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We were looking to add a second dog to our home and recently found one that seemed perfect at the local humane society. We did a meet and greet with our dog and everything went well so we asked about taking her home. We were told that she was not allowed to be adopted out until she was spayed and that they would only do this through their vet office. Now, I know some states have laws pertaining to spays and neuters before adoption but ours does not. It was explained to me that they opened up a clinic in order to save money for potential adopters, as their office was able to provide the surgeries at a significantly reduced rate. Fine, so when would she be ready? No telling really...whenever the vet can complete the surgery. We were told that the vet called when time slots were open and would request whatever number of dogs they had time for that day. There are other dogs in front of her and the vet doesn't necessarily work every week so she could be ready next week or next month, no way to tell. I asked if there was anything I could do...preschedule an appt with my vet, have them schedule the appt, etc., but was told that anything other than them having her spayed by their vet was against their policy. I asked if I could be notified when she was ready and was told "no" and advised to call every day to check on her status. Additionally, they are not willing to hold her for me. She will be spayed, held for 24 hours, and be made available for adoption the following day...if I am not the first one to the door with cash in hand, someone else gets her. This is all just part of their "first come first serve" policy to keep everything fair. Fine, my job is fairly flexible so I can call off of work for the day when she becomes available. However, it has now been two weeks (and they don't seem too happy that I'm actually calling every day) so I called their vet's office. Their vet's office is open to the general public (a few of my friends use them) but was supposedly established as a low cost clinic for the humane society. It is actually called the Humane Society Veterinary Office. As it turns out, the vet is backed up and has temporarily stopped spays and neuters (for dogs and cats) for the humane society until they get caught up. I was advised that they would be resuming surgeries "hopefully in the near future" but this was not certain. I offered to pay for the surgery myself but was told that this would violate the humane society's policies (keep in mind if I was taking my own dog in there I could have an appt by the end of the week..my friend actually scheduled an appt for her cat for Thurs right after I got off of the phone). So in the meantime this poor dog, along with 4 or 5 others, are marked as "unavailable" sitting in a small county pound that I'm sure is going to fill up at some point since the vet is not doing their surgeries. Due to the policies they have in place that are beyond questioning, I'm assuming that they will start putting animals down at some point. Additionally, I have been told that I will have to provide my social security number, as well some other information that does not seem relevant, with no reasoning other than "that's our policy". Has anyone else had these issues? It's like they're intentionally trying to deter potential adopters.
 

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This is crazy..Do they have a website with all of these policies? I have never heard of anything like this. Its actually very depressing. Most shelters will do anything to find a dog a home. I know some of them don't have them fixed until they have a home, but to have the poor dog wait because of a surgery(especially if you are willing to pay for it) is not normal. I might even consider taking this higher then the local humane society.
 

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I have lots of issues, with my and all humane Society's, but I doubt you want my 10 page essay on it.

OP why not look at petfinder.com maybe you will find a dog in a local rescue that you like?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They do have a website, but it is very basic and mainly has information pertaining to hours of operation and adoption fees. There is mention of any policies anywhere on the website. Sitting in a cage all day with no attention is psychologically devastating..why they would willingly choose to have their animals in that situation is beyond me. (I was informed by the vet's office that I was not the only one waiting for an animal to be fixed). I'm considering writing an article to send to the local newspaper, but I don't want to do that until I get her...at this point I'm afraid they would refuse to adopt her out to me. My only hope is that the receptionist at the vet said that she would try to request "my" dog to be pulled for the next spay, but she did add that if requesting a certain animal was against policy then she would not be able to do it (of course). I'm wondering if, in the meantime, I can call some kind of county office. I'm just not sure who is in charge of the HS.
I have several issues with the HSUS, but I was under the impression that the individual county humane societies were better. We found our initial dog on Petfinder and adopted him from a HS in WV. They made special accommodations for us since we were coming from out of state, had him neutered within less than a week of my adoption application being approved, and filled us in on things that the volunteers had been doing with him....couldn't have been any easier. I had been looking on Petfinder but I just happened to stop by the HS on a lunch break and fell in love with this pup. She is just what we were looking for. Giving up on her because of the humane society's BS is not an option for us.
 

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I got Bentley from the pound and this is how it went

_I want the 6 month old yellow lab
-okay here is the leash get him fixed in 30 days
-me uh..okay.


Didn't even have to pay a fee or sign papers!! So i am not really any help, just wanted to say good luck. I agree with the petfinder thing. That is how I got Bentley :D
 

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Check and see if they have a Board of directors or an ombudsman. I think a nicely worded letter to the Board members might bring about change. Unfortunately, they may not even be aware of the day to day issues with your shelter. You might even contact your local news station and see if they have a consumer hotline. They might be interested in a story about dogs stuck in the shelter and possibly being put down when there are homes waiting. Sometimes it is a crazy director that needs a swift kick in the rear. If this shelter is funded by donations, donors should be made aware of the situation. I would certainly withhold my donations if I were aware of this situation.
 

