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Shelter Adoption Restrictions

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
The "Poor Puppy" thread made me think of this...

A few days before Ruby found her way into our lives, we had visited a few local animal shelters with the intention of getting a puppy. My husband travels quite alot and we were looking for something substantial enough to be a guard dog when it got older, but good with kids as well. We decided we needed a puppy because a full grown dog would be too intimidating for my youngs kids. So we found a sweet 16 week old lab and asked for the application. We were told that because we had children under 6, we could not have an animal under 6 months. Period.

I did quite a bit of research on the reasons why shelters might have this policy. They cite the facts that puppies and kittens scratch or nip and the children might have animosity towards the animal and vice versa.

Well now we have a houseful of kittens and my children are wonderful with them. The 3 year old is gentle and, although she is covered in scratches , has never once complained. Once she got scratched pretty badly, and you could tell she wanted to cry, but sucked it up. Now she shows her scratches to anyone who will listen saying "Look what the kittens gave me," like they're presents. The 17 month old keeps a respectful distance and the kittens give her a wide berth. The kittens have had free reign for a week or so and no problems.

Anyway, long post...but what are your opinions about the no pets under 6 months in houses with children under 6? You'd think animal shelters would be trying to adopt out the animals to good homes despite the ages. A parent knows their children and , I hope, would know whether or not the kids would be kind to the animal and be allowed to make the decision to adopt on their own...
post #2 of 27
well I understand there are many many irresponsible parents... but as a child I was born into two cat s and a GSD and by sixth months another dog ... I never hurt them( okay the cats ran fast when I learned to crawl/.//
post #3 of 27
I completly understand your frustration with this. I have a daughter that is now 7 but a few years ago we were looking for a puppy and you could not get anywhere when we told them our kids ages. She is so gentle with our animals and always has been. I feel more comfortable bringing a puppy into my home that we can raise the way we want them. An older dog will bring old habits into a home and that makes me nervous.
post #4 of 27
While YOUR kids might be fine with younger then 6 months old pet, the shelters have seen too many times where a family with kids under 6 yrs old get a puppy/kitten and then in a short time, that animal is dumped at the shelter because it bit or scratched the child.

They do NOT want the animals to continue being adopted and returned and adopted and returned. I can understand their concerns.

When breeding my rexes, I was cautious in placing in houses with younger kids (rexes are small cats to start) and I have to really know the family to place them younger then 6 yrs old - I don't want a tug of war fighting between the kids.

First of all labs are NOT guard dogs - they may or may not bark when someone rings the door bell, but if you think a lab will keep a person from breaking into your house, think again They will lick the stranger to death first. Labs are very much family/kids dogs, but not guard dogs.

I'd contact the breed rescue groups and explain your situation and see if they have any older dogs that are kid friendly or maybe the rescue group has someone in your area that you can visit first and interact and then see how things go.

I hate to recommend just getting a pup from an ad in your paper, but I'm sure most of those people don't care if your kids are under 6 yrs old when they are selling pups - most are backyard breeders. But going that route you may wind up with an unhealthy temperment or other health problems because the dogs are not screened.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
I guess I'll clarify a bit. We are not planning on getting a dog anymore. At the time we were considering, we did not have Ruby and her kittens. She found us a few days later. Perhaps in the future we'll adopt a dog, but right now, no vacancy!
post #6 of 27
There is a rescue near me that have a similar rule - while I Can understand it in some cases, i do think it is something that should be looked at on a case by case basis rather than have a blanket rule - this shelter have hundreds of cats and dogs, and do seem to be denying some of them a good home (they have a couple of other blanket policies that i don't agree with as well.)
post #7 of 27
The Humane Society in our town is the same. We found a cute fuzzy black puppy there a few years ago, he was a chow/sheperd cross and was about 3 months old. We filled out the papers and they saw that I has a (then) 2 year old and told us their policy....BUT....my (then) 13 year old daughter was one of their best volunteers. She was Master at Arms of the Junior Humane Society so they let us have him.
He-Grinch-became the BEST little kids dog ever! To this day, he grew to be a big black fuzzy dog and he will let the kid (now 6) do anything to him! He has worn more then his fair share of doll and human clothes. He has been a pillow. He has been a horse. Best of all they grew up together and they have learned together. Puppies nip and scratch. Kids can be a little roiugh sometimes...in our case it all balanced out.
post #8 of 27
We have a 6 year old lab mix, and recently got a puppy from puppy rescue. I must say I totally forgot how "nippy" puppies are! Well, maybe our lab wasn't as nippy as the new puppy. But I'm glad that I only have to worry about the "feline" kids and the puppy rather than actual kids. Not just the nippiness, but the prey drive when little kids run away from puppies. Even older dogs forget sometimes when someone is running away from them and give chase.
post #9 of 27
Well maybe this is a thread where I can offer some help......

