Leaving Rescue as I know it

It has been quite some time since the last post on this blog and this post will be my last for a while. Maybe forever.
I have been involved with rescue in some form or another for many years. I have seen things in some areas change for the better and in some, change for the worse.
I have watched wonderful animals find wonderful homes and cried many tears over animals who were killed simply because there was no room at the inn.
I have worked and volunteered with some incredible people and learned too much about animal rescue. I have seen disappointment on peoples’ faces when they were denied an adoption and watched the joy when a scared, little boy bonded with a dog, when his parents despaired he would ever get over his fear.
I have fought against the injustice of BSL and worked to find many dogs homes. I have called in favors galore if it meant one more animal had a chance.
I cannot do it any longer.
With the discovery of the hellhole which was Napier’s, I have begun to question some of my thoughts about kenneling dogs and the chances of hoarding situations.
This follows along with some changes I was already making with my free time and I believe these changes are better for me.
As many of my readers know, I have always had big dogs, Rottweilers to be more specific and loved them to distraction. Even while I owned them, they had a horrible reputation for killing children and attacking people. I never saw that in my dogs. I saw some training errors which resulted in antisocial behavior. I can blame my ex-husband for that.
After we divorced and I received custody of both my dogs, Jessie and Junior, I fell in love with a Rottweiler puppy which had been turned in where I was volunteering at. I applied to adopt the puppy, brought my two dogs down to meet her, which was fine and was denied the adoption. I was denied because the person doing the evaluation felt my senior Jessie, would not be able to tolerate a puppy in the household. She wanted to protect the puppy from my Jessie.
I have never forgotten the feeling I got when that happened and I no longer support, in any way, that shelter. I felt ignorant, disgusted, angry, hurt and disappointed all in one shot.
I made up my mind that I would set about changing shelters’ antiquated attitudes about adoption to families, families with children, families with other dogs etc.
I have run into this issue, on adoption guidelines several times over the years and each time, the excuse, reason, rule, call it whatever you want, is done for “the protection of the animals.”
So then we have a hoarding situation like Napier’s and the animals end up in horrible conditions because no one is good enough to adopt one of their animals. Everyone is saying, “I knew something was going on out there” and now all those animals are housed within different groups and many will be put up for adoption once they are healed medically. So why was no one good enough while they were in operation, but folks are good enough now?
So, these questions really have no answers and I am driving myself cuckoo trying to figure out how I can best serve rescues because whatever I have been doing is not working.
So you will see me on Facebook, sharing animals for anyone who needs it. You may see a plea from me for something for Desoto County Animal Services to help those poor dogs and cats have a little bit of comfort before they are killed. You won’t see me too much of anywhere else.

Finding your (my) Christmas Spirit

 Finding your (my) Christmas Spirit
I have struggled this year to find the spirit of Christmas in my life. I find myself wanting my parents here, missing friends who have passed and generally struggling to maintain my always positive, happy outlook on life.
Rescue situations have made it that much harder. I am sad thinking of all the animals who will never see another Christmas because no home for them will be found. I worry about the animals I deal with at my shelter and hope we can continue to give them as much love and time as they need, until a permanent, forever home can be found for them.
I decided to go visit my friend, Kerry Koppin this morning at Treasures Thrift Store in Venice and see if getting a couple of shirts etc. for my new job would improve my spirit. It is, after all, Christmas Eve. She was feeling pretty much the same as I was, and we spoke about have a quiet day tomorrow and ones who will not be here with us.
Two hours later, she called. She had received a Christmas photo of a dog who both of us adored from his Mom. When she forwarded the photo to me, I simply burst into tears.
Munson was one of the first dogs I ever came in contact with in rescue. He had the worst luck ever in finding a home. I made sure he was on television when they filmed training class. I wrote stories about him in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. I agonized every week which went by where he was not adopted.
When Pam, his Mom came to meet him, she had a beautiful German Shepherd named Serre. Munson didn’t like other dogs, but he liked her. So Pam took him home, this little, short, squat Pitbull who had the personality of a celebrity and the digging habits of a pig and he has never looked back.
I found my Christmas Spirit today. A photo of a short, squat, pitbull, who no one wanted is and has been in a forever home for over 5 years now. From the photo, I know Serre must have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but he looks fantastic. He represents all we do in rescue and what is possible when you believe in what you do. Munson is my Christmas Spirit this year. He came late, but accomplished the task. Thanks, “Pigpen”. I still love you!

Puppy mill or hoarder? Does it matter in Sarasota?

120504055204 Animal hoarder venice Puppy mill or hoarder? Does it matter in Sarasota?

The Sarasota County Commissioners have voted to table the Retail Pet Sales Ordinance to give themselves time to research the item. This means not only will it give them more time, it will give the stores which sell puppies more time to gather more money and forces to fight the battle. We must be vigilant in our information sent to the commissioners. We must not use emotion but facts and figures.
When activists begin trying to change things which affect the bottom line of corporations, or even worker bees, whose paycheck may be influenced by the ruling, everyone takes off their gloves and comes out swinging.
Unfortunately, emotions do not change things, facts do.
When I emailed one of the commissioners, her response included a line which read in part, “We don’t have any puppy mills in the area as far as I know or we could simply ban the puppy mills themselves.”
When a retail outlet sells puppies from puppy mills, they (if they are purebred and not a designer breed) receive AKC papers to transfer to the new owner. These papers are then sent to the AKC for registration. Now they have a breeder. Then a second dog is purchased and they can begin breeding. Any medical or behavioral issues are then passed down the line with any puppies born. These folks then begin placing signs on street corners or ads in the paper selling these puppies, most times at a cut rate price because they are in it to make money, not because they love the breed.
The above photo came after Sarasota County had to remove 360 dogs from a breeder in Venice. They called it a hoarding situation, but my money is on a dog or a couple of dogs purchased from a pet store and bred to make money, which got out of hand. Does it matter what we called it? It was still 360 dogs which were not being taken care of, flooding Animal Services and the rescues in the area.
There are enough rescues in our immediate area who specialize in purebred animals. Rescues, not stores. There are so many purebreds in rescue, many do not have enough foster homes or space when new ones are picked up and turned in to Animal Services.
One of the suggestions is to limit these stores to only places who had no citations from the USDA. This may sound okay to most who are not in the know but the requirements for a puppy mill are so lax, there are very few fines of said agencies. For example, dogs in federally licensed breeding facilities can legally be kept in cages that are only six inches wider than the dog in each direction for their entire lives. Violations often go unpunished. Lack of enforcement by the USDA overall means thousands of dogs are left to suffer in inadequate and inhumane conditions year after year, even in federally licensed facilities. These commercial facilities are also not bound by criminal laws, but administrative ones, which means a fine. These small fines mean very little to an operation making hundreds of thousands of dollars each year selling to puppy stores.
We must continue to gather information in the next 60 days. We must continue to remain fact-based and not let our emotions rule. There is not much difference in a commercial breeder and hoarder. We must make sure the commissioners get it. I am not sure they do right now.