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This is insane! Please keep us updated.

Do they have a foster program or allow rescues to pull from the shelter? We often have dogs that are only able to be pulled by rescues (though this is not your situation).

Contact some local rescues and see if they could pull the dog for you, then you could just adopt the dog from the rescue.

I also meant to add that if they have a foster program, can you foster the dog in your house, than adopt once the spay has been done?
 

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This is insane! Please keep us updated.

Do they have a foster program or allow rescues to pull from the shelter? We often have dogs that are only able to be pulled by rescues (though this is not your situation).

Contact some local rescues and see if they could pull the dog for you, then you could just adopt the dog from the rescue.

I also meant to add that if they have a foster program, can you foster the dog in your house, than adopt once the spay has been done?
First come first serve I find ridiculous in general but waiting until after the spay? Our SPCA lets dogs go into new homes but adoptions are not final until the dog is fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I called our local courthouse this morning and was informed that dog shelters are under state legislation. I then decided to try the HSUS (at the very least I thought they would like to know that the local shelter was refusing my money, and I know how much they love their huge salaries) but they are apparently not affiliated with the local humane societies. I also called the PA Dept of Ag, which oversees PA state dog laws, and was told that they do not oversee any local shelters. So I'm lefter wondering who local shelters have to answer to?
I also made my daily call to check on the dog's status and mentioned the vet being backed up and my concern about the animal being euthanized, and was informed "that would never happen". I was also told by the HS that the vet is currently doing spays "daily" (which is clearly a lie since the vet is not doing them at all). Now, the first time I went to see her and naively asked about her being spayed I was told that the vet spays every Tues and Thurs. A few days later I was informed by a different worker that the vet spays Monday - Thurs, and now its daily?! The whole this is moot since the vet isn't spaying at all, but clearly they cannot even keep all of their lies straight.
I'm currently waiting on a call back from a private party that the PA dept of Ag directed me to...they are hoping that she can help me out.

Oh and...their policy used to be that you had 45 days to to have the animal spayed/neutered after adoption. They have changed this policy since the opening of their clinic so that animals cannot be adopted out until they are fixed through their clinic. This would not be too much of an issue except that the animal cannot be adopted in any form until the humane society has the surgery completed on their terms - it is against their policy for me to pay for the spay out of my own pocket, which would hurry the process along (my friend that called yesterday afternoon already had her cat in for an appt today).
 

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I had a very similar situation with my border collie Shiner. I had seen his picture on a listing of dogs that were going to be euthanized the next day, and he was in the county shelter 10 minutes from my house. I went to see him that day and was told he was unavailable, that they didn't adopt dogs out unneutered, and they didn't have the funds to "process" him, which I assume means vet and neuter. The only reason he was being held at all was he was found stray. I offered them money for his "processing" prior to adoption and was told they couldn't do that.

Fortunately they did tell me he could be pulled by a rescue. I went home and started calling/emailing rescues and after a few I did find one, an aussie rescue, that would pull him for me. The only condition was that they neuter him after he was pulled and I pay their adoption fee. I agreed, they pulled him that afternoon, and I picked him up from one of their volunteers three days later.

So yeah, if you can find a rescue willing to pull her for you, they may have a loophole in their policy for that. I agree policies like that seem to discourage adoptions. In addition every time I have been there looking at an animal they have said odd things. I was told a dog I was looking at could not go to a home with other dogs because he had really bad seperation anxiety and his whining annoyed his cagemate???? and that a cat had to go to an only cat home because she was "hissy" with the kittens...she was a 6 year old cat thrown in a room with literally 15 kittens, and I did see her hiss, but I know she would have been fine with proper introductions. Then when I asked about a kitten they told me that one was on medicine and couldn't go yet. I asked if I could leave my name and have them call me when I could get her and they told me no, I'd have to keep checking back, which I sort of understand...bottom line though, I have been there to adopt several times and never successfully left with an animal.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here she is!