Most breed specific rescues that deal with the 'little dogs' (Shih Tzu, Maltese etc) are very strict about not wanting little kids around. Really little kids might pull the dogs tail and even injure a small dog. The retrievers for the most part are good natured beasts that regard a little kid swatting them in the face as attention form a human - oh goody!

But as a blanket rule, I disagree with it. I have seen dog-savvy little kids and I have seen 20-year olds sneak up on my dog from behind (fortunately he growled, which is a dog's way of saying 'bug off' and then everything was fine.

And yes, puppies have terribly sharp teeth. Those of us who have raised puppies do not miss the days of having to teach those cute little sweeties with razor sharp teeth where the comfort level is for human skin.

If I may offer some clarification, a dog chasing something is not necessarily prey drive. He may just be chasing because it is fun. As dog people know, the way to catch a dog is to run AWAY from him, because he will chase you. If you run TOWARDS him he will run away. All part of the game.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnasMom View Post
So we found a sweet 16 week old lab and asked for the application. We were told that because we had children under 6, we could not have an animal under 6 months. Period.

I did quite a bit of research on the reasons why shelters might have this policy. They cite the facts that puppies and kittens scratch or nip and the children might have animosity towards the animal and vice versa. ...
Did you specifically ask the shelter in question why they have this policy?? Before jumping to any conclusions of why the shelter has a blanket policy...I would have asked them as a courtesy.

Quote:
Anyway, long post...but what are your opinions about the no pets under 6 months in houses with children under 6?.
My personal opinion....you are talking about 1 shelter...did you try any others?? Each shelter has a right as the guardians of the animals in their care to have whatever policies they feel will be best for both the pet and the potential adoptor. Anyone who disagrees with the policy of a shelter/rescue can certainly find another shelter/rescue or start their own rescue with their own policies. As someone who has seen countless "puppies" dropped off at shelters because of "nipping"...I don't have a single issue with a blanket policy.

Quote:
You'd think animal shelters would be trying to adopt out the animals to good homes despite the ages. A parent knows their children and , I hope, would know whether or not the kids would be kind to the animal and be allowed to make the decision to adopt on their own...
You know your children...the shelter doesn't know you. They know the puppy...you don't. They have a right to determine their policies...you have a right to go to another shelter or rescue group if you do not agree with the policies of this particuliar shelter.

I truly have issues with blaming shelters as not wanting to find their dogs good homes....shelters do whatever they can to find the best possible homes that they can and to be honest...if no one gave up their animal or let it become a stray, we wouldn't have such a need for shelters.

Katie
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy'smomma View Post
. I feel more comfortable bringing a puppy into my home that we can raise the way we want them. An older dog will bring old habits into a home and that makes me nervous.
You can't raise a puppy to be the way you want any more than you can raise a child to grow up and have purple as their favorite color. There are absolutely NO guarantees that a puppy will not grow up to become aggressive, have a high prey drive, be destructive, etc. If that were the case, we wouldn't find so many young dogs with behavior problems dumped in shelters every single day across the country.

If you want to ensure that you have a dog that is gentle with children, not aggressive, etc.--your best bet IS an adult dog. Their "old habits" are known and you will immediately know if he/she is a good match for your family rather than getting a puppy and hoping that it grows up to be everything that you want a year or so down the line.

People don't need a good reason to dump their pets in shelters. Just because they were given up does not mean that they have any kind of issues. Most of the cats and dogs sitting in tiny cages tonight are perfectly friendly and wonderful pets. Most of them don't have "old habits". And they already have established personalities and preferences. Puppies are a gamble. Adult dogs are not.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by felisdomesticus View Post
You can't raise a puppy to be the way you want any more than you can raise a child to grow up and have purple as their favorite color. There are absolutely NO guarantees that a puppy will not grow up to become aggressive, have a high prey drive, be destructive, etc. If that were the case, we wouldn't find so many young dogs with behavior problems dumped in shelters every single day across the country.

