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Steve

Pet Rescue Pound Dog Campaign

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Steve   

Im curious to know what you guys think of the Pet rescue campaign to place animals straight from pounds.

I know part of the blurb is that without this saving animals is not sustainable and more will die but it worries me a tad and I don't agree that this was the best answer.

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tdierikx   

Before the advent of organised rescue, that's exactly how it was done... *grin*

In all seriousness though... there are good and bad rescues, and basically with some, you'd be better off adopting an unknown straight from a pound...

T.

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Before the advent of organised rescue, that's exactly how it was done... *grin*

In all seriousness though... there are good and bad rescues, and basically with some, you'd be better off adopting an unknown straight from a pound...

T.

There is no black or white answer, sadly.

I volunteered (walking) in a small pound for several years a long time ago. The dogs were adopted straight from the pound. Some were matches made in heaven, very occasionally a dog might be returned .... and every situation in between.

Typing this has brought back a memory. One morning in the park there was a young man walking two dogs off the lead. I said to one of the other walkers, "Isn't that Amber?" The man heard me and said that he had adopted Amber a couple of days ago. Naturally I thought he was being irresponsible and putting the dogs in danger, but I didn't say anything. I just marvelled at how obedient Amber was and after such a short time she was sticking to him like glue, whilst enjoying herself immensely.

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Im curious to know what you guys think of the Pet rescue campaign to place animals straight from pounds.

I know part of the blurb is that without this saving animals is not sustainable and more will die but it worries me a tad and I don't agree that this was the best answer.

Sydney cats and dogs home is technically a pound - we adopted Scottie straight from them - that said they also foster and rehabilitate a bit more than your average pound.

I'd consider myself a more educated owner - and in that case - I think it doesn't make any difference. I know what I want, I know what the risks are and if I walk in looking for a foxie but walk out with ... a type of dog I've never owned ... I either know what I'm in for or where to get help when I need it.

For a newbie owner there is a lot more risk - and I think a good rescue works like an ethical breeder - there to help and advise - and maybe even re-direct. I met a potential new walking client the other day with a mastiff cross who's grown to over 40 kilos - she told me he was her first dog and they only wanted something about staffy size - she didn't know what she was buying when she picked him - she said it was only when someone told her paw size is a good indication of the size the dog will grow to be that she realised she'd bought a big dog....

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Willem   

Im curious to know what you guys think of the Pet rescue campaign to place animals straight from pounds.

I know part of the blurb is that without this saving animals is not sustainable and more will die but it worries me a tad and I don't agree that this was the best answer.

Sydney cats and dogs home is technically a pound - we adopted Scottie straight from them - that said they also foster and rehabilitate a bit more than your average pound.

I'd consider myself a more educated owner - and in that case - I think it doesn't make any difference. I know what I want, I know what the risks are and if I walk in looking for a foxie but walk out with ... a type of dog I've never owned ... I either know what I'm in for or where to get help when I need it.

For a newbie owner there is a lot more risk - and I think a good rescue works like an ethical breeder - there to help and advise - and maybe even re-direct. I met a potential new walking client the other day with a mastiff cross who's grown to over 40 kilos - she told me he was her first dog and they only wanted something about staffy size - she didn't know what she was buying when she picked him - she said it was only when someone told her paw size is a good indication of the size the dog will grow to be that she realised she'd bought a big dog....

good points ...whether it is a problem dog (and the problems are disclosed and known) or not - the problems start with the potential owner: some will just take it as a challenge and can handle it without becoming a real problem, for others it will be catastrophic. So getting more knowledge about the dog is only one part of the equation - and maybe not the most important part as the question, whether the potential owner can handle the dog or not is the real crux.

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Steve   

Before the advent of organised rescue, that's exactly how it was done... *grin*

In all seriousness though... there are good and bad rescues, and basically with some, you'd be better off adopting an unknown straight from a pound...

T.

Yes but some of the worst are not doing much more than taking them straight out of the pound and sending them all over the place non temperament checked or assessed etc I would consider these the bad rescue.

I would also consider dogs being shipped out straight from pounds with limited checks and time taken to test the dogs to be a step backward and potentially more problems being faced by those taking them on.

To me it seems to jeopodise a lot of the work done to promote rescue who do tick all the boxes and give people more confidence that taking a rescue dog is not risky.

