Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clifton's Rules for Humane Rescue

The comments below from Merritt Clifton of Animal People News were previously posted as a correction to the SRUV post Rescue and Relocation.

* * * * *

I noticed a few fairly significant factual errors.

For example,  humane relocation was a major & quite successful cottage industry for 15 years or more before the pit bull people got into it -- we spotlighted it in our March & April 1993 editions,  focusing first on the North Shore Animal League program & then on the breed rescue networks affiliated with AKC.

When the pit bull people did get into it,  some of the first were convicted scammers & dogfighters,  e.g. Mercedes & Cesar Cerda,  who went to prison in California.

Also,  pit bulls & their close mixes have accounted for about half of all the dogs killed in shelters nationwide since 2001,  not just in Los Angeles since 2007.

Best Friends posted & promoted the following item of mine in 2004,  but proceeded to ignore it themselves after Hurricane Katrina,  with the predictable outcomes.  They ended up having to sue one scammer who took a lot of their animals.


My ironclad rules for doing humane relocation safely are:

1)  Do not do business with non-sheltered rescues on the receiving end.  If an organization doesn't have isolation,  quarantine,  and clinic facilities of its own to handle any problems,  don't touch it with a 10-foot pole.  Just having a fostering network,  a vet,  and a day at PetsMart or Petco isn't good enough.  Such arrangements are very precarious and financially shaky if any real problems develop.

2)  Do not do business with any organization at either end that
     does not--
      a)  Have a published,  verifiable physical address,  with zoning that
           allows the presence of the animals.
      b)  Have a fixed-site telephone number.  Just a cell phone is
           not good enough.
      c)  Have 501(c)(3) status and file IRS Form 990 in a
           complete and timely manner,  whether or not it has
           enough income that it is legally required to do so.
     d)  Have a verifiable board of directors,  consisting
           of reputable persons.
     e)  Keep detailed, verifiable records of the destination
          and fate of every animal handled.

3)  Look out for the common scams.

4)  Always move animals with two drivers.  Shit happens,
     and when it does, having a backup person is essential.

These are not difficult standards for anyone who is half-assed serious about rescue to meet.  If people stringently observe them,  they won't have disasters.  If they don't,  they will join the legions of people we are hearing from who have been bilked out of hundreds of dogs,  dozens of cats,  and tens of thousands of dollars by dogfighters,  ordinary con artists,  hoarders,  and various other cruds who have somehow been persuasive in declaring their alleged good intentions.

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