Owner Surrender cf Shelter Rescue

Discussion of rescue intake direct from the surrendering owner compared to intake from an animal shelter. Why it's usually better to accept a surrender from the owner rather than let the owner dump the dog into a shelter and then have to rescue the dog out of the shelter.

Owner Surrender compared to Rescue from Shelter

To some Rescue people, the concept of "rescue" usually implies taking an animal out of an animal control facility or other animal shelter facility. However it can also mean accepting the surrender of an animal directly from the surrendering owner. Over the last decade or so, as the general public has become more and more aware of dog rescue and breed-specific rescue groups, more and more owners seeking to place their dogs are contacting the Rescue instead of dumping the dog at the shelter, and more and more shelters are keeping lists of rescue groups and trying to divert dogs and cats towards such direct surrender to an appropriate rescue group.

In my view, direct owner surrender has many advantages and is likely to be an "everybody wins" situation. The dog especially is likely to be better off.

Note : a third possibility is that the owner contacts the Rescue asking for help in placing the dog direct from their home into the adoptive home, without the dog being fostered by the rescue. I discuss this separately in Doing Referral Placements

Advantages to the Rescue of direct owner surrender

Advantages to the surrendering owner

Advantages to the Shelter that would otherwise receive the dog

Advantages to the Dog

On the other paw :

Nowadays some shelters have very good resources and very high placement rates for healthy well behaved dogs. Some have good budgets and have their own veterinarians, their own behaviorists and trainers, and many volunteer workers. Some have modern facilities that provide a much better environment for the animals than the old prison-like shelters. Almost all shelters have access to outstanding and well researched information on infectious disease prevention and management and on environmental and mental enrichment for sheltered animals, thanks to the advent of Shelter Medicine programs at Vet Schools (pioneered by the Shelter Medicine program at UC Davis). Some run training classes for adopted dogs and have post adoption behavior consultation and help available for adopters .

In short, it is possible that some shelters actually can do as good or better a job of fostering and placing this dog than you would be able to do. So always consider what your current circumstances and abilities are. In some cases if the dog is already in the shelter, and if the shelter does have the resources to keep the dog for a substantial period and has evaluated the dog as being highly adoptable (friendly, healthy, attractive, etc), then you may consider offering to send your waiting adopters direct to the shelter rather than taking the dog out of the shelter right away. If I am dealing with a shelter manager that wants to first make this effort, but who will promise that the dog will NOT be killed and that they will turn the dog over to me if it does not get adopted reasonalby soon , then I may agree to send some of my pre-screened adopters to them. That can work out well. I did this just last week (at a time when one of my own dogs was undergoing a series of serious medical treatments, taking me away from home much of the day), and the dog was adopted right away by one of "my" adopters.

Still if you are going to end up with this dog anyway, it's better to "eliminate the middleman" and get the dog direct from its owner rather than wait for the owner to dropt the dog into a shelter and then try to bail the dog out from the shelter.


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 2/07/2010 revised ?/?/03
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