Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

why do shelters make it nearly impossible to adopt an animal?

i have tried adopting from our "humane society" in the past but was turned down because i rented. another time, they wouldnt let us adopt a puppy because of its breed and i have kids. this was 2 different places. another "humane society" in dearborn mich, wont adopt out to smokers. and they'll only adopt large dogs out to ppl who own the home and have a privacy fence. so, i bought my dog and cat, and my sister in law bought her dog. everyone is happy, and well cared for. it just seems like these places WANT to euthanise. dont you think that taking a chance with a normal family is better than death for the animals? isnt a smokers home better than none at all? ok, so a dog might not live as long with a smoker... but ill bet if dogs can talk, they would all say they'd rather live a happy 10 years with a smoker then die in a shelter. i just find it very hard to believe that the majority of honest people could live up to the standards these places require


i wonder what ever happened to that lab shepard mix that was licking my son's fingers through the cage, yet was not appropiate for my family. i tried.

Update 2:

my point is, that with the amount of animals being killed every day, it just seems like they could loosen up a little bit. there are plenty of good homes out there, maybe not perfect, but, still good. i wanted to do the right thing and go to a shelter. i tried at 2 different shelters. i can provide (pay for)vet care, food, shelter, love, activity etc... but i was not good enough. im just saying, with the AVERAGE family, they have a chance. in a shelter, WAY less of a chance.

Update 3:

actually nekai, i tried at one shelter in westland michigan and they truned me down because i rented. so i lied at the place in ann arbor(with the shep mix) they refused us because of my son. my sis-in-law tried in dearborn (totally dif occasion) and they were approved until they came to her house and saw there chain link fence and that my bro smoked. that is IT. no other reasons.

Update 4:

btw, i shoulda mentioned this earlier, i bought my dog from an ad from a lady that was diagnosed with lupus right after buying the puppy. i would never buy from a pet store!

Update 5:

nekai: this dog was a puppy. i'd say 12-15 weeks old? lab/shep mix. i also told them that i grew up with a german shepard(which is true), i understand the breed and was prepared to train it. nope nope and nope. it was hyper but damm, a lil training and excersize...still a clean slate at that age!

28 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A small part of me can see where some of these shelters are coming from, but most of them definitely take it too far. I think the shelters are thinking of the worse case scenarios. But they need to stop and ask themselves this:

    If an animal lives its whole life being loved every day, being fed everyday and being properly taken care of, is it so bad if it dies at 10 years old from lung cancer because its owners are smokers? Or should we just euthanize it right away because only one person was interested in it and they happened to smoke?

    I hate that shelters are so picky. Don't freakin complain that you are over maximum capacity and are having to euthanize animals left and right if you require people to be saints to adopt one.

    I understand that they want the animals to have the best life possible, but a less than perfect life is better than none at all.

    It sounds like they wouldn't adopt out to Jesus himself if he didn't own his own home :)

    It is really frightening that you have to apply to adopt an animal, but ANYONE can have children. SCARY.

    Source(s): Vet tech 5+ years
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  • 1 decade ago

    Never heard of the smoking thing you can have kids and smoke. I would hate to live with a smoker but that sounds strange as a rule for an animal shelter. I can see the thing about renting but they should let you if you can provide proof you are allowed pets, many rental houses allow pets. That is rather sad that you wanted to help pets and were turned away but there are rules now to protect the animals in hopes they don't see them right back. What homes do they send these dogs too?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A lot of shelters are no-kill. The ones by my house don't euthanise any dogs. If the dog has been there over a month they trade it with another no-kill shelter.

    Most shelters make is so hard to adopt because they want the dog the have the best life possible. Dogs can get lung cancer from second-hand smoke and most big dogs need a ton of exercise, so it would make sense that they need a yard. The shelters are just being overprotective.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have two rescue dogs (rescued on two different occasions from two different locations) and I volunteer for a local rescue organization. Yes, some of the stipulations you mentioned are unreasonable (the smoking one specifically), the no children is not. We have several WONDERFUL dogs right now that simply can not be adopted to households that have young children. They would end up accidentally harming the child by knocking it over when the pup got excited. They are not saying anything negative about you, simply that the particular dog you are interested in isn't good with children.