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tdierikx   

From my experience selecting dogs from a few pounds for the rescue I was with, I'd say that there are a very high number of dogs in pounds that are perfectly fine to adopt straight from the pound... the number of real problem dogs is actually fairly low... but that's just been my experience in selecting maybe a couple of hundred pound dogs over a few years...

I'd be more worried about what diseases the animals may come with straight out of the pound actually... and/or any health issues that may need to be addressed (teeth, ears, eyes, coat, heart issues, etc)

T.

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good points ...whether it is a problem dog (and the problems are disclosed and known) or not - the problems start with the potential owner: some will just take it as a challenge and can handle it without becoming a real problem, for others it will be catastrophic. So getting more knowledge about the dog is only one part of the equation - and maybe not the most important part as the question, whether the potential owner can handle the dog or not is the real crux.

Willem's post has made me realise that another bonus of going via foster is that you often don't see a dogs real personality in a pound / shelter setting.

No knock on SDCH - but they hadn't picked up on Scotties intolerance to grain -where as if he'd lived in a foster home for a few weeks I'd say it would have been picked up for sure - took us about a month to cotton on to it.

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I'm all for it and agree with them 100% that there will never be enough foster homes to ensure all adoptable animals are adopted.

The pounds and shelters should be the ones doing the brunt of the work and adoptions, with support from rescue to meet that goal.

There's plenty of shoddy rescues out there that will happily palm off a dog with known issues without disclosing. In addition, and the thing that so many don't want to talk about, is there's plenty of rescues with a 'dealbreaker' list as long as my arm that will see them refusing the vast majority of good homes that come their way, leading those owners to pet shops and the like instead.

Nowadays when people I know are looking to rescue I honestly don't bother sending them to groups other than a select few that I know will treat them properly and not refuse them for arbitrary ridiculousness. If those groups don't have what they're after I send them to our local shelters (one of which is SDCH) who will treat them like human beings and work to find the right dog for them. They find reasons to say yes, rather than reasons to say no.

People have been adopting dogs directly from the pound for eons and the vast majority work out beautifully. Of course the second part to what PetRescue are encouraging is for pounds to get out of the dark ages and start resourcing their adoption programs and making lifesaving a priority. Things like foster programs, playgroups (which keep your animals sane and tell you so much about their personalities), customer service, behavioural rehab etc etc

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shel   

... details exactly why it is the policy. It came out of ten years of working on the issue from multiple angles and finding there was one major glaring issue that wasn't being addressed.

Shel :)

Edited by shel

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Steve   

... details exactly why it is the policy. It came out of ten years of working on the issue from multiple angles and finding there was one major glaring issue that wasn't being addressed.

Shel :)

Thanks Shel. Makes it simple to understand where its all coming from and it appears to be one potential way to reduce animals being killed. Its way past time that pounds and shelters cleaned up their act and did more for finding homes but I do think it makes some generic assumptions that I don't necessarily agree with and Id like to tease out some potential unintended consequences before I fully supported it.

Id be interested to see more of part two and three and the expected levels of service and management.

Whilst I agree that private rescue has developed as a cottage industry and the only motivation for some who have become involved is to save dogs and cats,that some would be interested in an exit plan I would like to think that this area of canine welfare is evolving,that more are interested in taking it out of the cottage industry area and that many would like to more than double their contribution and build viable sustainable businesses with plans for being able to have as their exit plan being able to hand over a viable charity which fulfils its purpose of saving animals but also provides excellent income for those who work in it or selling a profitable private business when they are ready to retire.

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It's good that people are now adopting dogs in greater numbers from pounds but generally these people don't get information on things like housetraining, general training, diet, daily care etc when adopting. What happens if there is a problem that can be sorted out with some behavioural advice? I'm not sure that this is available from the average pound whereas it is hopefully can be provided by good rescuer. Sure, people can also pay for a behaviouralist but that normally costs hundreds of dollars.

This always makes me worry that the dog will end up being kept outside because it messed in the house and the new owner had no idea how to housetrain or be in a situation where it isn't getting along with the resident dog for a multitude of reasons.

In addition, when dogs are adopted from a pound and go to the pound vet, they will be desexed/vaccinated etc. What is unlikely to be done is any other treatment with the major issue being a dental.

Seeing it from a new owner's point of view (usually just a normal dog owner) - they've just purchased the dog for $400 or whatever the charge is, the dog has just spent time in the vets. They would not be expecting to then have to check the dog's teeth when the dog comes home.