If you want to ensure that you have a dog that is gentle with children, not aggressive, etc.--your best bet IS an adult dog. Their "old habits" are known and you will immediately know if he/she is a good match for your family rather than getting a puppy and hoping that it grows up to be everything that you want a year or so down the line.

People don't need a good reason to dump their pets in shelters. Just because they were given up does not mean that they have any kind of issues. Most of the cats and dogs sitting in tiny cages tonight are perfectly friendly and wonderful pets. Most of them don't have "old habits". And they already have established personalities and preferences. Puppies are a gamble. Adult dogs are not.
I disagree with much of this post. As a multiple cat owner, I do not want a rescued adult dog who has been fostered for a month or two. No telling what bad habits they may have. And any chasing and biting towards cats could kill them...I will not subject my cats to an adult dog, unless it comes from a friend who raised the dog with cats.

My rescue does not adopt to families with kids under 5, but the rule is somewhat flexible. If the child comes in and is very gentle and caring towards the cats, or has a cat already, sometimes we will allow it. But the rule allows us to say "no" to a family of wild kids without explaining why!!! (I am not saying this happened with you!)

I think sometimes the rescues rules are too stringent...but again, they are responsible for the safety of the animals. And they have been raising the animals. I really love my little fosters, and want what is best for them!

Training a dog is no guarantee, but working with them from puppyhood lets you have some control over their experiences.
post #13 of 27
When I was 11, we went looking around local shelters for a small dog (we had recently lost the family dog).

I remember falling in love with a small (less than 10 pounds) adult dog, the most lovable mop you'd ever meet.
My parents provided vet references of our family's animals (around 20 years worth of records), including the 18 year old dog that we recently had pts.
We stated that this would be a house dog only, and walked for excercise, due to varying schedules, there was always someone home.
We lived in the city, most houses had no yards.

We were denied the adoption because we lacked a fence.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
When I was 11, we went looking around local shelters for a small dog (we had recently lost the family dog).

I remember falling in love with a small (less than 10 pounds) adult dog, the most lovable mop you'd ever meet.
My parents provided vet references of our family's animals (around 20 years worth of records), including the 18 year old dog that we recently had pts.
We stated that this would be a house dog only, and walked for excercise, due to varying schedules, there was always someone home.
We lived in the city, most houses had no yards.

We were denied the adoption because we lacked a fence.
I think when a shelter denies someone...it is important to understand WHY they have the policy that they do. Did you ask regarding their fence policy??

Katie
post #15 of 27
Another thing to remember, is the kind of people who make saving cast-off animals their life's work have certain quirks...and being overprotective to a fault at times is one of them. Also, they often have horror stories of the adoptions they thought would work, but did not. So they try to save their future babies from that.

I do think asking more questions is the way to go. Sometimes you hit a brick wall...we were denied a $400 moggie pup last year because we wouldn't bring our dog to meet him. They insisted the see how they interact, but I know my almost 10 y/o akita can be dog aggressive, and an hour drive away from home, and a shelter is not the way I would chose to introduce them!
post #16 of 27
Our shelter let any family take a kitten providing they met the other criteria, then one summer they had a bunch of kittens that came back because young kids in the family accidentally dropped them and broke their legs and the parents realised that just because the kids wanted a baby cat didn't mean it was a good idea! So a rule got enforced that families with kids under 6 couldn't adopt kittens under 3 months. Kitten that young just can't get away as easily.

So many families come in with a small child who wants a baby kitty, and they only want it because the child thinks its the same as one of their dollies and they can do whatever to it, and they just can't! The kids can't appreciate a kitten - what they really want is something cute like a kitten, with a lazy adult cat personality. So unfortunately that's why the rule is in place.

They'd rather offend a few good pet owners to save the bad ones injuring kittens.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1 View Post
I think when a shelter denies someone...it is important to understand WHY they have the policy that they do. Did you ask regarding their fence policy??

Katie
Actually my folks did ask.
It was because they wanted the dog secure when no one was home.
We've always crated our dogs inside the house.
There was never a time when no one was home beyond an emergency, and most of the time, the dogs went with us when able.
The neighbors cared for them when not.

