Rescues and Shelters


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 2:18 am

i4u, whether or not you think you are not slamming rescues, it sure looks that way to me.

Doesn't to me. As Nuts has said - she's a rescue too and has rescued quite possibly for longer than you have. It's ludicrous to think she would be slamming herself. She is familiar with private rescue, being one, and with shelters from working in one. That does put her in the position of being able to to offer more insight than someone just in rescue or someone just involved in shelters. And that is all I see here - insight, and invaluable insight at that.

And, like I pointed out in my original post, I go to that shelter every week bearing food for their
rabbits. So you're telling me that they suspected that the guinea pig would be better off in a snake's
mouth than with me? Come on!

I think you need to question why it didn't matter to them if the pig had a home or was snake food. It would appear they wanted those pigs out any way possible. First come first serve. So either they were out to shaft you personally - why? Or they do not regard cavies as anything more than a valueless rodent taking up valuable space - how can you educate them?


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 11:11 am

Here is where I see i4u's "ludicrous" slamming of rescues:
Do you know how many rescues call a shelter in a given week? Do you know how many ask for laws to be bent because they are a rescue? Do you know how many "rescues" are in that county already who have animals not within the law and have been that way for months? It takes 15 minutes to hand an animal to a rescue, not so quick getting them back when things go wrong.

Do you know how many will tell a bold faced lie when confronted about the unlicensed dog they've had for 3 months, not UTD, never been to the vet? ("oh, he's been here 2 weeks") Are you aware of how many folders are sitting in that facility for "rescues" who have already messed things up so bad the courts have been involved?
Of course I agree that there may be bad rescues out there. However, in the first place, making that judgement against a well-established, licensed rescue (who, by the way, the shelter recently claimed a willingness to work with) would clearly be reckless stereotyping to the nth degree.

In the second place, I strongly doubt that the credibility of the rescue was in question. Given the fact that we are in the process of working with the shelter on their policies, the reputation of the rescue, and the fact that I reguarly feed their rabbits, I doubt that the shelter worker was considering the factors about bad rescues that i4u is mentioning.

That is my point. It was a careless, individual decision that the shelter worker knew was wrong--or else she wouldn't have tried to lie about it.

In that case, what is "ludicrous" is i4u's absolute refusal to acknowledge the fact that some shelters--whether it is policy or individual actions or just routine practices--do not act in the best interest of the animals.

Instead, i4u continues to talk about bad rescues and defend these shelters' decisions not to hold the animals on those grounds.

And I will continue to reiterate that it is not likely that the credibility of the rescue was in question.

Therefore, there must be some other reason for this shelter worker's lack of concern for the animals in her care.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 11:57 am

Chary, you have turned my posts into being about you. Anything I have posted has been collective and the aim has been for you to possibly understand the other side just a tiny bit.

You indicated you know this person, you come in every week to feed the rabbits. If you have a relationship with this one shelter, can't you ask them why snakefood was acceptable when you had a hold. Seems to me there was not a firm "hold" in place as it wasn't one, but two animals taken off hold --- WHY? It would seem your relationship is not as solid as you now state it is.

The responsibility is yours to set up an arrangement and crystal clear understanding with any shelter.

You yourself have expressed less than admiration for a cat/dog rescue taking on guinea pigs, rescue is rescue right? It would appear you don't think it's always the case anymore than I do.

Sure, you are frustrated, sure you are angry, so what are you going to do about it? Keep being angry? Say they don't care (MAYBE THEY DON'T), or open up the lines of communication and know exactly how things will work in the future.

You mention the Bunny Bunch ---

The Bunny Bunch is a non-profit SPCR, well-known, well-respected, with chapters all over California. There was no reason for the shelter to doubt my credibility. They simply made a decision in the interest of expediency and then tried to cover it up.

okay, you go into this shelter every week to feed the rabbits so obviously they keep rabbits for adoption at the shelter.

Can the shelter screen potential adopters? If this shelter cannot screen adopters, snake food is irrelevant.

Honest question here, what is the relationship with the Bunny Bunch and this shelter?

