“super-adoption events” – I am seriously uncomfortable here.

OK, you all know how pro-rescue I am, right? SUPER SUPER SUPER pro-rescue. If I invented a sandwich, it would be pro-rescue roast beef; my lettuce would be pro-rescue radicchio. For serious. I love me some rescue dogs.

But this? This I do not like.

Here’s the website and here’s why I am not sanguine.

The SPCA of Connecticut (which, by the way, is not a Connecticut government shelter, unlike my  – gotta get in a plug! – Hartford Pound; please go adopt) is bringing up 200 or 300 puppies from shelters in the southern states. The puppies are trucked up here and brought to a pet supply store and they are adopted out for $325 plus a $20 adoption application fee. So basically $350.

This in and of itself makes me feel a little squicky, because I don’t care what you tell me, there is no freaking way you’re adequately interviewing 300 people in a single day. You’re pricing the puppies at a rate that puts you into the “rescue” category, which should mean that you’re providing a TON of support to the entire process. This is not a $5 pound adoption.

However, I would not get too hot under the collar were it not for an additional event that is planned, an “Early Bird Adoption Event” the day before the big one.

The Early Bird event is a chance for some people to pay additional money ($250 extra) to be allowed to shop early and get the cutest puppy. Let’s not sugar-coat it; that’s what it is. If you pay $700, you can get the youngest, cutest, whitest puppy from the hundreds of tiny babies that have been brought in.

This is a puppy sale, people. I hate to say it but it is. If the exact same flyer was posted but it said “Perfect Puppiez Palace” at the bottom of it instead of SPCA of Connecticut, we’d all be screaming about it. This is not about matching the correct puppy with a family, which is what rescues are supposed to do. This is not about getting maximum adoptions and the lowest possible euthanasia rate, which is what pounds are supposed to do. This is about charging people as much as show breeders get for their puppies for the privilege of going into a room with 200 puppies and pointing to the one that looks the cutest to them. That’s a sale.

Am I off here? Has my curmudgeonly nature taken over my soft squishy side? Slam me in the comments. But I gotta say, I am not OK with what this group is doing.

14 thoughts on ““super-adoption events” – I am seriously uncomfortable here.

  1. I agree that there’s no way they can do adequate screening at an event like that. And gee, if there were such an “overpopulation problem”, they wouldn’t need to truck puppies up from the South, would they?

    I guess my question would be what kind of screening does the SPCA of Connecticut normally do? Is their approval process normally any more than filling out an application, or is that all they’re doing anyway?

    And $700 for a shelter dog? That’s just ridiculous. But there are people who will do it. I really wish I knew how we can educate John Q. Public about where and how to get a dog. I don’t disagree with adopting from a shelter at all; I certainly do disagree with paying $700 to do it.

    • There are overcrowded shelters in some parts of the U.S., and nearly empty ones in others. I’m totally behind overwhelmed shelters working with others that have the capacity to take on extra dogs, but this ‘event’ seems fishy to me.

      A think a lot of shelters are trying to become the ‘new pet shops’. In other words, they’re setting themselves up as competition to breeders (nevermind that they rely on people breeding for their own ‘stock’.) That is one reason why the rise of AC ‘confiscation’ of breeders’ dogs (especially for reasons like ‘pet limits’ and not because of any actual neglect) is such a scary development — they get (purebred, in demand) dogs for free, and are basically selling them for profit.

  2. They also say “all advance or online applications require a $20 non-refundable application fee.” That is even when they don’t have an event running.

    I don’t have time to look everything up again (it came up on a list I’m on awhile back and I looked in to it), but if you do some searching about “Frederick Acker”, “Animal Adoption Network” and “Ct Spca” there is a lot of info out there. He was charged with abuse and neglect at one point for the shelter he was running (under the Name Animal Adoption Network which became CT SPCA). There are many anecdotal complaints about him personally, too.

    And on another note, this type of event is why so many people in Ct get upset about “imported” dogs. They can’t be properly screened, vetted/quarantined and found the best possible home with enough support given to the adopter so they don’t end up in Hartford with a 10 day wait to be PTS. This gives the rescues that do it right but bring dogs up from the south a bad name.

