Exposing the Dark Underbelly of the Pet Rescue Industry
By Anthony Vercillo
You are ready to add a new member to your family and have decided to use this opportunity to save a life in need. You already know that you don’t want to get a dog from a breeder because your heart goes out to the MILLIONS of companion animals out there in need of homes. Maybe you already know that according to some estimates, over 4,000 dogs and cats are euthanized DAILY in the US alone. Stories like these break the internet as well as our hearts. You can’t save them all, but you will save one, and in doing so will do your part to put a dent in the pet overpopulation problem. But beware, even in the pet rescue industry, you will need to be on the lookout for abusive, neglectful, unethical and irresponsible individuals – everything you are fighting against when you opt to adopt a rescue pet. This does not mean that you can’t help by adding a rescue animal to your home, but it does mean that you need to do your homework to make sure that the rescue pet you bring home represents your animal ethics.
PET RESCUE IS NOBLE
While there may be reasons to consider pet ownership from a responsible breeder, there are also terrific reasons to choose a rescue pet instead. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to call rescued animals our dear companions and family certainly recognize the value in this. It is commendable to want to reduce the world’s suffering by saving or improving another sentient being’s life. Fortunately, adopting homeless pets is becoming more and more popular, and has reached a certain element of ‘noblesse’ in many circles propounded by celebrity stories of valor and kindness, yet another reason for my optimism and faith in mankind.
CORRUPTION IN THE PET RESCUE INDUSTRY
Unfortunately, this rise in popularity of animal adoption means big money, and we all know that where big money is concerned, corruption is usually not far behind, especially in an industry with lack of regulations and enforcement. The selling of live pets, which can include what are characterized as adoption or re-homing fees, is a multi-billion-dollar industry globally. Traditionally, the overwhelming chunk of that money would have gone to breeders of one sort or another, both responsible and irresponsible. But with pet rescue becoming more and more popular and the success of the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” campaign, some irresponsible breeders have taken to unethical means to reduce their losses.