Having purchased dogs from Sydney pounds, in most cases i knew the dog also needed a dental. I have spoken to pound vets and not even a check would be done as standard, nor would a new owner be advised it needed doing. I have paid extra to have the pound vet do a dental or had one done later if the vet was unwilling but the average dog owner would not expect to have to get involved in this way, call a pound vet, insist this was done and pay the extra cost.

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Steve   

It's good that people are now adopting dogs in greater numbers from pounds but generally these people don't get information on things like housetraining, general training, diet, daily care etc when adopting. What happens if there is a problem that can be sorted out with some behavioural advice? I'm not sure that this is available from the average pound whereas it is hopefully can be provided by good rescuer. Sure, people can also pay for a behaviouralist but that normally costs hundreds of dollars.

This always makes me worry that the dog will end up being kept outside because it messed in the house and the new owner had no idea how to housetrain or be in a situation where it isn't getting along with the resident dog for a multitude of reasons.

In addition, when dogs are adopted from a pound and go to the pound vet, they will be desexed/vaccinated etc. What is unlikely to be done is any other treatment with the major issue being a dental.

Seeing it from a new owner's point of view (usually just a normal dog owner) - they've just purchased the dog for $400 or whatever the charge is, the dog has just spent time in the vets. They would not be expecting to then have to check the dog's teeth when the dog comes home.

Having purchased dogs from Sydney pounds, in most cases i knew the dog also needed a dental. I have spoken to pound vets and not even a check would be done as standard, nor would a new owner be advised it needed doing. I have paid extra to have the pound vet do a dental or had one done later if the vet was unwilling but the average dog owner would not expect to have to get involved in this way, call a pound vet, insist this was done and pay the extra cost.

Yes Ive had these thoughts as well. You would hope that part of the plan is to have them providing such information to people who buy their dogs and the Consumer laws should mean that if the dog does need things such as dental treatment that this should be disclosed prior to someone handing over their money.

I would also hope that there is some pretty sophisticated behaviour and temp testing on every dog and that those considering taking them have full disclosure about the good and the bad.

For me it seems that there has to be a different target market to those that private rescue are aiming to service and attract.

Its challenging for me to see how Petrescue can continue to do what they have done as effectively for the private rescue groups if they are promoting bypassing them and taking dogs straight form the pound. It seems that the goal is for private rescue to have an exit plan which entails the demand for what they do being lessened and no longer a need for them to continue.

I would expect that some groups that go the extra mile and register an ABN, and apply and go through the pain of attaining charity status would have at least some idea that they want to be in it for the longer haul and build a viable rescue group and the long term goal of this program that Im getting via the video seems to be that placement of dogs from pounds would over take much of what those 800 groups do so the exit plan is to make them obsolete and no longer needed or at least needed considerably less.

Dont get me wrong I do think that both systems can operate and share the market place into the future.I do think pounds should pull their act together and I think if private rescue have good business and management plans and if they go pretty hard at promoting more what they do and go after attracting people who do want their dogs assessed via living in a foster home etc and how that is different and why they can thrive.

If we are politically correct we would say well doesn't matter the aim is to save more animals and there is some kind of badge of honour to rescue people being poverty stricken but ......................

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mita   

It's good that people are now adopting dogs in greater numbers from pounds but generally these people don't get information on things like housetraining, general training, diet, daily care etc when adopting. What happens if there is a problem that can be sorted out with some behavioural advice? I'm not sure that this is available from the average pound whereas it is hopefully can be provided by good rescuer. Sure, people can also pay for a behaviouralist but that normally costs hundreds of dollars.

There was an interesting article by researchers at UQ a couple of years back. They did the maths & concluded that, if pounds worked at providing quality rehabilitation, assessment & rehoming strategies, it would actually be economically cheaper than the current total costs of putting dogs down. As much a case based on economics as on animal welfare.

BTW the San Francisco SCPA is often held up as one model way to go. They used to have the contract for the city's animal management/pound, but changed that to build a parallel set of services that made an adoption pact with the city's animal management. They answered critics that they're only leaving the city to do the killing, by providing quality, very comprehensive services.... interesting to read a listing on the site below. Like one... they pay people to bring in feral/stray cats for desexing.

Seems they've been master of public relations & fund-raising, too!

http://www.canismajor.com/dog/sfscpa1.html

Edited by mita

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megan_   

If people only adopted dogs from good rescuers there would be a lot of dead dogs, because there aren't enough good rescuers with resources to take on every sound pound dog. If the dog has an issue, the adopter can engage a trainer, just like the rest of us do? If there is a health issue, they can go to a vet.