  3. I totally agree with what you’re saying here. I was recently at an adoption event by a local rescue at our local pet store and it really turned me off when I asked their adoption fee and was told$250, but then when interested in one of the dogs told because it was “pure bred” it would actually be $350.

    If the dog was a well bred “purebred” it’s breeder would have found it a good forever home, or it would have gone back to the breeder if the original adoptee could no longer care for it. If the dog ends up at rescue it’s monetary value is really no different than any other dog in my opinioin. They all deserve great forever homes, but their adoption fee should be based on the care, transport, and adoption cost not the breed or whether they are “pure bred”.

    • There’s no reason for a shelter to charge more to ‘adopt’ (buy) a purebred puppy. Good breeders charge more because they’re pouring thousands into the parents and in their overall care of their lines — the shelter is getting them basically for free like they would any mixed pup off the street.

      The concept of purebred shelter dogs being more ‘valuable’ than the mixes may be a reason why many shelters refuse to work with breed rescues… they don’t want to be robbed of the ‘valuable dogs’ that they could make more money off of, because purebreds are always in more demand.

      • P.S. — Also, it’s the height of stupidity for a shelter to charge as much as breeder/pet shop for their dogs… why should a person shell out as much for a pup with unknown history from a shelter like they would for a pup from a breeder (that would ideally come with more benefits)? It makes no sense.

      • I don’t strictly have a problem with “purebred” (they are shelter dogs after all) dogs of less common breeds being adopted out by shelters for a slightly higher fee. We have a shelter around here that does it calls it their “Breed Musketeers” program, and they’re upfront that it’s a way to make more money, which they do in fact, desperately need. They spay/neuter, vaccinate, microchip, and FeLV test, and they need money to do that. I don’t begrudge them an extra fifty bucks off a “Rare” dog if it means they’re better able to fund their low-cost ($10/cat) TNR program, if they’re better able to rehab/treat sick animals, if they’re better able to care for their animals.

  4. I agree, and in fact raised this issue a while ago on the Pet Connection blog – only to be told that basically, it was “better” for the dogs to be adopted by anyone who had the money, even if the dog might eventually be re-surrendered.

    I also have issues with “rescues” that take the small, cute, healthy, young, easily-adoptable dogs out of publicly-funded shelters (pounds) and adopt those dogs out themselves – often for much more money that the pound charges. Again, I’ve been told it’s in the “best interest” of the dog.


  5. I share your unease. We have a “no-kill” shelter in my area that by some reports goes to dog auctions and gets “puppy mill” dogs cheap then “adopts” them.
    Our local shelter is on the up and up – they don’t import dogs, they did get about 10 katrina dogs but I don’t think that counts. and they do adoptions for about $200 which gets you a dog that is microchipped, spayed/neutered, totally up to date on shots and might have had a little obedience training thrown in from some of the volunteers at the shelter – I call that one big bargain!

    • A lot of people seem to be blurring the line between ‘adopting/rescuing’ and outright ‘buying’ recently. Whenever I hear people saying how they ‘rescued’ a dog from a pet store by GOING IN THERE AND BUYING IT because they felt bad for it, I just cringe. In my mind, that’s not any different than someone doing it out of ignorance — I think it’s actually worse. They’re still rewarding the puppy mills, either way.

      I’m sure the shelter believes they are ‘rescuing’ the dogs they are buying from the auction. Even as their money goes straight into supporting the very industry they hate so much. But on the other hand, I can totally understand the desire to keep dogs from being sold into puppy mills by buying them out of those places. It’s not an easy issue to vote one way or another on, though.

  6. Careful to note this also that if you’re going up against dog legislation in the state they can count those in their numbers also! They did it out here in California to increase the number they say that’s in the shelter but really the increase came from Katrina dogs coming into the state. (not that I don’t mind helping out those dogs but pleeeaaazzze, they don’t count as local) Oh, and $350-$700 for a shelter dog???!!! Come on, let’s scare away a few more good, honest homes for those puppies. You have a right to be upset and get the word out, ultimately it will affect your dog laws in the state.

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