Sunday, August 14, 2011

Please Don't Rescue Me

I have this problem with well intentioned individuals who decide that they want to get into the animal rescue business when they have no idea what the business is all about!  All of a sudden Iowa seems to be inundated with rescue groups posting urgent pleas for help on facebook. Cats and dogs needing homes immediately is nothing new, but what's with the current trend of pulling condemned animals out of out of state pounds and shelters and bringing them to Iowa? It's not as if we don't have enough cats and dogs being put to death daily in this State by so called 'rescue' organizations, now these people are bringing more animals into the system to "save" them.

And therein lies the problem.

Once an animal is "saved" and transported to Iowa, then what? More often than not, the new rescuer either keeps the animal at their home or shuttles it off to a 'foster' home to wait for a potential adopter. The reality of the actual financial expense and time commitment has yet to hit home. To do it properly, a rescuer must vaccinate, treat for parasites, both internal and external, feed and eventually spay or neuter the animal prior to making it available for adoption.  It's a situation that can quickly get out of hand especially when the demands exceed the rescuer's resources. When that happens, it's the animals that need saving ... again! We've had puppies infected with the deadly PARVO virus brought into the State by so called rescuers who didn't know any better. All died, including a number of other dogs that were exposed. We've had the deadly results of an inexperienced rescuer putting unknown dogs together in the hope that they'd get along. They didn't and several dogs were injured, one fatally. The consequences of good intentions without the benefit of knowledge and appropriate resources can be deadly for the creatures being rescued.

So, why do they do it? Why can't they say no? I suspect its because there's a real, feel-good emotional uplift that comes with helping a helpless animal. Whatever. I wonder what the feelings are when you know you're responsible for the deaths of those you are supposed to be saving?

Without question, we need rescue organizations and at the same time, we also need standardization and accountability so that the animals themselves don't encounter more suffering as a result of being rescued. Until that happens in our State, I'd just as soon say, "please don't rescue me."


  1. Excellent and well written article of the increased issues arising here that has rescuers becoming rescue HOARDERS!

    Question is: HOW do we get these types of people to stop practicing rescue? If the public isn't going to become knowledgeable enough about this business and blindly follow these individual rescues, and if the rescues themselves don't start policing each other...what then?

    The state doesn't have much to go on. The laws are archaic and focus on animal control and agriculture. Now what?

    Keep em coming...something will trigger something and then we can all join together and make a REAL difference. In the meantime it's a cropshoot. Those animals that "make it through" this ridiculous process MAY GET a better life.

  2. The whole idea behind transporting shelter animals to other states is to take animals (puppies, for example) FROM a location where they are in overabundance TO a location where there is a demand that is not met.

    Our shelter, the Asheville Humane Society, participates in puppy transports to places where there is a demand for puppies and empty cages in shelters -- and there are such places.

    To "rescue" an animal and send it somewhere where local animals need rescuing is not "rescue!" It is a recipe for disaster!

    Thank you for your enlightening post. So many people have good hearts and no direction. These people could be repurposed into volunteering, fostering (which means giving the animal BACK after an agreed upon time) and other types of useful rescue work.

    You've kicked the ball down the hill -- let's see if it keeps rolling! :)