There are a number of wonderfully caring and perfectly respectable dog rescue organizations out there, but unfortunately not all of them are what they seem. The newest scam is for supposed rescuers to search shelters, Craigslist, The Penny Saver, etc., to locate dogs which are in high demand and easy to sell. These con-artists will then obtain the dog, often seeking out purebred or family dogs, and then sell them. They will refer to this charge as an adoption or rehoming fee, and will turn around and make a pretty serious profit.
The scammers will tell you that included in your re-homing fee is spay/neuter and shots, while in reality the animals had received these services from where ever the alleged ‘rescuer’ got the dog. They may even go on to tell you that they have to recover the costs of rescuing the dog and caring for the dog, but if this trully is the case, then they should be considered a dog kennel, in which case strict rules and regulations would apply that they most likely do not meet. Some of these people actually con the shelters into waving or reducing fees, taking money away from the shelter and putting it right into their own pocket.
Shelter fees are usually between $60-$100 for a dog, and this is usually the case across the board. No special exceptions are made for purebred dogs or dogs with a high likelihood of being adopted out; the rescue is looking out for the best interest of the animals, and wants to make it financially possible for these dogs to find their forever homes. So, in a nutshell, these people, under the guise of being a friend to animals, make a $200-$400 profit for each dog they obtain from the shelter or other adoption means – CL, local classifieds, etc. Do that a couple times a week and you can give up your day job!
Be careful of these people posing as rescuers when checking out an adoptable dog outside of a well-known animal shelter. Ask detailed questions, ask about their non-profit status, ask details about the animal – it’s origin, temperament, how long it has been with them, and be sure to visit the dog in person before agreeing to any money being exchanged. Be aware that non profits are not allowed to charge fees, but they may ask for voluntary donations. Ask for a discount, if the person is in it for the money you can often tell by the tone of their voice when you ask for a discount. If they reply with, “I have laid out so money to save the dog and want to recover my expenses” ask for receipts and proof before continuing with the adoption.
There is another class of rescuers/rescue organizations who are equally harmful to animals, they are the ones who ask invasive questions or demand inappropriate access to your life in order to adopt the animal. There is a fine line between inspecting someone’s home to be sure that the dog will be placed in a safe environment and asking for 10 letters of recommendation, a contract signed with blood, and the threat that they can take your dog back at any time. A well-publicized case of this sort of incident is what happened to Ellen Degeneres’ rescued dog. If you pay for a dog it’s yours, irregardless of what they say or make you sign. Target can’t come take back that TV you bought last year if they don’t approve of the adult channels you subscribe to, and the simple truth is, that same principal applies to dogs. Target also has no say about that TV if you decide to give it away later on.
I have heard of flipping houses, but flipping dogs? It is just inhumane any way you look at it. I think selling dogs should be prohibited, even if it’s called rehoming fee or not, it all just comes down to semantics in the end; this practice needs to be banned. There are thousands of dogs who need homes and charging for dogs just makes it all the worse, actually preventing many animals from being placed with loving owners.
Now that you are aware – do not make it easy for them. Any fee should be suspect, especially when it is in excess of $75. If something does not seem right, take action – turn them in, call a legitimate animal protection agency for advice, but please take steps to help stop these predators.