Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pet-Related Charities

Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton
In today's economy, every penny counts. Sadly, so many people have not been able to keep their pets because they can't afford to feed their family and the four-legged family member is the one who loses his home to a shelter or, less frequently, to a rescue group.  If they have purchased their pet from a reputable breeder, then the breeder takes the pet back.  It's usually in their contract. No matter the age of the pet at the time, it goes back to the breeder who will either rehome it or keep it.  But what about the shelters?  We know.  They're often overcrowded and they are mostly kill shelters.  There is no new home, just death and overworked volunteers.

There are also people who have a few dollars to spare and want to know which animal related charity is  the "best"place for their hard-earned dollars.  Many are sucked in by expensive television commercials that are sometimes infomercials, produced to tug at the heartstrings and open the wallets of those who can often least afford it, who are on a fixed income but the pictures of sad dogs and kitties calls to them to do something.  

While it's wonderful to donate when you can, where you donate is another matter.  You can look online at sites that monitor charities to see where the money goes but if you do a little reading you can find much more has been exposed in print. For example, did you know that HSUS (Humane Society of The United States) doesn't have shelters? They are mainly a lobbying group and their employees are well paid and have benefits packages we would all enjoy.  ASPCA recently released a video to convince people not to buy a puppy in a pet shop. That's something we can all agree with but the video contains a small child with a dog and nowhere in the video does it show an adult supervising the child with the dog. The child was quite awkward around the dog as one would expect. Before the age of 7 children don't understand that they can inflict pain and must not only be taught "gentle" from the first dog-child interaction but must be supervised very carefully. A bite can happen in a second. If the child inadvertently poke or prods the dog and causes pain, the dog has no choice but to clamp down in pain, the child is bitten and the parents usually get rid of the dog. Others allow their children to maul the dog  or cat and claim the pet is so good with the child. But it's a two-way street. The child has to be good with the pet and it's up to the parents to monitor that. So the ASPCA spent heaven only knows how much money producing a video that is, in my mind, irresponsible because they didn't show an adult supervising the interaction.  When I asked about it I was told they would put a disclaimer at the end of the video.  I have yet to see that. And it's too little, too late. Do I really want to give my money to a large organization with a big staff who produces an irresponsible public service video?  Aren't they supposed to know?  They have behavior people on staff. Weren't they consulted? Then there's PETA who not only have just one shelter but have been documented as killing perfectly healthy young pets. Why?  I guess because they could. They are an Animal Rights group, NOT Animal Welfare and there is a difference.  They also get a lot of money in donations as do HSUS and ASPCA. And there are other big groups as well who have a lot of money.  A little surfing around Google will help you find articles on every organization, along with some facts and figures that might surprise you.
Rescue Vinny owned by Mary Slaney

Where should YOUR money go?  The best donation you can make is to your LOCAL shelter or humane group or rescue group.  If it's small, independent and local, they need help!  They are short on staff and long on needs.  They rely on donations and volunteers. If you can't give money, or can't donate your time, then consider donating paper towels, pet food, toys, and ask them what they can use. There are many ways to help but you and the animals are better served at a grass roots level.  And your donation will be appreciated. It won't go to publicity, or big salaries, or benefits packages.  It will go to help the animals and isn't that the point?  

Please do what you can to help, whatever it is. Anything you can do at the Grass Roots level will be appreciated.  And when those tearjerker commercials come on the TV, change the channel before you find yourself writing a check to a group that already has enough money.  Where do you think those "gifts" are coming from when you donate?  You are paying for that tee shirt, magazine subscription, etc. And that wasn't really what you wanted when you wrote that check. You just wanted to help the dogs and cats, puppies and kittens.  And you really can do that.  In this case it's think locally and act locally.


Chantelle said...

Great post - thank you. It's sad to see donors fall for slick marketing campaigns rather than sending money to a place where it will be maximized for the animals.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Chantelle. That's exactly the way I feel and why I felt compelled to write this post.

Singing Dogs said...

I agree with this 110%! Thanks so much for writing about this Darelene and letting people know.

The ASPCA and SPCA International don't do anything for pets and are scam artists. I have donated a small amount of money to them and all they do is send you lot of junk (T-shirts, mugs, pens) to try to get you to donate more money. It's crazy! They spend a ridiculous amount of money on MARKETING which is why they are so good at "fundraising."

I donate most of my money to local groups and rescue organizations that need it the most. I hope we can educate more people.

Darlene said...

Thanks so much, Adam. I'm so glad to hear that you donate to local groups and rescue organizations. I, too, hope we can educate more people. I have no idea how many, or how few, people read my blog but if I can reach just one person I feel this post has been worth the effort.

rescuegal said...

Excellent post, Darlene. Jane and John Q. Public get taken in by all the ads and campaigning these organizations due so continue to give, give, and give. There are many, many groups out there who truly do put the best interest of the animals first and foremost, but the ASPCA, SPCA, and the HSUS certainly do not.

Thank you Ms. Arden for telling it like it is and getting this important message out.

Darlene said...

Thanks so much, Recue Gal. I'm just hiping that I'm not preaching to the choir and that more people will learn.



PetCompanion said...

Wonderful post, Darlene! So many folks want to help out but few know where their donations will do the most good. Those large, well-funded organizations spend the vast majority of their money on "administrative costs" and soliciting donations. They waste a great deal of money on calendars, address labels, note pads, and other rubbish to make people feel obligated to send money. Small nonprofits and local pet charities and shelters are always a better bet. Thank you for addressing this crucial topic!

J. Anne Helgren
Author of Barron's Encyclopedia of Cat Breeds,
and Communicating With Your Cat;
Professional Member of the Cat Writers' Association since 1993

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, Anne! I really appreciate your comments. This is such an important issue. I am so disappointed in the large organizations. I want the right messages to get out, I want the animals taken care of and that really happens at the grass roots level.

Liama Jhons said...

can you please write something about dog food recipes

Darlene said...

In response to the question asking about dog food recipes, I'm not a veterinary nutritionist. They are the only ones who know how to safely balance a homemade diet for a dog. It's not just cooking for another species but you also have to consider weight, activity level, health issues, and other factors in order to create a healthy, nutritious diet, especially for another species. I'd suggest asking your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary nutritionist.