Thought everyone might find this interesting.Norwich Bulletin - 8/18/2001
Know Where Your Money Is Going
Rescue organizations owe the general public and the animals they rescue one thing above all others: that the organization is responsible to ensure adopted animals never reproduce. We are bound morally, if not legally, to follow this rule. Placing animals into homes is not enough â€“ the answer to the worldâ€™s pet overpopulation problem is spay and neuter.
Helping Paws is a small organization, and like other small organizations throughout the country, we struggle to pay our veterinary bills. Our policy is no male four months or older go to a home unaltered and females around five months.
While our veterinarians do not do early pediatric altering of kittens and puppies, we do have our adopters sign a contract and send in the spay/neuter certificate when the animal is old enough. While we have not had 100% success, we are in the 90 percentile range.
So, as we struggle in our cause, you can imagine our frustration when our adopters tell us how they support North Shore Animal League. This New York based group seems to go all over the country with puppies and kittens for â€œadoption.â€ They have proclaimed themselves the largest adoption agency in the world.
And, Friends of Animals recently did an expose on them â€“ because there are more and more dogs roaming the streets of New York, thin, dirty, pregnant or in heat, wearing their North Shore animal tags.
There are also telephone calls coming in to many organizations (including Helping Paws) from people who adopted puppies and kittens from North Shore and no longer want them. When asked why they are not contacting the organization they adopted from (Helping Paws has a â€œonce a Helping Paws rescue, always a Helping Paws rescueâ€ policy), the people tell us North Shore does not accept returns.
While small organizations concentrate on adult dogs and cats as well as puppies and kittens, North Shore, who has assets approaching 54 million dollars, told the Associated Press in May of 2001, that â€œshelters that take in older dogs and cats that have less chance of being adopted are running with their hearts and not with their heads.â€ I would just like to know since when is rescue work not done with the heart?
Also, while these same small organizations are running courtesy of an all volunteer staff, the top five executives at North Shore collected salaries and fringe benefits in 1999, ranging from $95,000 to $340,000!
And, most important, while we small groups are spaying and neutering all that we can, North Shore, with fourteen veterinarians on staff, has not made pre-adoption sterilization a priority.
When Helping Paws opens its sanctuary doors, we hope to have veterinarians volunteering time. Even if that does not happen, we will spay and neuter every animal that is adopted from A Safe Place BEFORE it goes into its home. We may have to take less animals at first, but our main goal is to make sure we do not inadvertently add to the animal population crisis.
North Shore Animal League has been a part of many adoption days with certain Connecticut groups and pounds. Northshore actually goes to rural shelters across the United States â€œsaving orphansâ€ by offering cash grants for puppies.
They then proclaim they rescue nationwide in their direct-mail fundraising appeals. Northshore has been sued for misleading the general public into believing that their donations to Northshore would benefit local shelters. The trouble with that is most of the general public still believes they help animals and shelters everywhere.
Northshore could be a true leader in rescue, if it chose to be. They could and should alter every animal before it goes to a new home. Friends of Animals, another New York based group (with a faction in Connecticut), has been operating a low-cost breeding control program since 1957 (for more information, call, 1-800-321-PETS).
Northshore could help smaller organizations set up pre-adoption spay and neuter programs, and their top executives could make a little less money - $340,000 would alter an awful lot of animals. So before you write your next check to help animal rescue, please remember that bigger does not necessarily mean better.