    Most of our applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on what is needed for the dog. We've had to turn down some great homes to particular dogs because the family and the dog didn't match well, but we always tell them we'll consider them for [insert select few dog's names here] now or other dogs that don't have those specific problems in the future (or refer our approval to a nearby shelter that has dogs they might be interested in).

    Our rescue application is about 4 pages long, and must include references (3 non-family), the name of the vet you plan to use, and your landlord if you rent (and we DO CALL). The shelter I adopted one of my dogs from, required a written letter from your landlord stating they approve that specific pet, and their restrictions (be it weight, or breed). My German Shepherd was from a (kill) shelter and only required a copy of my drivers license for their records (proving my age and that I did adopt the dog)--he was $50.

    Some dogs DO need fenced in yards, others don't tolerate other dogs or cats, and some don't like children--just like people have varied personalities and characteristics so do dogs. My GSD and my Border Collie would never do well with a family not interested in extensive training. A Pug we currently have in rescue would do horrible with someone who was very active, since it's older and on the lazy side, but we still had a marathon runner who wanted a dog they could run at least 5 miles a day with put in an application on him. Once the adopter realized what they REALLY wanted in a dog, they knew the Pug wasn't for them, and ended up with a younger active breed (I believe a border collie mix), and they are very happy together.

    I personally would never put a Husky in a home without a fence, a Border Collie or other active working breed with a young busy family, or any dog with someone who lets them run free on their property or in the neighborhood (off leash sometimes for play and training is fine).

    ADD: most of the places to find dogs in my area are one of two types: a shelter/pound or a rescue organization. Lucky for us the shelters in my immediate area are non-kill and therefore a little more selective of who adopts their animals. The rescues are VERY particular and if you want the dog they want to KNOW it's something you've thought through and aren't just mesmerized by the puppy face. This "wait period" allows people to make an educated decision as to what they are getting into and the commitment involved, instead of a "he's so cute"mentality.

    The more applications locations get the picker they can be about the placement of their dogs. The GSD I adopted was in a kill shelter and they had NO application, just a donation was all that was required. These agencies don't WANT the dogs to get euthanized, but instead are trying to maximize the probability they truly are going to a good home, and won't be rehoused in a few months when the family decides they can't handle having a dog.

    I believe your area is probably a little to picky if it IS a kill shelter, since these dogs have a limited life in that shelter. As someone else mentioned, they may have a transfer program that allows the dogs to be moved from one shelter to another in hopes it finds the perfect home (my Border originally came from a shelter in KY).

    Source(s): Rescue worker; owner of two rescue dogs.
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    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I used to volunteer for a shelter and now I am a foster home for one. Dogs are surrendered or seized and almost all of them suffer some type of issue from it (regardless of what Cesar Millan says about dogs "living in the moment"). A shelter is responsible for the safety and well being of all the animals they adopt out and must take steps to protect the animals.

    If you rent 1. your landlord can change their mind about you being allowed to have a dog and the dog will wind up on the street or back in the shelter 2. If you wind up having to move the dog might wind up on the street or back in the shelter. When you own your own home those two issues are a lot less common.

    Big dogs in an apartment usually wind up underexercised and frustrated, which can lead to aggression. Some breeds of dogs are not good with kids. Rottweilers for example try to herd children and old people in the way they were bred to herd cattle, by slamming into them. Kid gets knocked over, starts to cry and mom is mad at the dog, dog winds up back in the shelter.

    I'll bet if dogs could talk they would say "put out that cigarette I'm choking and can't breathe!"

    Thousands of dogs are adopted out to great homes every day from Petfinder and local rescues and shelters. Pet stores do brisk business selling puppies because they don't care about the dogs, their health or well being. It's all about the $$.