Edited by megan_

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Steve   

If people only adopted dogs from good rescuers there would be a lot of dead dogs, because there aren't enough good rescuers with resources to take on every sound pound dog. If the dog has an issue, the adopter can engage a trainer, just like the rest of us do? If there is a health issue, they can go to a vet.

If I have to engage a trainer or radically change how I live and how my family lives I want to know BEFORE I decide to take the dog and I dont want to take a dog in that needs thousands in health bills or nursing .Sounds terrible I know but that the way it is for me and I dont think Im in the minority.

There could be enough good rescuers with good resources its just that this is the focus on how to fix the problem there are other alternatives including the one that Mita just referenced.

This entire program came about because it has been decided that private rescue cant double what their contribution is.I think they can if they get the right kind of support and help.

Edited by Steve

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shel   
Whilst I agree that private rescue has developed as a cottage industry and the only motivation for some who have become involved is to save dogs and cats, that some would be interested in an exit plan I would like to think that this area of canine welfare is evolving, that more are interested in taking it out of the cottage industry area and that many would like to more than double their contribution and build viable sustainable businesses with plans for being able to have as their exit plan being able to hand over a viable charity which fulfils its purpose of saving animals but also provides excellent income for those who work in it or selling a profitable private business when they are ready to retire.

Yes, but this is not how it is playing out in reality.

There’s an organic glass ceiling - a pinch point if you will - built into rescue groups, at about 50 carers. That seems to be the rate at which growth in an informal group (one or two key players, plus a small core group) starts to naturally level out. Most probably because fifty is a lot of people to manage, and without a formal plan to start employing people, everyone is still working jobs.

Now, yes some people who start rescue groups are out for world domination and that’s great. To be honest, they’re pretty easy to spot from the get-go. They’re going to push through to pain points of expanding their management team (delegating and formally classifying structure, board, roles, processes, accounting, fundraising and grievance procedures) and they’re going to look at revenue streams other than self-funding and beyond adoption fees.

But this isn’t "most" pet rescuers by any measure.

I think most people who want to rescue pets see a need, start rescuing themselves, recruit a few friends to expand their capacity, invest personal, reinvest fees from adoptions and be able to do more when they can, and less when they can’t. Which is also great. They keep control of their processes and their organisations, by staying in charge and doing it themselves, rather than formalising process. But you can't grow this way. Nor do they probably want the hassles of trying to.

So if we’re looking at this purely from a capacity point of view, how much capacity does rescue currently have to save individual pets?

The easiest place to start to find the answer is PetRescue. On their shelter pages they have a list of how many pets each rescue group has in care. While not totally complete, the numbers here are pretty representative of the general rescue situation.

http://bit.ly/1S6iiXO (stats pulled in April)

First, we know there are 795 members on PetRescue. About 75 shelters list on the site (including a handful of pounds).

Excluding those, leaves us basically with what we would call 'rescue groups'.

Let's assume that a rescue group with less than 5 pet listings are single person rescues - they’re not rescue 'groups' per sae, but individual foster carers working under their own personal or non-profit brand.

Of the 720 rescue groups listing on PetRescue, 444 (or more than half) have less than 5 listings. 200 of those have no listings at all.

Leaving about 280 rescue groups nationally with more than 5 listings.

From these;

- There are just 35 rescue groups nationally with foster carers with capacity/or are hosting 50 or more pets.

- Just 8 have capacity/or are hosting more than 100 pets.

This is extremely significant. There is no way 8 major rescue groups can solve the issue of pound killing nationally. Even with the support of 35 medium groups.

Even allowing for pets who are with groups who either don't use PetRescue, or don't keep their listings current, and adding in those pets who are in care but not available yet, rescue groups are mostly pretty small.

We need pounds to do the work of rehoming pets themselves. Rescue groups simply don't have the capacity to do all of this work - for - free on behalf of local councils.

(And if you want to know why, click here: Super hero unicorns and sunflowers)

x

Shel

Edited by shel

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megan_   

If people only adopted dogs from good rescuers there would be a lot of dead dogs, because there aren't enough good rescuers with resources to take on every sound pound dog. If the dog has an issue, the adopter can engage a trainer, just like the rest of us do? If there is a health issue, they can go to a vet.

