do something worse.

All that said-there are A LOT of animals out there who need good homes and if find a particular group to cumbersome or difficult to work with I would simply go elsewhere. In the end its your family and your money but more importantly adopting an animal should be a happy rewarding experience- not one cloaked in unanswered questions and doubt.

Hope that helps- good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Thank you for all the information! Mr. Zoey checked into it a bit more and the adoption fee was $350 + a $175 transport fee (even though we live in the town that the dog is in) so we decided that the dog is probably not a "rescue" dog because that seems like a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Zoey wrote:
Thank you for all the information! Mr. Zoey checked into it a bit more and the adoption fee was $350 + a $175 transport fee (even though we live in the town that the dog is in) so we decided that the dog is probably not a "rescue" dog because that seems like a lot.



The size of the fee though steep- does not necessarily mean that the dog isn't a "rescue".

Where I volunteer we charge $175 for cats and upwards of $200 for dogs.

If you were talking of $1000 + I might more be suspicious but really there is a huge amount of overhead to rescue and care for animals. And large dogs require alot of care and expense.

There is vet care, grooming, food, spay/neuter -which in of itself can be more than $200 for a large dog.

Rescues charge more than shelters because they are committed to providing care for the time that they may have an animal -
as opposed to a shelter which may euthanize in as little as 48 hours after intake. The reason shelters euthanize in the first place is because they can't afford care for the animals surrendered.

The only money a rescue group can really count on is the through the fees that they charge. They might get other donations but nothing they can rely on.

I do think the fee they want is a lot of money compared to a local shelter but that in itself is not an indication that they are not legit.

And Petfinder has helped millions of animals find homes over the years.

I just don't want you to have bad feelings about them or even this particular rescue because there IS alot of expense involved with animal rescue that people just don't realize.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:17 pm 
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I don't think it's a scam because I've seen some rescues that charge double that as their fee, but I understand not choosing those particular rescues.

Personally, when given the choice of a $70 pound puppy or a $500 rescue, we've always gone with the pound puppy. I feel for the rescues and understand they probably wouldn't do anything but good things with the money, but that fee on top of potential vet fees/food/toys is out of a lot of people's price range.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:28 pm 
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Fee wrote:
I don't think it's a scam because I've seen some rescues that charge double that as their fee, but I understand not choosing those particular rescues.

Personally, when given the choice of a $70 pound puppy or a $500 rescue, we've always gone with the pound puppy. I feel for the rescues and understand they probably wouldn't do anything but good things with the money, but that fee on top of potential vet fees/food/toys is out of a lot of people's price range.



I agree with you Fee- I personally wouldn't pay the kind of money either when I could go and adopt a puppy from animal control for alot less.

My only point was that Zoey had originally asked if Petfinder and some these rescues were scams and I just wanted to reassure her that while this place is charging a very high fee, that this does not mean they are buying the dogs from breeders or that the fees are even unreasonable given the costs involved with animal rescue - particularly when it comes to large dogs.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:53 am 
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SuzyHB wrote:
I agree with you Fee- I personally wouldn't pay the kind of money either when I could go and adopt a puppy from animal control for alot less.

My only point was that Zoey had originally asked if Petfinder and some these rescues were scams and I just wanted to reassure her that while this place is charging a very high fee, that this does not mean they are buying the dogs from breeders or that the fees are even unreasonable given the costs involved with animal rescue - particularly when it comes to large dogs.


Also for the OP, some rescues might charge more as was mentioned in fees, as some rescues they take in go far beyond just the basics: sterilization, vx's, deworming etc etc.. they take on cases that are racking up high vet bills - dogs with broken legs, dogs that need major surgery... and they'll adopt these dogs out for the same fee, or less or more than the others. Depends on the rescue.

And yes, going anywhere else other than an ethical breeder, that cute puppy or dog could be the product of a breeder or a mill, or your typical 'oops' accident - and then who knows where the parents were from!


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Thank you for the extra information. I just assumed that a higher adoption fee meant that it was more likely that the group is just selling puppies. I am not sure if we are going to follow up, we would definitely want to meet the dog before we filled out an application and I am not sure if they will let us. How can we know if the dog is a good match without meeting him/her?