Do they (BB, since this seems to be relevant in your relationship with the shelter) ask the shelter to call them when a rabbit comes in and do they come to get them?


Do they want to be notified when a rabbit is going to be euthanized, in hopes that rabbit may find a home from the shelter, leaving room in the rescue for those actually "out of time".

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Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:06 pm

It was my impression that Nuts was sharing her personal experiences on both sides and trying to explain some of the factors working on both sides.

For the life of me, I can't see what you are worked up about. Sometimes crappy things happen and we have no idea why they happen to us. Alot of the ideas tossed out here were presented in an effort to get you to think outside the box and look at the big picture. Your case may be a "small picture" -- an individual who for reasons unknown made a bad decision.

Your job (should you hope this never happens again) is to find out what the policies are, get them changed if necessary, and -- looking at Nuts advice -- try to see things from their side also.

Not to mention, mistakes happen. On purpose or accidental.

But I just do not understand what problem you are having with Nuts. Her post in no way implied that your particular shelter had or has faults.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:20 pm

You yourself have expressed less than admiration for a cat/dog rescue taking on guinea pigs, rescue is rescue right? It would appear you don't think it's always the case anymore than I do.
Now you're stretching my words. I said nothing about the quality of the cat/dog rescue, only that they (by their own admission) did not have any knowledge of guinea pigs, and I expressed shock and bewilderment that the shelter would release the animals to them when a guinea pig rescue was on the way.

It is not my "relationship" with the shelter that I am stressing, it is the absurdity of the notion that the shelter worker was acting out of suspicion of the legitimacy of the rescue.

Yes, yes, I am well aware that I need to establish a rock-solid relationship with every shelter on God's green earth and provide them written proof that I am not a sausage factory (although it appears that they don't care).

This is NOT about me. This is about a guinea pig that had a home and instead wound up as food.

I am NOT taking this as a personal attack. What I find offensive is the fact that you refuse to acknowedge the fact that some shelters do not act in the best interest of the animals in their care and instead are only considering the most expedient option.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:36 pm

"What I find offensive is the fact that you refuse to acknowedge the fact that some shelters do not act in the best interest of the animals in their care and instead are only considering the most expedient option."

Did I not type in caps MAYBE THEY DON'T (care)?

And I've asked if they can screen haven't I? You are bent on the fact they do not have the best interest, have you considered the shelter policy and or law? If they cannot screen, snakefood is irrelevant.

I'm sorry they said they'd hold for you and didn't. That needs to be addressed with them to get to the bottom of why.

Unless you get more involved there and have your questions answered, you'll always be angry.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:40 pm

For the life of me, I can't see what you are worked up about

1) The fact that a guinea pig died needlessly
2) The fact that this shelter, and other shelters, have resisted my efforts to find homes for the animals in their care.
3) The fact that i4u is making excuses for shelters and blaming rescues for the shelters' poor decisions regarding the welfare of their animals.

Most of all, I guess I'm disappointed. It's not that I expected shelters to fall down on their knees and thank me for driving all over hell and creation to take animals off their hands. But I did NOT expect them to resist me.

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Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 1:16 pm

You should understand what I was referring to -- your being worked up about Nuts' comments.

Obviously you are upset with the incident. The thrust of the discussion was to try to avoid it in the future, not dwell on what happened.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 1:37 pm

ok, I understand the idea that shelters and rescues need to come to an agreement about holds and exchange policies.

But I'm just not willing to leave it at that, because I think these situations bring up some larger questions, for example:

Who exactly are we "rescuing" from? Rescuers are discourraged from taking private surrenders and from rescuing pigs from even the worst pet shops. So we wait until the shelter gets them, and if the shelters don't want us to rescue them, then what? Should we then at least entertain the idea that, if we take private surrenders or even rescue some of the sick ones from pet stores, they have less chance of winding up as snake food?

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Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 7:30 pm

I'm not a rescuer, so I don't really have a lot to say, so feel free to ignore my post.

I live in a small (5,000ppl) town and 2 local and nearby pet stores sell guinea pigs. The local shelter has NO guinea pigs there. Ever. I called them when I was looking into getting pigs, and they said that they rarely get them. A local feed store took in 3 dumps and keeps them in her store as pets. I'm pretty sure another store gets dumps, but I'm almost positive that they either turn them into snake food or use them as breeding stock.