If I have to engage a trainer or radically change how I live and how my family lives I want to know BEFORE I decide to take the dog and I dont want to take a dog in that needs thousands in health bills or nursing .Sounds terrible I know but that the way it is for me and I dont think Im in the minority.

There could be enough good rescuers with good resources its just that this is the focus on how to fix the problem there are other alternatives including the one that Mita just referenced.

This entire program came about because it has been decided that private rescue cant double what their contribution is.I think they can if they get the right kind of support and help.

Maybe that can happen, but the dogs are in pounds now. I agree that if some radical investment is needed then people should know upfront. However, unless a rescuer does everything like you would, and unless the dog has stayed with them for a significant period of time, how a dog acts in one home can be totally different from how a dog acts in your home. That is always going to be the case, regardless of how good a rescuer is. I'm sure my fearful rescue girl would have turned into a different dog in a more experienced home.

That said, from all the trainers I know, the vast majority of dogs out there don't have serious behavioural problems that require significant investment of money, treatment plans, drugs etc. They need help learning basic manners and how to walk on a leash. Again, great if a rescuer can get these down pat, but chances are the dog is going to have to relearn these things with you anyway.

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If people only adopted dogs from good rescuers there would be a lot of dead dogs, because there aren't enough good rescuers with resources to take on every sound pound dog. If the dog has an issue, the adopter can engage a trainer, just like the rest of us do? If there is a health issue, they can go to a vet.

If I have to engage a trainer or radically change how I live and how my family lives I want to know BEFORE I decide to take the dog and I dont want to take a dog in that needs thousands in health bills or nursing .Sounds terrible I know but that the way it is for me and I dont think Im in the minority.

There could be enough good rescuers with good resources its just that this is the focus on how to fix the problem there are other alternatives including the one that Mita just referenced.

This entire program came about because it has been decided that private rescue cant double what their contribution is.I think they can if they get the right kind of support and help.

Maybe that can happen, but the dogs are in pounds now. I agree that if some radical investment is needed then people should know upfront. However, unless a rescuer does everything like you would, and unless the dog has stayed with them for a significant period of time, how a dog acts in one home can be totally different from how a dog acts in your home. That is always going to be the case, regardless of how good a rescuer is. I'm sure my fearful rescue girl would have turned into a different dog in a more experienced home.

That said, from all the trainers I know, the vast majority of dogs out there don't have serious behavioural problems that require significant investment of money, treatment plans, drugs etc. They need help learning basic manners and how to walk on a leash. Again, great if a rescuer can get these down pat, but chances are the dog is going to have to relearn these things with you anyway.

Agree with this Megan.

The vast majority of dogs in pounds do not have significant behavioural problems that can't be solved with simple obedience training. Most are very physically healthy. On top of that, dogs can behave extremely differently from one home to the next, so there is always a level of unknowns, even with foster-based rescue.

I do hear the concerns about pounds that do the bare minimum but in that case surely the answer is for the pounds to improve their processes and start doing the job they're paid for, rather than expecting overworked and underpaid rescuers to bear the brunt of keeping pets alive.

There is simply no way for rescues to eliminate the killing of healthy and treatable animals on their own. They do not have the resources available. Pounds need to step up and prioritise adoptions (after reclaims) as the #1 way to get pets out of pounds. Rescues do incredible work and they should be able to do it in a manner that supports pounds and pets, without them either being completely overworked or experiencing compassion fatigue over all the dogs they couldn't help.

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mita   

[hat said, from all the trainers I know, the vast majority of dogs out there don't have serious behavioural problems that require significant investment of money, treatment plans, drugs etc. They need help learning basic manners and how to walk on a leash. Again, great if a rescuer can get these down pat, but chances are the dog is going to have to relearn these things with you anyway.

The UQ researchers made that same point about a significant number of dogs in pounds. Their needs to re-learn are basic on a scale of severity of behavioural problems.

So they recommended (among other things) that pounds should include a strong prevention element in what they do. By providing some basic knowledge & training guidance to some owners could prevent a dog being left with that pound or a particular rescue in the first place.

Making it a more economic service ... would cost less money than a pound stay and/or a PTS because a home couldn't be found within a time frame. And a more humane service for the dog. Obviously it'd be based on assessment of a particular dog & owner's circumstances. I notice that the San Francisco SPCA includes counseling & guiding owners.... in its services. Rescues could consider including that among their services, too.

Edited by mita

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