I called my state rep during a break at work on Weds and she was riding home with me at the end of the day :) But to fill in the gap, I did find out that the HS was run by a town councilman (who it I'm guessing is looking to retire at the end of his term in 2014) and those actually were his rules. I ended up speaking directly to him, and after an uneasy conversation and a list of the possible fines I could get, he agreed to let me have her if I made the spay appointment with my vet in advance...fine by me. He kept saying "I don't understand why you're doing all of this for a dog?" and at one point I heard him checking to see if she was a purebred. He seemed doubly baffled after he found out she was just a little mutt. In the end he told me I could have her if I payed the full $120 adoption fee which was intended to includ the spay (that I was not getting from them), and paid to have her spayed myself (which he claimed would be over $300). Luckily, I have a coworker that volunteers at a local rescue (who was unable to pull anything from the HS) that has a low cost spay and neuter clinic for $90. This one time fee includes the pre-op blood panel, spay, follow up visit and suture removal, and is run by the vet's office that I use anyways so I will still have the same vet. So in the end I will be paying $210 for an initial exam, dewormer, all of her shots, microchip (all completed by the HS) and her spay and follow up exam. How is that a bad deal? or too much to do for a dog? She has really been wonderful thus far, we could not have found a better fit for our household, and she and our other dog get along great. She doesn't even bother the cats!
It sucks that our local HS has rules that hinder animals from being adopted, but I'm really disheartened to hear that other branches are doing it as well. I did ask for explanations for their policies and here is what I got: They cannot "hold" a dog for you because it becomes a liability..the dog is then yours (even if you did not leave deposit) so if something happens to it while at the HS you can sue. They do not allow you to pay for a spay/neuter/processing fee for the same reason..you could sue if something happened to it before it was in your hands. There was no law keeping me from having my own vet do the spay, which is how I ended up with her. However, it was explained to me that having the spay/neuter done before adoption is for my protection because if I fail to have her spayed within 30 days I "will" receive a $300 fine, in addition if she gets pregnant within that time I will receive an additional $300 fine and could also be sued for damages by the HS. So his statement to me was something in the effect of "why would you want to take on that kind of financial liability for a dog". He assured me that these policies had been developed by a their lawyers and that there were was no way around them. Also, it turns out she would not have been spayed until late Sept./early Oct. at the earliest.
 

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Where I am from, the dogs are all spayed/neutered before they even hit the adoption floor, so that's a non issue. They do require a form with SS number and details. But they don't adopt to people with kids, cats, etc, or without a fence- severely limiting adoptions, and foolish IMO.
 

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I'm glad she's home, she's really adorable. Congrats on getting her!
 

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Cute pup. It looks like she's at that everything's a chew toy age.

Adoption rules vary by group around here. Some are pretty strict, to the point of ridiculous, to relatively mild. For our Chi, we just had to show a drivers license, fill out a form with basic info (how many other pets, rent/own, etc.) and give our vet's name.
 

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I did find out that the HS was run by a town councilman (who it I'm guessing is looking to retire at the end of his term in 2014) and those actually were his rules. I ended up speaking directly to him, and after an uneasy conversation and a list of the possible fines I could get, he agreed to let me have her if I made the spay appointment with my vet in advance...fine by me. He kept saying "I don't understand why you're doing all of this for a dog?"
This from the person who is running the shelter! Unbelievable! Guess that comment says it all. I am so happy for you and your new little girl that you were able to get through this. I feel bad for those poor dogs still in the shelter who are in limbo.

They cannot "hold" a dog for you because it becomes a liability..the dog is then yours (even if you did not leave deposit) so if something happens to it while at the HS you can sue.
When we got my mom's dog from animal control, we were able to put a "hold" on him. Actually he had several "holds". What that meant was when he legally became available for adoption, we had first crack at getting him. We had a very short window of one hour to pick him up...meaning he became available at 2:00 pm on a certain date....we had until 3:00 to get him. After that time the person who had the second "hold" could get him as well. The dog was never legally ours until we signed all the papers.
 

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I'm so glad there's a happy ending to this! Your puppy is adorable!

This shelter gives me the sads. I'm angry just reading about it. How can these people make it impossible to adopt a puppy without LITERALLY calling your state representative to intervene, and then (I'm sure) turn around and say they "euthanize" pets in their facility because the irresponsible public doesn't adopt them and doesn't spay and neuter.

Oh, and all that blather about legal liability? Total, 100% crap. Disgusting.
 

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FYI HSUS and your local humane society have nothing to do with eachother. HSUS is one of the biggest Animal welfare rackets in the country and should be shut down. Check out humanewatch.org

Those hoops you had to jump through were bizarre. Most places have a no hold policy for the benefit of the dog - not to protect their own butts. Holding a dog for someone that may or may not actually adopt the dog can cause them to miss out on other homes. To refuse you the ability to have her spayed yourself with their supervision, is just dumb.
 

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Those rules are very similar to ours drove me nuts adopting gem and gyp. But at least at ours I could pre adopt so I would pay a partial fee and then wait till they got around to bothering to spay them then wait 4 days then they would call me on the day I have to pick up..no advanced warning of when this would be... and would have to drop everything that moment and go get them. Pay the rest and sign the forms. I am lucky I have an animal job cuz I had to leave work to go get gyp at the drop of a hat.
 
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