Vail Pets: Some ‘rescue’ groups are unreliable |

Vail Pets: Some ‘rescue’ groups are unreliable

Char Quinn
Pet Talk
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –As animal welfare and animal adoption groups are becoming more and more popular across the country, problems are arising.

There are many animal rescue groups that are more into profit and saving animals that might be too aggressive to be saved. They are charging outrageous adoption fees, not providing proper care for their animals and they are not always registered as a nonprofit. There are many clues that can indicate to you that an “animal rescue group” may not be legitimate:

1. There are “rescue” groups that try and force the animals upon you under threat of euthanasia. Do not fall for this. If you do not want the animal, it is probably not the right fit for your family. And, therefore, not the right fit for the animal. Many “rescues” try the threat of euthanasia just to the get the dog a home instead of trying to find the right family that will be the best match.

2. If the rescue group, or breeder, refuses to let you come to the location where the animal is being cared for and insists on meeting you in a public place. This should be a red flag that the animal is not getting cared for properly. However, there are extenuating circumstances, like a long distance drive – a drive the Eagle Valley Humane Society knows all too well. It is not always a bad organization that arranges public meeting places, but a good organization will also not refuse if you want to drive the distance to see their location.

3. Colorado state law requires that animals be spayed or neutered prior to adoption, or a spay/neuter deposit is required by the adopter. Certain vaccinations are also required by law. If you are adopting an animal without documentation of being altered or vaccinated, that is a clue that it might not be a legitimate rescue organization. Do not fall for the “We will send the vaccination and medical history next week.”

4. It is really easy to check and see if an organization is a registered nonprofit with the state of Colorado or the Internal Revenue Service. Check at and You can also check with the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) to make sure they are licensed with the Colorado Department of Agriculture by phoning 303-239-4161.

5. Many rescue groups will lie about a dog’s past history to insure an adoption. This is one of the most horrible things that disreputable rescue groups do. I have personally experienced this when my grandmother in Florida wanted my help to adopt a Doberman.

We went to the local rescue organization looking for one. Sure enough, they had one. We spent a couple of hours with him and the staff said he was a wonderful dog. His behavior was perfect while we were visiting with him. We took him home and luckily I was visiting for a few more days.

As the dog became comfortable in the home, he grew extremely possessive of everything in the house. He then pinned my 80-year-old grandmother to the wall. Fortunately, we were able to get the dog under control without anyone getting hurt.

We took the dog back and informed them of what had happened. They then told us he had behaved the same way during the other five times he was adopted. I could not believe they had withheld this information and allowed this dog to be adopted by an 80-year-old woman.

These situations are a danger to people and the dogs. I have heard of other similar stories. A reputable rescue group will give you full disclosure, and do their best to make sure this is the right match.

6. Beware when a rescue group asks for an extremely high adoption fee or fees that depend on the breed or the age of an animal. A typical dog adoption fee is $75 to $150 and cat adoption fees are between $50 to $100. If the adoption fees are higher than that and the animal does not come with any documented medical care, you really need to question the rescue group.

7. Some rescue groups even steal animals from people. They do this for a variety of reasons. One, they think the current home is not good enough. Two, they can adopt the animal out and collect an adoption fee.

Now why is this information important to know? As more and more rescue groups pop up, it is important that we work with legitimate organizations and not contribute to the disreputable ones. Animals should not be a commodity for people to profit from. They are living creatures that deserve the best lives that we can make possible for them.

8. Another problem to be aware of is that some rescue groups are actually hoarders. If you need to surrender a pet or an animal you have found and can’t keep to an organization, be sure you have determined they are not hoarders.

Char Quinn is a certified professional dog trainer and executive director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society. Send comments about this article to

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