They didn't actually have a fence policy, what they had was an anti-chaining policy.

They adopted a lot of small dogs to apartment dwellers, apparently because they can't chain out their dogs, which we all know is BS.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
They insisted the see how they interact, but I know my almost 10 y/o akita can be dog aggressive, and an hour drive away from home, and a shelter is not the way I would chose to introduce them
Sometimes dogs meeting in a neutral place is better than a new dog meeting another dog in that dog's territory.

I can kind of understand why they have the 6mos policy. My sister adopted her papillion from a breed rescue, he had been given to them because he was supposedly biting these people's kids.

He was a little mouthy when they got him, but he was young and doing it out of play. He LOVES kids and has never been grumpy to anyone old or young, the best we can guess is the people took his "biting" as aggressive when really it was play.

However, I think shelters need to base their adoptions on the family and how the animal's home life would be. I also think it's perfectly acceptable for shelters to "test" your children, to see how they interact with the animal, just like when people show their well behaved dogs to their future landlords in hopes of being able to rent with their dog.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo View Post
I disagree with much of this post. As a multiple cat owner, I do not want a rescued adult dog who has been fostered for a month or two. No telling what bad habits they may have.
Just because you do not want an adult dog doesn't mean that what I said was untrue. You CAN tell what they like, dislike, etc when they are fostered for a few months. That is the whole purpose of fostering. You quickly learn what their quirks are because you live with them day in and day out. If you want a puppy because, well, you just want a cute, fuzzy puppy, that's fine. You're not alone. But don't imply that most adult dogs are dangerous (or have "bad habits") and can't be trusted with children or other animals because it that isn't anywhere close to being true. The nicest dogs I've ever met came to me straight from the shelter.

I have fostered about a hundred dogs and puppies and only ONCE has one of them chased after any of my cats. He was a corgi-mix and that's what corgis do. Once he caught up to them he would walk away. The fun was in the chase to him. He had no interest in hurting them.
post #20 of 27
Quote:
I think shelters need to base their adoptions on the family and how the animal's home life would be. I also think it's perfectly acceptable for shelters to "test" your children, to see how they interact with the animal, just like when people show their well behaved dogs to their future landlords in hopes of being able to rent with their dog.
How exactly are shelters (which typically are understaffed) to work with families on an individual level like you are recommending?? Are you suggesting a home visit?? Who is supposed to conduct that home visit??

I think it is far too easy to point fingers and state what a shelter should do....but oftentimes, the policies of shelters come down to the shelter's previous experience with adoptors. As sarahp's example indicates...if a shelter receives back a number of puppies from families with children under 6 months of age (or even intakes a lot of puppies from families) , they are more likely to put that policy into place. Better to lose out on a few potentially good homes rather than risk a lot of bad situations.

I also highly recommend for people who are interested in adopting dogs to keep their options open and to be aware that shelters and rescues are all unique and have different policies...so if you find that one rescue will not adopt to you...there is always another one.

Katie
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Actually my folks did ask.
It was because they wanted the dog secure when no one was home.
We've always crated our dogs inside the house.
There was never a time when no one was home beyond an emergency, and most of the time, the dogs went with us when able.
The neighbors cared for them when not.

They didn't actually have a fence policy, what they had was an anti-chaining policy.

They adopted a lot of small dogs to apartment dwellers, apparently because they can't chain out their dogs, which we all know is BS.
I'd actually love to have a representative from the shelter give their perspective...especially regarding your last line. Also....since this occurred a couple of decades ago...have you checked with the shelter recently to see if their policies have changed since then??

Katie
post #22 of 27
Quote:
How exactly are shelters (which typically are understaffed) to work with families on an individual level like you are recommending?? Are you suggesting a home visit?? Who is supposed to conduct that home visit??
I think they could have the family come down and watch how the children interact with the animal. If they have time to watch the dog interact with possible adopters they should have time to watch the way the children interact with the animal.

Shelters may be understaffed, but they do have volunteers. It would be really simple to have one person go to their home just to check it out. Or maybe a home visit isn't necessary, but statements from the owner saying what they plan to do with the animal, a note from their vet that verifies that they take good care of what they have etc.

