Bail Out ASAP
(the need to get dogs out of the Pound immediately
This article discuses the absolute nescessity for getting a dog out of the Pound immediately. the first momment that Rescue hears of the dog, it must leaap into action. Even a day's delay can mean death for the dog !
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Remember : when we hear of a Bouv in the Pound, we must get it out immediately. Pounds are rarely able or willing to keep dogs longer than the minimum required by law --- which can be 2 days for a stray and zero for a dog turned in by its owner. Even a day's delay can mean death!
A club member responded that state law requires Pounds to keep strays for a certain minimum number of days ( 4 in Calif in 1992, somewhat longer in 2003) and that some Pounds made the effort to keep dogs that they deemed "adoptable" for longer than this minimum. True, but ...
It's important to realize that some Pounds count days when the pound is not open to the public as going towards satisfying this minimum. Some others keep strays for less than the minimum anyway, whether in ignorance of the requirements or in disregard thereof. In some states , it may be that the minimum only applies to dogs wearing a current license tag and in many the minimum for a dog without a current tag is far shorter than for one with a tag.
Most important : this minimum requirement furnishes absolutely no protection for dogs turned in by the owner or by someone claiming to be the owner (eg a neighbor tired of the dog's barking) or claiming to represent the owner (eg pissed off ex-spouse or departing spouse). At most Pounds, the release signed by the owner expressly permits the Pound to euthanize the dog immediately if the Pound so chooses. If the dog is obviously old or obviously sick or injured or if the "owner" has said or implied that the dog is aggressive, the Pound is quite likely to kill the dog the first momment it is allowed to do so. The dog can be DEAD before the "owner's" car has left the parking lot !
Finally, we must recognize that we often do not hear about these dogs until their time is almost up. I have litterally heard of dogs a few hours before they were to be killed ! I have litterally bailed dogs out an hour or so before their scheduled death !
Additionally, despite any minimum hold requirements, most Pounds and Shelters (including SPCA) will immediately kill any animal that shows syptoms of illness. Some do so only for those showing symptoms of severe epidemic-prone illness, such as Parvo, but some will immediately kill at the first symptoms of mere Kennel Cough !
We must recognize that some Pounds see their mission as that of a "garbage disposal" for unwanted dogs and cats. They do not see their mission as providing shelter untill an adoptor or rescuer arrives. They know that most will never be adopted and that of those that are adopted , some will not be spayed/neutered and so will produce futher litters of unwanted animals that will find their way back to the Pound. They know that if they kill an animal, rather than let it be adopted, that is one animal that won't produce another litter. Thus some Pounds are not very supportive of Rescue efforts.
The Pound's business is killing animals. Our business as Rescuers is to save those whom we can.
When you hear that a dog is in the Pound, you must get it out as soon as possible. Phone to learn the date and hour that the dog will be released for adoption. If that date is still in the future, make it absolutely clear that you are a member of a breed Rescue and that you will be coming to rescue the dog on the day of its release ; then make sure you get there within a few hours of the release hour. If the release hour has already passed, let them know you are on your way and then jump in your car and go !
(Update note : the situation has improved somewhat since I wrote this article in 1992. Today, in 2003, more and more Pounds and Shelters are more willing to cooperate with Rescue, due to having had good experiences doing so. In some states, the minimum holding time for strays has increased. In some states, pre-adoption spay / neuter is required by law, and this has predictably decreased Pound intake rates. But nonetheless, we have a duty to get dogs out of there as quickly as we can : Bail Out ASAP means that this dog is safe and those that remain will have a somewhat better chance to survive and be adopted.)