22 October 2014

Rescue Dogs from California Illuminates Sourcing Issues

Drew Van Niekerk
InfoStream Staff Writer

Rescue organizations continue to make news with continually evolving efforts to rehome stray, surrendered or abandoned pets. 

“Thank Dog I’m Out” is a British Columbia based Canadian “rescue” organization that imports dogs from California shelters, transported via Bellingham Washington in collaboration with Wings of Rescue who flew dogs from California. B.C. families rallied to foster and adopt 100 dogs from California shelters through TDIO, again raising awareness that numbers of dogs available for adoption in Canadian shelters have dropped over the years. 

Sources of pets as puppies, kittens or re-homed adults has received considerable discussion with the Alliance for Urban Animals at the Regional Urban Animal Conferences and the annual International Summit for Urban Animal Strategies www.urbananimal.com. While some argue that pet families should only be adopting animals, breeders maintain that purposeful breed stock must be maintained, and consumers remain the driving force in demand for new pets, and it seems their appetite is still strong. 

Discussions continue over whether importation of pets is right or wrong, raising issues like the possible importation of disease with pets; or whether the efforts over years of humane and rescue work done locally are completely resolved. 
Are the efforts of an importation rescue service merely supporting unresolved overpopulation and breeding issues in places like California? What measures are in place to trace the origins of pets in shelters that are ‘rescued’? These are questions being asked by members of the animal industry in Canada.

Meanwhile, Canadian Kennel Club breeder registration numbers are dropping and pet stores are being picketed to close to pet sales. Quality breeders are struggling to justify their place in the supply chain but rescues allow an alternate, arguably broken, supply chain to function by gathering up the unwanted from that process. These are significant points to consider. 

Perhaps the transparency of knowing where every animal came would allow consumers to make educated choices and adopters to have all the facts.  Perhaps then the hard working people in the animal industry could focus their efforts on sourcing or ‘re-sourcing’ pets into homes in the best possible way without the judgment they currently face? After all, the market demands for pets are not linear, some families want purebreds, some want rescues. Other families want crossbred non-registered pets and still others prefer local and some folks will cross the country to buy or adopt. How could there be one answer?

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