Animal rescue has become a retail operation? This and other questions after reading a recent NYTimes story

By on July 6, 2019

Rescue and shelter operations are constantly adapting to the needs of animals. It seems, at least according to some cited in a recent New York Times article, “Everyone wants a rescue dog. Not everyone can have one,” that they also adapt to the marketplace in which companion animals are sold. One shelter official in the story goes so far to say rescue has become a “retail operation,” which stopped me in my tracks when reading. In fact, much of the article piqued my interest, especially when thinking about what local rescue and shelter folks would say after reading.

Among the topics in the article:

  • some eager to adopt from shelters can’t gain access to adoptable animals because rescues sweep up desirables
  • why rescues transport truckloads of animals from shelters
  • why rescues are flying animals in from places like South Korea, Egypt, and others
  • animals dying while being transported from shelters to other places by rescues
  • door-to-door educators serving lower income areas by answering questions, spreading the word about low-or-no-cost clinics for animals
  • the value judgments rescues make when adopting out animals (or not adopting out animals)
  • people fed up with long rescue applications, scrutiny

If you subscribe to the New York Times, you’ll obviously be able to read. If not, try to access the article by clicking the link above. You get some number of free reads on the Times website before you need to buy the content.

It’s all very interesting and likely enlightening for folks not all that involved in the rescue or shelter day-to-day. I’m eager to hear where folks agree with what was written and where they don’t. Log in here and leave comments or look for this story’s promotion on our Facebook page to sound off.

The thing that got my wheels turning most from the article: The Times cites one non-profit in Austin, TX, Emancipet. The group “…focuses on providing free or low-cost spaying and neutering and veterinary services. The group also goes door-to-door to answer people’s pet-related questions,” the Times said.

We have low cost spay and neuter in Omaha. We have many groups (including Pets in Omaha) that advocate for responsible ownership and spread helpful information about improving our pet community. I’m not aware of any group that goes door-to-door, telling people about clinics and answering questions. It seems to me that face-to-face interactions with pet owners is the best way to reach them, regardless of context (spreading one’s mission, sharing information about things that could help owners, pets, the community, etc.). If we don’t have such a group, why not? And what’s it take to have and maintain a group like that? What and how much good could a group like that do?

Questions? Answers? Comments? Let us know with comments here or join the conversation on Facebook.

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