|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 1:58pm PST |
|I personally appreciate the potential, but equally know things have to shift on the intake side before it is possible.
The numbers don't gel. In terms of the prospective pet owning population, one needs to be realistic as to what they would not be comfortable adopting. The numbers given, in other words, are cursory in that they don't examine WHAT dog these pet owners would choose to take on.
In other words, someone looking for a puppy...and that is a lot of someones....will not want a young adult. Someone looking for a Golden Retriever will not want a Pit Bull. Someone looking for a Yorkie is not going to want a Rat Terrier. Beyond this, MOST want dogs without behavioral issues. Even those rehabbed, they want the happy, outgoing pet. Many don't want seniors, many don't want dogs with medical needs. It can be very hard....very....to find an adopter for a plain looking, generic mutt.
Those are the realities. I cover quite a few shelters, and I would say, loosely but consistently, that around 40% of the dogs are of the highly adoptable ilk. A compatible number, of around 40%, are dogs that include oversaturated breeds, mutts, moderate behavior challenges, with the remaining 20% having some serious impedance....old, unhealthy or unstable. Now in terms of adopters, who I deal with a lot, about 80% want that first set, and nothing but. They do not want dogs with behavioral challenges, they do not want Pit Bulls, they do not want medical needs, they do not want something homely.
As the co-director of a rescue and as someone who has been in rescue better than 15 years, I have a very good sense for what moves promptly and what does not. What the average Joe Q Public are looking for and what they are not. We take in the "are nots" as well, but sometimes need to wait for that one, rare person for many, many months.
My rescue's founder, Dogster Duncan, really knows a lot on these issues. Sanctuary (Best Friends), high kill shelters (several) and no kill (where the adoptions manager), and now of course helming her own dog rescue. Maybe she says something, too.
But for now, I am about to be a total negative vibe merchant
In my lifetime, the world of rescue has had unfathomable successes. Rescues have swollen in numbers, adopting from a shelter is a positive thing, there is social pressure towards adoption where once it was against, developing the resources to help the sick or behavioral has grown. It has been an amazing turnaround.
BUT....but, but, but.....it has done so with the dominant focus on live release, which would mean adoption or release to rescue (or returned to owner, of course). Not all that much has been done towards the intake side. Duncan had an article just go up on Dogster that can be read HERE. The latest brainchild from the ever driven Garo Alexanian....he's Armenian ......which deals with developing resources to avert the surrendering of pets. Which at the end of the day is THE problem, that and the careless breeding of dogs, oops litters included in that set.
We need to shift our focus....as in YESTERDAY....and start to key upon the intake side, which at least by some avenues is counter to some no-kill advocates, who have spent so much time developing the adoption side. Some of the fallouts I have seen is a kneejerk accusation towards shelters as being happy dog killers, which creates hostility towards many high kills who have their hearts in all the right places while stuck in an impossible landscape, an under focus on preventing surrenders, and even a lesser social concern towards capricious litters (i.e., there is no oversupply). I have also seen, in an attempt press for no kill status, shelters doing some ethically dubious things.
It is time for the no-kill movement to grow the heck up and admit that intake is the fundamental problem. Much strides have been made towards developing an answer to the fallout of the problem, but NOW is the time to address the problem itself.
For....and I am really sorry to say this, even on a personal level....adoption has peaked, IMO and experience. I have seen a steady, and in recent times abrupt, fall of adoptions. As rescue become popularized, everyone wanted to try it! It was great! Some did and still have their dogs, some did and now are curious to try a breeder, enough abrasion has been created between quality breeders and the rescue market to where they often are foes, this allowing a opening for BYBs and such to capitalize.
I am extremely concerned with where things are right now. No matter where I look, it appears adoptions have leveled. Even in my old local shelter, which I know like the back of my hand, even there....I tracked a purebred Beagle female, surrendered by her hunter breeder as a wash out, who was STUNNING, young, loved everyone, loved all pets. Perfect pet, and was there for six weeks. That raises the hair on the back of your neck, as do the stats in the recently improved NYC areas, where there, too, things are leveling.
We have spent time addressing the cure to the problem. We now really need to get serious about addressing the CAUSE of the fallout. That remains alive and thriving, and needs to be brought under far greater balance.
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