I do understand that rescues should take shelter animals, as they can be put down. I completely get that. But what about people like me? Someone who lives in a small town and someday might want to change the lives of a few of the pigs in my town? There's no shelter animals, so I don't rescue at all? Like I said, I have no experience taking in unwanted animals, but Char's concerns interest me, because someday I plan on rescuing/fostering unwanted pigs and we have the same questions.



Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 9:36 pm

Charybdis - you are making this personal. From your comments I assume you would prefer that Nuts censor herself and not mention rescues/shelter situations that are less than stellar. She is only mentioning personal experiences that help explain why shelters have the policies they do. (You must be aware of doubtful rescues(collectors posing as, for instance) giving legit rescues a bad name, youself.) Because she has related less than positive example of firsthand knowledge you interpret it as a slam. It's her experience, nothing more. And it is a perspective that helps people to understand policies at OTHER shelters. Again, it's not about you.

I have no idea how well you know the shelter - all I know is you bring food to the rabbits weekly(note - I may have nissed pertinent info here or in other threads). I have no idea what written agreements you have or who you deal with. But it doesn't matter. This isn't about you personally. It's Nut's perspective of shelters and rescues based on her perspective. And in case you missed it. Nuts does rescue. So why would she intentionally slam herself. She is speaking a truth. You seem to want a cover-up or a lovefest of rescues, turning a blind eye to the problems that exist with some of them..

At this point you are like a dog chasing it's tail - going in circles and getting nowhere fast.

Yeah, a crappy thing happened to you. And guess what - it will probably happen again and again to rescuers all over. Insight from a shelter worker AND a rescuer may be help prevent some of these reoccurrences. If this thread was only for venting and the only response you wanted were outrage and sympathy - you should have said so right off the top.

Personally I think the perspective from the shelter's side is invaluable and could be used to improve the rescue/shelter relationship in the future.


Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 10:07 pm

You seem to want a cover-up or a lovefest of rescues, turning a blind eye to the problems that exist with some of them..
So i4u is accusing me of looking down on other rescues (ie. the dog-cat rescue) and Pinta thinks I want a lovefest. So let me correct both impressions in bold print so that I can find it when I need to quote myself again later:

I am well aware that there are terrible, irresponsible people masquerading as rescuers and causing harm to animals. Did I not begin this thread by expressing outrage that the PHS pigs were stolen by a collector posing as a rescue? Furthermore, anyone who knows me knows why I started rescuing guinea pigs--that it was in direct response to what I feared was a rescue gone bad in my area.
the only response you wanted were outrage and sympathy
Pinta, scroll up 3 posts and read what I wrote:
ok, I understand the idea that shelters and rescues need to come to an agreement about holds and exchange policies.
But I'm just not willing to leave it at that, because I think these situations bring up some larger questions
Does it still sound like I'm just pitching for sympathy here? Or could it possibly be that I would really like to hear some input on the broader issues implicated--such as why we go around slamming pet store workers but somehow the bad things that shelters do gets swept under the rug?

I'm not interested in your sympathy. I don't even care whether or not you're outraged. I want to hear what people think. .

I will ask again. Why do we go around shrieking about pet stores with poor conditions who sell guinea pigs to anyone, yet completely refuse to discuss shelters with poor conditions who sell guinea pigs to anyone (and for considerably less $$ at that) except to say that the rescue needs to develop a better relationship with the shelter?

Is that all there is to say about it?

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Post   » Sun Feb 02, 2003 10:16 pm

I have a lot to say about it, and started a couple of posts but got distracted, so gave up.

Yes, we are off the personal attacks now, and let's talk about the issues. They are very interesting issues and very much worth discussing. Especially given PHS's brand new adoption policies: "educate not interrogate; no holds" policy. Basically, any moron can now adopt an animal from PHS. Just as long as you are over 18 and don't seem to be on drugs or alcohol, it's yours.

