Imagine a baseball game where the batter hits the ball and at the crack of the bat the crowd cheers, declares victory and leaves the stadium before they ever know if it was a home run or a foul. Makes no sense, right?
That is exactly the type of behavior that is happening in dog rescue. Facebook pages are covered with images of shelter dogs in dire need. The need to save them is real and there are people who play upon this.
Some have found that in the rescue business, boarding kennels are a way to gain money off of the backs of homeless dogs in need while others use them for their offsite hoarding. People see on a thread that a dog is safe and assume all is right and move on to the next one.
Unfortunately, too many times dogs sit stuck in boarding. They are being used to raise money, abandoned and need saving once more while premature victory celebrations occur.
A number of ‘saved’ dogs from the Miami Dade Animals Services (MDAS) are found weeks or months later stuck in boarding kennels. Rescues pulling the dogs are approved rescues that can take dogs from the Miami facility, however there is little to no oversight for rescues as well as for profit boarding kennels regarding shelter dogs specifically.
This means that rescues can pull from animal control and once they leave the building the dogs have no one to advocate for them if they end up stuck in boarding, because no one is really keeping track of their fate. It is a scammers and offsite hoarder’s dream situation. All a scammer or offsite hoarder needs to do is find an approved rescue willing to pull for them and people to give donations. The scammers line their pockets and the offsite hoarders get to hoard their pets on someone else’s property.
Recently, I spoke with a donor named Elizabeth Lehman. In 6 months, she had given $6,000 to help save dogs from MDAS. The fundraisers called Chipins stated legit rescues were involved, but the donations were funneled to individual’s Paypal addresses.
One dog, Minnie, was part of a group of shelter dogs with a $1,000 Chipin. Elizabeth donated believing the dogs would be safely placed into a legit rescue and eventually good homes. She discovered later that Minnie was sitting in boarding. What Elizabeth did next was to work with rescuers to get her out and into a home. When Minnie was removed from the kennel she was not in good shape according to her.
“…Once we got her she was taken to a vet. She had worms, a broken foot, three inch long nails, collapsed feet, had been eating rodents and was dehydrated. She was also bleeding vaginally and lactating. 2 vets said it appeared she had just had puppies but they could not prove it without the puppies. She was in boarding 4 months, enough time to get pregnant and wean a litter of puppies. No one will admit to any pitbull puppies.”
Miami is not the only place where dogs are being saved only to be dumped.
In the Houston, Texas area a nonprofit called The Forgotten Dog Advocates works to help animals left in boarding. A couple of dogs named Gwinn and Rowdy have been waiting in a boarding kennel for 6 years.
In Delaware, the Safe Haven Sanctuary was contracted for dog control in July and they still do not have an open, accessible facility for the public to view dogs. It is believed that many of their dogs are actually sitting in paid boarding kennels instead of the rescue facility and it’s unclear why.
If one does not care about the overall mental toll that stuffing dogs in boarding takes on them, think about the money. All of the money that is given to board the dogs could be going to save lives using legit nonprofit rescues instead of lining the pockets of the chipin makers. Ask questions, speak up, and always stick around to see where the ball lands… the dogs depend on you to watch the whole game.
For more on my interview with the donor you can read it hear on my personal blog at http://projectfifty-two.