Quote:
I think it is far too easy to point fingers and state what a shelter should do....but oftentimes, the policies of shelters come down to the shelter's previous experience with adoptors. As sarahp's example indicates...if a shelter receives back a number of puppies from families with children under 6 months of age (or even intakes a lot of puppies from families) , they are more likely to put that policy into place. Better to lose out on a few potentially good homes rather than risk a lot of bad situations.
I agree with that, however there are a lot of people who don't have children, decide to have them and get rid of the dog. I see it on craigslist all the time, people are moving or having a baby and simply "don't have time." So you really have to pick your battles, if you go with someone who has children the dog could end up coming back, if you go with someone who doesn't have children the dog could still come back.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
I think they could have the family come down and watch how the children interact with the animal. If they have time to watch the dog interact with possible adopters they should have time to watch the way the children interact with the animal.

Shelters may be understaffed, but they do have volunteers. It would be really simple to have one person go to their home just to check it out. Or maybe a home visit isn't necessary, but statements from the owner saying what they plan to do with the animal, a note from their vet that verifies that they take good care of what they have etc.
Actually...many shelters do not have volunteers who can go do a home visit. I know shelters that have 2 paid staff and 1 volunteer who have a similiar policy because frankly, they don't have the time to check every applicant and they have based their policies on previous experiences.

Again....I don't want this to turn into a "shelters SHOULD do this" thread because unless you have worked in a shelter, you don't have a clue how difficult their jobs are/how underfunded they are and how understaffed most are.

If anyone doesn't like a shelter's rules...you can simply try another shelter...try a different rescue. Those options are available.

Katie
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1 View Post
I'd actually love to have a representative from the shelter give their perspective...especially regarding your last line. Also....since this occurred a couple of decades ago...have you checked with the shelter recently to see if their policies have changed since then??

Katie

I actually would have 4 years ago, when I was looking to adopt.
The shelter was a privately run no kill, and despite weird, or even stupid policies, I'd have rather given my money to a private non-profit than to a county funded one.

They were, unfortunately, no longer in exsistance that I could find.
Not that I remembered their name, but general location and phone book serching turned up nothing.
I ended up adopting Bear from Animal Control.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
I actually would have 4 years ago, when I was looking to adopt.
The shelter was a privately run no kill, and despite weird, or even stupid policies, I'd have rather given my money to a private non-profit than to a county funded one.

They were, unfortunately, no longer in exsistance that I could find.
Not that I remembered their name, but general location and phone book serching turned up nothing.
I ended up adopting Bear from Animal Control.
I'm confused...your original post states when you were 11. If this was true..then you would now be 15.

Quote:
When I was 11, we went looking around local shelters for a small dog (we had recently lost the family dog).
post #26 of 27
I was 11 when the family went looking for a dog, I was 34 when I went looking for my own dog.
post #27 of 27
I can only speak from my own experience in rehoming foster puppies and adults. The people that apply usually fall into a few catagories. (or course there are exceptions, but by and large this is what I've seen the most)

First we have the people that have children and only and want the dog for their kids. This is not a good reason to get a dog. They don't seem to realize that THEY need to be responsible for the animal, feed it, walk it, train it, etc. These people have a very high rate of returning the dog once it 'gets too big' or 'too wild'.

Then there's the folks who want a dog for the right reasons but their children are holy terrors and have no clue how to interact with dogs (running up to hug a strange dog, poking it, pulling on tails, etc.).
OR, their children are fine but they don't realize that small kids and dogs should NEVER be left alone together as that is asking for trouble. In which case the parents are the ones without dog common sense and no willingness to change.

Of course there's also the the families who have kids, have other commitments, have TONS of stuff they do every single day and ZERO time for the dog. Who will train this dog? Who will play with it? Not them, they're too busy going to band practice, soccer games, ballet classes, and of course WORK. Unfortunetly they rarely seem to understand this.

Then, last but not least we have the folks who have well mannered kids, knowledge of dogs OR a clear willingness to learn, time to train and interact with the dog, and seem like responsible people. They are rare, but they do exsist.

I have no problem adopting a dog or puppy to the family in the last catagory.
I would never adopt a dog or puppy to the families in the other catagories.

I don't believe in having a blanket policies against adopting to families with kids because then you do miss the ones who would make fantastic dog owners. But, so many shelters are understaffed, and over crowded that they don't have the opprotunity to properly screen their applicants so it's easier to simply have a policy. Doesn't make it okay in my book, but I can see where they're coming from.
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