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Dogster Magazine: Should Fenced-In Yards Be a Requirement for Dog Adopters?

This is a special section for dogs needing new homes and for inspiring stories of dogs that have found their furever home through Dogster or through the love and energy of rescuers. This is also the place to discuss shelters, rescue organizations, rescue strategies, issues, solutions, etc. and how we can all help in this critical endeavor. Remember that we are all here for the love of dog! If you are posting about a dog that needs a new home, please put your location in the topic of your thread so those close by can find you! Make sure to check out Dogster's dog adoption center!

  
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Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 2:52pm PST 
Many rescue groups require fences, shutting out wonderful candidates. It's time to bring some common sense to pet adoption.
Foxxy

Pocket Wolf
 
 
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 7:30pm PST 
Yes, I agree with the article.On top of that I would add that if the pound allows people to adopt though they have no fence, and breeders allow adoption without a fenced yard, what business do private rescues have limiting based on that factor? Growing up we had a schnauzer that came from my aunt's bitch, but when the time came to say goodnight to that one, we got another from a breeder. We looked at schnauzer rescues, but nobody would accept us as a potential family due to having no fences. The problem was not about cost. The way the property lines were drawn made it difficult to put up a fence in a way that the neighbors could agree to. rather than fight with otherwise very nice neighbors, we sort of shared the space and watched our dogs, and trained them to stay in their yard. they did this very well throughout our time there. Our dogs were part of a neighborhood community where each dog got along, and all the dogs were allowed to come into each other's houses. It was low traffic, lots of shade trees, a suburban place where everything seemed to be thriving.

My dad did not want to go to the HS for a dog because at the time he still believed that the dogs at a shelter were damaged goods. That's an unfortunate opinion that is hard to crack. So we wound up going to a breeder. The dogs have now had a good long, pampered life, but imagine if that had been a rescue. Somebody wouldn't let a dog go over a matter of a fence, and so we went to a breeder. that doesn't save dogs, that shuts out dogs from loving homes.

As for me, both are rescued, Foxxy from someone who didn't really want her anymore, and Tag from the HS, and neither had any trouble giving them to us though we live in an apartment. They get to go to a large leashless park weekly and a small one every day, and they get walked every 4 hours, and they get to go on playdates, and they get to travel lots of places dos don't normally get to go because we can put them in their soft bags, which are nearly indistinguishable from gym bags. Even our vet was fooled by them. They will go with us on all vacations and amost everywhere we can get away with. They're rarely alone for more than an hour, and they have nice comfy kennels to rest in when they do have to be left at home. Oh and we spoil them with premium dog food and as many toys as we can find that are safe. So what if they don't have a backyard? they don't know what they are missing, and quite frankly I would worry that a hawk or owl would snatch them out of the backyard even if I did have one.
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Lucille

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 6:37am PST 
I really believe that there should be few absolutes when it comes to caring for dogs.

Sighthounds are notorious for breaking tethers, leashes etc. A retired racing grey sees a rabbit and good luck. Very few know how to handle one safely in that situation. It's quite common for a sighthound rescue to like adopters to have fences because it's considered to be an added safety measure. If you are pottying the dog on leash and it breaks and runs at least the fence is there.

I don't think fencing should be a requirement in all adoption cases, however I can think of several where I would want to place the dog in a fenced yard if at all possible. Cases like where the dog was tethered for so long the dog's collar had to be surgically removed from his neck, that's one example. I wouldn't want that dog tethered again for much longer than short periods. Also, dogs with any trouble toileting; urine crystals, kidney problems etc. I've seen those caused by folks who had the dog in a third floor apt, no yard, and so took the dog out so rarely to potty they developed those issues over time. Ofcourse those jerks usually don't want to pay for the resulting vet bills and surrender the dog. That type of dog I'd like to see go to a home that had more ready access to potty spots. The easier it is to take the dog out often, the more likely an adopter is to do so.

I thought the article sort of generalized those of us with fencing as if to say we stick our dogs back there and never exercise them. Fencing doesn't make dogs exercise if they're by themselves. I walk my dog, run, go to classes...the fenced yard is for pottying and off leash romping when dog friends come over, and some training. I don't consider it 'exercise' for my dog. Most responsible dog owners don't. My dog is never out there unsupervised, it's not a fence designed to contain a dog left alone for hours and I wouldn't want to do that anyway. It only cost about a hundred bucks in materials, though, so I don't quite get those that say cost is always too high. That's like the cost of 3 big bags of food or so. I fenced in about 1/4 to 1/2 acre of my property with no problem. It's helpful when I foster dogs, too.

I also don't think it's always wrong to leave a dog in a car on a cool day for a few minutes. All of this type of stuff depends on the dog, the dog's caregiver and the situation. Fencing requirements should be decided on a case by case basis, just like many other things.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 7:04am PST 
I do not believe that a fence or lack of one should be a deciding factor in what would otherwise be an excellent home. I also do not think the size of the yard you have should be a factor if you have all of the other qualifications,are willing to do what you must to meet the dogs needs,and stay commited to doing those things then why should a dog be euthanized just because what would be an excellent home does not fit the shelter or rescue's standards of an ideal home,that is sad and rediculous.
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Bunny

Black dogs rock!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 7:12am PST 
I totally agree with the article and have often expressed frustration with this rule as well. Yes, some breeds ( ie Greyhound) require a fence due to their neck structure but that is certainly the exception. I have had Bunny for 7 and 1/2 years and it's only in the last 2 that we have have had a semi fenced yard ( we still haven't finished the back yet). He has been on a tie out for short durations for all that time. I bring him for a walk every night and I think he has a pretty good life. smile
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Nicky

World's Cutest- Leprechaun
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 9:56am PST 
I think it should be on a case by case basis, but there are certain breeds where I feel they should require fences so I can't really knock those certain breed rescues for having a fence requirement. One area rescue has actually started a chain link drive so they can donate a fence to those who don't have one but otherwise qualify to adopt.
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Maci & Harley & Jigar

Golden butts
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 9:57am PST 
I agree it is should not a strict requirement. When I ask a potential adopter what they are planning to be a typical day for the golden...hearing spent hours alone in the wonderful build fenced yard is not what I want to hear.

I would be iffy about placing a puppy with someone with no yard and this is their first dog.
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Zephyr

1213425
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 11:30am PST 
I do not have a fence because when the property was purchased we were assured fence construction would be no problem...heh. Not with our HOA apparently. Putting up a fence is frankly a lot more time and expense than I want to put forward when I'll be moving in short order. We have a little "garden" fence for a section for my not off-leash safe littles but that isn't included.

Should fencing be an absolute? For most rescues, no but the lack of a fence I think entitles a rescue to ask for detailed exercise plan and some in depth questions
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Rigby

Dingbat
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 12:15pm PST 
applauseapplauseapplauseapplause
I was almost expecting something else when I read the title for some reason.
I wholeheartedly agree with this article. Just because someone doesn't have a fenced yard doesn't mean they wont make a good owner.

The restriction is understandable for dogs that are known for their running, or may not do well on a tether (although we all know that's not the only option). But for your "average" pet dog with no prior history of bolting, why rule out potential good homes?

I also like that they bring up that fences aren't foolproof either. Some dogs can scale the fence, dig under etc. Sure you can get around that by making them totally escape-proof.....at the cost of having your backyard look like a prison.
Very few dogs require such enclosures, and there are many good owners that don't have "proper" yards.

Good on ya Dogster. I really enjoyed this one.
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Samson

Work? What's- that?
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 25, '12 1:46pm PST 
When 90% or better require the dog to be kept indoors, a fenced yard requirement is kind of stupid.
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