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Rescues and Rehomes
Here are a few of my thoughts on what seems to be the murky and unregulated world of ‘rescuing’ animals, specifically in two recent cases, Boerboels.
I have written this following being made aware of several recent ‘rescue’ attempts that went drastically wrong. I spent most of Good Friday and Saturday researching the most recent of these failed ‘rescues’ and I was actually disturbed by this case. If you wish to read about this case, I will link the full article on our site later.
There will be a warning about the article as the information about the recent incident is pretty distressing but that is why this needs to be aired.
Are Rescues and Rehomes needed?
I am not suggesting that rehoming isn’t required or that rescues don’t serve a purpose. I am however suggesting that many of the ‘rehomers’ or ‘rescuers’ put dogs at further risk.
None of us know what life has in store for us and when circumstances at home change and our lives turn to shit, we do sometimes need to consider rehoming an animal. It astounds me that some people just seem to hand a dog over for rehome to pretty much anyone that claims to be a ‘dog trainer’ or ‘behaviourist’ or has setup a ‘rescue’ in their back garden.
These type of ‘rescues’ are poorly setup with no funding and often little or no experience with the needs of the breeds they are trying to ‘rescue’. Boerboels and other Mastiff types do not make for easy rehomes. Even without behaviour or aggression issues, these dogs can be very difficult to rehome successfully and the potential for incidents increases when these types of animals are poorly assessed and then rehomed in unsuitable homes.
This is not to discredit the work that some rescuers or rescues do, but sadly my experience of ‘rescues’ and those that class themselves as ‘rescuers’ has not been good.
Truths about ‘rescues’
More and more we are meeting ‘rescuers’ of animals. Below are a few uncomfortable truths but they are truths none the less.
- If you have removed an animal from someone’s care and have acknowledged failings in the husbandry and/or the provision of care to be a problem, yet you do not have the experience or means to improve the animals care, you have NOT ‘rescued’ it.
If you have removed an animal from someone’s care and have acknowledged failings in the husbandry and/or the provision of care to be a problem, yet you do not have the experience or means to improve the animals care, you have NOT ‘rescued’ it.
- If you have already ‘rescued’ an animal then have to seek advice to ask husbandry advice you have NOT ‘rescued’ it. Having the knowledge base to take on an animal is a pre-requisite. It goes without saying that the prevalence of illness or disease will be greater in rescue animals than animals found through conventional means. True rescuers must have a working knowledge of their animals and a sound knowledge of training, treatment and care pathways prior to taking an animal on. Otherwise you are not ‘rescuing’ it and merely relocating it. As much as it may pull at the heartstrings seeing it in its current situation you must add value or improvement to the animal’s situation. Without it, the risk of harm to the animal continues in your care or worse, the risk increases.
- It also goes without saying that the prevalence of aggression, training issues or behaviour issues will likely be greater in a rescue animal than animals found through conventional means. A ‘rescue’ or ‘rescuer’ should have the means, experience and time to identify and address these issues or have suitable pathways available to assist with identifying and resolving these issues. Otherwise you are not ‘rescuing’ it and again merely relocating it. If these issues are not correctly addressed then the risk of harm to the animal or others continues in your care or worse, the risk increases.
- If you do not have the means to provide veterinary care (should it prove necessary) to an animal that has been removed from inadequate care then you have NOT ‘rescued’ it. Enough funds to be able to deal with worst case scenarios is essential. If these means do not exist, an animal with potential health issues will be left to suffer rather than receiving the relevant care. It being in a ‘loving’ home does not mitigate its health needs.
- Love will not fix the animals issues. Love, in fact has nothing to do with it. Loving an animal in a shitty environment is NOT ‘rescuing’ it.
- Love often translates to inappropriate handling or care and showering it with an excess of interaction that could lead to further stress or related issues. This is not ‘rescuing’.
- If you have managed to ‘rescue’ numerous animals in the last 6 months without the means to improve their quality of life with tangible improvements to their environment, care, training and nutrition, then you are either:
a/ freebie hunting
c/ feeding your own needs or ego
You are definitely not ‘rescuing’.
- If when you ‘rescue’ or ‘rehome’ an animal, you do not take responsibility for the ‘rescue’ or ‘rehome’ then this is not ‘rescuing’.
- If you ‘rescue’ or ‘rehome’ an animal and then pass that animal onto others and you have clauses or waivers that absolve you of responsibility you are actually trafficking or at best brokering the animal into an unknown fate. You are certainly not ‘rescuing’ or ‘rehoming,
Do rescues work?
There are plenty of people out there that can and do rescue animals. But, there has to be an application of common sense. It is common sense that you must have the means to improve the life and wellbeing of the rescued animal’s new life in your onward care. You must have an understanding of the animal you are taking on. You must have a basic working knowledge of how to deal with ailments and identify issues and seek suitable veterinary attention if required.
To rescue an animal should improve the animal’s quality of life. Discount ‘love’, forget it. Love is NOT enough. Without improvement to an animal’s care you are not ‘rescuing’.
People also rehome, this is different to rescuing but equally, to rehome should mean the animal’s standard of life is at the minimum maintained but we should really always look to improve where possible.