Make Sure You Adopt Your New Best Friend From an Ethical Rescue

I have worked with a small animal shelter and humane society as a board member for almost seven years now. I have seen countless examples of animal cruelty: puppies being thrown out of moving car windows; drug dealers training dogs to kill; and animal hoarding cases so bad that our staff had to use HAZMAT suits to enter the house and be treated for urea burns afterward. However, there is another type of animal cruelty that often goes unnoticed by the public, though it operates on a large scale. It comes by way of a machine that is well-organized and has many different people and organizations participating. I'm talking about “rescues" that operate networks for pure profit—at the expense of the dogs’ well-being.

Before I continue, I want to make something very, very clear. There is a fine line between helping animals and profiting from animals. I have worked with several wonderful rescues that will take hard cases, rehabilitate dogs, and find those dogs perfect, loving homes. I have also seen “rescues” that will stack cages of dogs onto each other, denying the dogs proper access to exercise, food, or veterinary care. Both can sometimes charge hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the “rescued” dogs.

So, how do you tell the difference between the good and bad ones? When you adopt a dog, how do you know if you are feeding a machine or actually helping our furry friends? Like many bad business actors, shady activities will happen with bad “rescues.” The problem is that many of these bad rescues play off of the emotions involved with adopting a dog. Most people adopt from rescues to help animals and they feel good thinking they are supporting an organization that helps animals. This is why many people, understandably, miss the warning signs. After all, it isn’t the dog's fault it fell into the wrong hands.

Continue on to learn the signs of a bad dog "rescue"