Also, PHS will now be doing same day adoptions for small animals, including guinea pigs, at Petsmarts in the area. One of Ken White's pet projects (the PHS executive director). They want their "numbers" down. I'd like to know who will be educating the potential adopters. They can't even get the care or the sexing right at the shelter.

I have a lot more to say about this issue, but it will have to wait . . .


Post   » Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:01 am

"except to say that the rescue needs to develop a better relationship with the shelter?"

Bingo. You can go in every day but unless you question policy, develop a relationship and find out what your rights are and/or how to make changes, all is lost.

You may not like something they do (price, it's $5 for a cat and $10 for a dog at Martinez. Okay, $2 or $4 for a guinea pig sucks, but let's also compare longevity of said animals, which may very well be the reason for the price. Talk about raising it and find out why it was set where it is.)

Wire bottom cages --- hopefully they have vari-kennels and the knowledge to use them, but if not, possibly donate the the smaller petshop cages you get for use AT THE SHELTER. (not for new adopters, but kept there for use when needed) In a facility that answers to the county for every penny spent, donated supplies are a God send. (leave hay & pellets, and keep on coming with those fresh veggies)

Sexing -- teach them, provide pictures and hands on training with your foster pigs.

If you personally cannot take on every guinea pig they get, you'll need to address education. Perhaps for private adoptions from the shelter you can provide your flyers, GL Caring for your Guinea Pig, the Cavy Cages brochure from Teresa's site. Make up a dozen or so packets for them to have on hand and master copies so they can make more.

Again, let me say, if they CANNOT screen, there is not much of anything you can do without going to the board of commissioners to see about getting laws or ordinances changed. Good luck, a few places here have been fighting to get the shelters to stop selling pets to research dealers for years. Many people don't care about any animals -- fact of life.

Does the shelter have a small animal room? If not, are they willing to call you everytime a guinea pig comes in so you can pick them up same day? Our shelter doesn't keep small animals at all --- I take guinea pigs and hamsters, another group rescues all rabbits. Birds and rats are helped by another lady. Techinically, the species should be kept in separate rooms, dogs & cats are, no room for small critters and they don't know much about them anyway so they're glad to have them go rescue. Thankfully we are talking small dumps so none have needed to be turned away.

But on the other hand, if the rescue is full and can't take the guinea pig today, which is preferable - putting them down first day at the shelter, or giving them time to find homes? (could be a decent home, could be a home with one neglected pig already, or it could be snake food ... no way to know since we can't screen) What choice would you like them to make?

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Post   » Mon Feb 03, 2003 12:00 pm

Working with the shelter on education, policies, etc. etc. is something that Jackie and I have been doing for quite a while with both PHS and the Santa Clara Valley Humane Society, both very large and prominent shelters--Jackie much more so than I on education. She's was/is an official volunteer/eduator at PHS.

I find one of the same fundamental problems with shelters as I do with pet stores. That is a high degree of employee (or volunteer) turnover. One spends a lot of time developing relationships and educating, only to be faced with new people every six months or so.

Yes, there are a few bad rescues and some are better than others, but overall, most rescues are on the pretty much the same page. The battle shouldn't be on cleaning up the rescues to make them all acceptable. Look what happened in Virginia when they tried to "fix" the rescues via legislation. Many, many good rescues are not 'out of business,' so to speak.

PHS is now the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), so you would think by definition they would want to do more than just improve their numbers. Now, I know they have a lot of programs, etc. But, fundamentally, with no screening, they become the pet store. The animals are going back into the same cycle of abandonment from whence they came.

So, yes, to Chary's point about why not rescue from pet stores as well and keep just as much out of the shelters? Good question. I guess in part, it depends on the dynamics where you live. But, still, the shelters overall agenda, mission and business model are significantly different from the pet store's.


Post   » Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:50 pm

Ok, keeping in mind the strong reaction here on this topic, I decided to try to mend the reationship with the shelter supervisor.

Today, I was there feeding the rabbits and I asked her if there were any pigs. She said that there was an asked me to follow her to the back. There was a pretty pair of sows there--a Peruvian and Dutch American.