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:18 pm 
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I've looked at yorkie rescues before (not recently, i'm not looking for a new dog), and their adoption fees were up to $300ish, the only dogs who were 'cheap' were really old ones. I imagine it goes to providing food to the foster homes and vet care and what not.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Like everyone else said, they have to cover vet bills, etc., but rescues also tend to charge more for more "adoptable" animals, like puppies or purebreds.

As for the concern about puppy mills, it looks like they're just wanting you to be aware that some of the rescues may have been rescued from puppy mills, not that you're buying a dog from one, necessarily. It's not uncommon for rescue groups to get dogs out of puppy mills.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:47 pm 
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creep wrote:

As for the concern about puppy mills, it looks like they're just wanting you to be aware that some of the rescues may have been rescued from puppy mills, not that you're buying a dog from one, necessarily. It's not uncommon for rescue groups to get dogs out of puppy mills.



Okay, I read their description to mean that they would help puppy mills sell their dogs if they were the right breed. It didn't occur to me that they meant puppies that were rescued from a puppy mill.


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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:37 pm 
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I can't speak to every rescue out there- but my understanding is that they way puppy mill dogs usually wind up in breed-specific rescues is: either someone buys a dog, and decides that they don't want it anymore and surrenders it to a shelter or rescue; or if a dog is "unsellable" for whatever reason and the puppy mill wants to get rid for a lower cost of it because they cannot get full price for it.

There are also rescuers who also comb animal control and shelters looking specifically for dogs or a particular breed to save from euthanization. And there are even some animal control folks out there who actually call a breed rescue to try and save a surrendered dog if they think a rescue might take him.

Again I can't speak to every group out there but I don't see how a rescue would be able to sustain itself if they regularly went out and bought directly from puppy mills and then adopted the dogs out.

There are just too many expenses and given the lengthy application process, shortage of foster homes, vet costs etc. I can’t say with certainty that it’s never done but it does not a tremendous of economic sense. Even if the rescue is operating as a 501 ( c ) 3 which means that are not supposed to be making a large profit- I think that they would bankrupt themselves pretty fast.

To answer your question about finding a good match- that’s actually one of the advantages of going to a rescue over go through your local pound.

Especially if the dog has been in foster care- the foster families should know the dogs personality very well.

They should also know if specific dog is good with children and other animals which if I am not mistaken is a concern of yours. I would hope that they would allow you to talk to the foster family via phone before you commit such a huge amount of money. I would want to if I was in your shoes.

But most of these places are dedicated to finding good and forever homes for their animals. And the foster families want more than anyone for things to work out. If they don’t think you would be a good match you most likely would not be approved.

If you have more questions you can definitely feel free to PM me. Again I don’t know much about this specific group but I have been working with rescues, rescuers’, shelters and animal control agencies for many years and I do know who things are generally done.

Good luck Zoey!

SuzyHB

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Puppy mill dogs might also be the dogs who were shooting out the puppies. One of my father-in-laws dogs was kept in a cage and bred for a few years before they spit her out to the pound/shelter.

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 Post subject: Re: Pet finder and rescues?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Update:

With all this information I decided to just call and see if I could get the scoop. The person that I talked to had me on the phone for about 30 minutes which was great! It sounds like they are partnered with a group in Texas and that in Texas they are overflowing with this particular breed. So every so often, they bring a bunch of dogs that are from Texas shelters (or would be in shelters) up to Oregon for adoption. She said that 80% of the dogs get adopted here just based on the picture because people want a certain breed and they love the picture. The other 20% you can meet before paying the adoption fee once they are here. I got some more information about the particular dog(s) that I am interested in so that was good. I don't think it is a scam anymore so that is good too.

I have also started going to the local rescues around town and meeting lots of dogs and puppies. I am the kind of person that can go look at dogs and puppies all day and not come home with anyone unless it is the right fit. It took me about 5 years to find my cat!

The rescue adoption fees are all pretty comparable and now that I see how much work they do and how dedicated the volunteers are I can feel good about supporting a small group like that. I had no idea that there were so many groups because we have only been looking at the Humane Society for the past year or so.

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has responded here because I have learned so much and broadened my search.


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