    Just so you know, buying a dog from a backyard breeder or from a pet store supports the abuse and neglect of Puppymills.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think the shelters are trying to do the right thing, but unfortunately, they end up turning away good people. I would have to lie in order to get a cat from a shelter, because my cats are all indoor/outdoor and they only want indoor homes.

    They are also trying to avoid lawsuits by being very careful about what dogs they give to families with kids. God forbid the dog bites and the family sues because the shelter should have known that a shepherd mix COULD bite!

    As for the smoking thing, sorry, but I'm not really on your side there. I agree that it would be better for an animal to have a home with a smoker than not have a home at all, but smoking also can cause a lot of problems in pets, as it can in people. Smokers' pets can end up with asthma and emphysema (sp.?). But you're right--better a shorter life than no life at all.

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  • Shanna
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    While I don't agree with automatically turning down any family with kids because I believe that every family should be properly evaluating individually, you have to remember what the shelter has to deal with. You have to think about how many people drop dogs off at shelters and state that the dog doesn't get along with the kids or they don't have time for the dog anymore because of the kids. The shelter workers get sick of seeing this so to prevent it from happening again to the poor dog they make a blanket rule of "NO KIDS!"

    Like I said, I don't agree with those blanket rules because it does rule out a lot of good families, but I also understand where they are coming from. While it seems ridiculous to you, just try to understand that the workers there have seen and heard it all and have become more picky because of that. When you work in a shelter or rescue you start to really see just how awful many pet owners are and it makes you do things that used to seem stupid to you. I used to think shelter/rescue workers were fanatical and now I find myself to be very much like the ones I used to criticize. About the 100th time you pick up a neglected dog because someone had a baby and the dog is now forgotten you start to understand why places do this. I used to say that a dog was better off adopted to ANY family than dead and now I believe the opposite. There are so many horribly treated, neglected and abused dogs out there that death is preferable to many homes.

    I guess the moral of the story is to try not to be offended because it's really not an offense to you, it's the bad apples ruining it for everyone else. Next time you want to adopt, try to go through a resuce organization that has more time to evaluate a potential adopter separately and you will have a better chance, but you also have to remember that if you aren't in a home where you will be able to show stability for many years to come, you may be turned down wherever you go as it's the job of the rescue workers to make sure that dog won't have to go through another re-homing. Contrary to what many people believe, it's very traumatic for a dog to be uprooted and rehomed.

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    6 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is a method to be followed when animals are being put with a family. Shelters just want what is best for BOTH sides. They try to think realistically and thoroughly about the placement of the animal. I am a not proud smoker myself but my kids (dog and human) don't suffer... I take the bad habit outside. I don't smoke in the car either. Makes me feel better knowing that I am not contributing to anyone's future health problems or death.

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    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    This isn't as black and white as it may seem. All shelters, as you noted, all have different adoption policies.

    But for them to *want* to euthanize, what a thing to say.

    They make it difficult for anyone who doesnt show stability in their life to adopt a dog. While I think some policies are a little to strict, and that cases should be dealt wiht on an individula basis, I agree with the fact that they don't adopt to smokers, and sometimes, renters.

    What should happen to the dog if you're kicked out of your place, and you only have a certain amount of time to find a home that allows pets? Where will your pets go in the meantime? Sure, you may be an exception, but there are MANY people who dump off their pets because they couldn't find a place to rent that allowed their pet.

    THAT is unacceptable. Your pet goes where YOU go.

    But to use the excuse that you had to "buy" your pets (you and your sister-in-law) because a shelter wouldn't adopt to either of you... come on, there's more to all of this than you're letting on.

    ADD: Could it have been with the Shep mix, and your son, that s/he may have been a biter, or not good with kids? You have to understand when it does come to the children, they won't adopt for the protection of your child.

    I do the same. Most of our dogs do not go to homes with small children.

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