While I was inspecting them, I explained to her a little bit about what I do with rescued pigs--that they are treated for parasites and live inside in large cages, and that I screen & educate adopters. I told her that I knew that there were bad rescues out there, and that she was welcome to come by and see mine.

She held the pigs for me this time while I located a foster. I offered to pay the fee up front but she assured me that it wouldn't be necessary. I could tell that she was trying to make up for the other time.

So, although I still believe that the reaction here was a bit one-sided, understanding the shelter's skepticism about rescues has at least helped me with an approach to get them to work with me.

We are working with them now on getting the adoption fee raised. They are not very receptive, and insist that it could result in the shelter becoming overcrowded. So until they change that, guinea pigs will continue to be sold for 4$ and I will have to check every week.

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Post   » Thu Feb 06, 2003 11:23 pm

That's awesome, Charybdis. I'm glad that you two started opening the lines of communication- it can only lead to good things.


Post   » Thu Feb 06, 2003 11:24 pm

"So, although I still believe that the reaction here was a bit one-sided..."

Chary, perhaps it is "one sided" as I have been privledged enough to work and be educated by wonderful people in a facility that does indeed care. I've had a Humane Society director drive 130 miles (one way) to deliver 9 guinea pigs to me so she could personally check out my rescue.

I've talked to other facilities about what they require in order to work with rescue and been in those who can't wait to hand over a substantial number of animals to just anyone.

In retrospect, I should have probably specified that many of the poor rescue situations I've seen involve cats and dogs. Naturally, there are more uncontained (no cage) messes, more *required* fees for licensing, neutering, vaccines etc that don't get taken care of because the rescue doesn't have funds, etc etc.

I am sorry you had the frustrations you have encountered with these shelters, I'm sorry I added to your frustration by sharing the truths I see here on a very frequent basis.

Next time you are frustrated with them, try to remember they've been frustrated 100 times today okay?


Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:46 am

I understand that, i4u, but I also believe that, in order to not be part of the problem, they need to try to keep animals out of the hands of irresponsible people. So this includes screening (yes they are allowed to) and raising the adoption fee.

You sound like you work with a great humane society that really cares about the animals. Please try to remember that not all of them are like that. I know you see yourself as defending the good people who work in shelters. That's understandable. But let's not let animals get hurt because the less reputable shelters are too "frustrated" to deal with rescues or simply cannot be bothered.

Hopefully, I've put this in the least offensive terms possible.


Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 1:29 am

Not offensive at all Chary. One clarification, I work at a county "pound", the Humane Society was completely unrelated to where I work, but took the time to drive to check me out. I am sorry you don't see it the same, but I find checking out the rescues as being a positive, even when it's me. If you think about it, it's really not all that different than screening adopters. (which we cannot do, mainly for discrimination issues)

I do know not all shelters are good and believe me, I know not all care, especially about guinea pigs, but I will maintain it's our job, as the rescue to build the bridge and establish communication.

One facility cross state told me they planned to euthanize 11 pigs on "evidence hold" last fall, and I was told point blank that the director didn't care for guinea pigs, they're in rough shape, yada yada. Over the phone I did very little to change his thoughts after explaining several key issues that needed to be changed (wire bottoms, food) And these things weren't changed after dozens of phone calls.... (happened at AC along with several 7 females getting pregnant while there)

Long story and a million frustrations, I was finally able to rescue these animals (after being checked out via phone reference from my AC). My friend and I went to this facility to pick up these animals (except one was left behind, in the wire bottom cage, for foster pick up)

I asked the foster what she thought about the facility only to find out that the guy we had giggled at only hours before (he put on HUGE leather gloves to help us load these guinea pigs into our carriers) had taken it upon himself to find a laundry basket after we left. He added the bedding & hay I left for the foster home and placed the little pig in there to wait for her ride, only a mere 2 hours from arriving.

On the one hand, I could have been pissed off that he didn't listen to me before, but as it turned out, he did hear me, then saw what we had set up. He did what he could then, better late than never.

If you are met with resistance, find out why and see if you can't turn it around. It may require jumping through hoops and answering questions; I hope that often it actually does, but remember, you'd do the same if they were to apply for your critters.

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