1MYTH/FICTION: All animals in the shelters were rescued from within the United States.
FACT: Many shelters bring in pets from overseas in order to fulfill their adoption quotas. Although many of these dogs and cats make wonderful companions, a number of these overseas animals have either health or behavioral issues that the shelters are not aware of until they’ve sheltered those pets for a significant amount of time. Thankfully, some shelters around the United States are emptying due to kind people who are willing to foster animals during COVID-19 – however, one of the biggest reasons could also be because of the travel restrictions in place preventing most animals from entering the United States. We support people’s decision to either adopt or purchase pets, but it is imperative that everyone do their due diligence and thoroughly research each organization to ensure a life full of love for companions and their families.
2MYTH/FICTION: All rescue groups are licensed and behave responsibly.
FACT: To the uninitiated, rescue groups seem to fulfill a noble cause – “rescuing” animals from a terrible environment, whether it be an environmental disaster, risk of being slaughtered for food, neglect or abandonment. However, in reality, some (not all) rescue services or organizations may act irresponsibly and disregard basic principles of public health and animal welfare. It is easy to create a Facebook page to advertise rescued animals and prey upon the public’s inherent desire to help eliminate animals’ suffering. Therefore, it is crucial to understand if the rescue organization operates responsibly.
3MYTH/FICTION: Scams are rare, and all charitable donations go to a good cause.
FACT: Individuals may pose as a “rescue” when, in fact, they are nothing more than a cash generation scam. Some individuals and organizations utilize individual “Go Fund Me” online campaigns to raise money for care, but without a third-party oversight, there are no assurances that the funds are actually spent on the animals. Many scam artists will also pose as another company either selling dogs or aiding in the transportation of dogs. Make sure to research as much as possible the specific company before making an honorable donation, as well as being aware of potential scam tactics so that you do not fall victim. Find out basic information such as if the organization is considered a sanctuary, a zoo, if they are accredited, etc. The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) has a webpage educating consumers about scam tactics, common scams, current and previous scams, and how to avoid falling victim. (https://www.ipata.org/current-pet-scams)
4MYTH/FICTION: You can work with any breeder or rescue organization that does not have a reputation.
FACT: Always work with a reputable breeder or rescue organization. Start researching different breeders, preferably within the United States, or obtain a list of A-grade breeders from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help make your decision. Not all rescue organizations are a certified non-profit organization or registered with the USDA. Individuals or groups of individuals may take it upon themselves to go to other countries and rescue animals, and although they may be doing a good deed in helping these animals, they are not licensed or registered and are not educated in the regulations which could result in more harm than good for all parties involved. In addition, several rescue organizations provide veterinary care and extensive rehabilitation for animals prior to re-homing whereas other rescues may provide only basic veterinary care to meet United States entry requirements and animals are likely to have behavioral issues which often result in surrender.