Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Transporting / Stealing

I want to discuss transporting a dog for rescue here. With the advent of the social networking on the internet, many new people are coming out of the woodwork offering to help with both transporting dogs and fostering dogs. Big problem -- they don't get it, don't understand what we do in rescue, why we do it and how it has to be done. They read about rescue, they suddenly are sure they want to help and then cause big heartaches and headaches for rescues when they pull some stupid stunt.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Recently a rescue in New England asked for help in transporting a small dog from a shelter to a foster home they had all lined up. A person jumped up on the internet & said "Yes, I'll do it." This person had transported for another rescue before, so was deemed reliable and trustworthy. What happened was this -- the transporter got to the shelter to pick up the small dog, decided on the way to the foster home that she "might know someone that wanted this dog" and just took the dog home with her. KEPT IT. Won't return the calls from the rescue, refuses to turn over the dog she kept.

Now, there are legal issues here to be considered. First, shelters that release a dog to a rescue do so on legal contracts, stating the RESCUE is now the legal owner of said dog. If the tranporter insteads KEEPS the dog, then they are, by all legal standards, guilty of stealing the dog. No different than if they broke into the rescue's own home, stole the dog from the living room and kept it. STEALING is stealing. IF this dog now bites someone, or runs away & shows up at a shelter (microchipped) or gets into a fight with another dog, the rescue is liable. Yet the rescue doesn't even have the dog. The transporter does.

Rescues don't have tons of money to spend to file lawsuits to get the dog back -- which is what people like this count on.

No rescue goes out on the street to drag people in to volunteer with them -- people offer their help, want to volunteer, come to the rescue and say "Hey, let us help you!"
And rescues are happy for the help -- many rescues out there even pay for costs incurred like gas, tolls and even lunches for transporters. All the paperwork is decided on, set up & legally taken care of, between the rescue and the shelter ahead of time. The transporter simply shows up at the shelter at a designated time, picks up the paperwork and the dog and leaves for the foster home.

So now I'm wondering -- why do people offer to help then cause more issues like this? Why does someone think they have the right to steal a dog from a rescue and keep it or rehome it themselves? Why bother to offer help at all if instead you do nothing but cause serious issues?

The legal issues here just astound me -- I guess I just don't understand why someone would think its ok to steal a dog -- anyone's dog but especially a rescue dog owned by the rescue?? Sadly this isn't even the first time I've heard this -- I've heard stories of people doing it before but now its hitting close to home. And another case happened just last week with someone else in rescue who's rescue dog was kept by the transporter. WRONG, its WRONG to do this.

Have things gotten so out of whack in this world that this is considered by anyone to be an "ok" thing to do??

It is hard enough to do rescue correctly when it all works well and runs smoothly. But to have to deal with this just isn't right. I sincerely hope the dogs in these situations end up in the right hands and that these people STOP thinking they know so much more than the rescues do and STOP thinking its ok to steal a rescue's dog. And I hope that the rescues pursue this, and publicize the people who do these kinds of things.


  1. I am wondering why this rescuer did not use a USDA regulated, DOT and MC licensed dog transport? There are many of them out there and I know of one that takes exceptional care of the dogs that ride w/ them.

    I hear of the horrible things a lot of these dogs go through on volunteer transport and the stories of lost or stolen dogs on the internet are numerous, however, I can never seem to find a negative thing on the web about any of the licensed dog transports that run from my area to the New England area.

  2. It is truly unfortunate that you had to go through all this. Honestly, I can't understand why someone would do that, seeing as how there are so many animals in need of homes; however, not all of us volunteers are bad. Honestly, I was a little offended by some of your comments. As a college student who has literally spent thousands of dollars on treatments for parasites/mange/cancer on rescues (then eats ramen noodles) as well as countless evenings reading and administering medicines all night, I completely understand how hard it is to rehabilitate a seriously ill animal, and then find him a home, hoping that they will love and take care of him as well as you did. I would be BEYOND livid if, for whatever reason, the pet did not make it to its forever home. Please don't write us all off as dog-stealing lunatics. I know I am not part of an established rescue group, but my family and I have worked hard to establish a relationship with a reliable veterinarian/family friend who in turn offers us a discount for some volunteer hours.

    On another note, I stumbled upon your web site and was brought to tears by some of your before/after akita pictures. I personally am the companion of my lazy and spoiled akita, Maya. I can't imagine anyone mistreating abusing her the way some of those dogs are. I know it may sound ignorant, but I had never seen an abused akita before. Most of the dogs we see are common breeds. It's hard to see such a majestic creature broken because of some ignorant fool. I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you for all your amazing work.