- Many are NOT registered non-profit societies or charities.
- Many are individuals acquiring and selling dogs.
- Many import dogs from other countries (Korea, Mexico, USA, Iran, Puerto Rico).
- Many say they have protocols in place to approve your application.
- Many ask that you e-transfer funds to a personal email address.
- Many do not provide veterinary paperwork but you can use “their vet”.
- Many offer “foster to adopt” criteria.
- Many do not offer post-sales support (health, behaviour, etc.)
- Many have social media presence but the ONLY way to contact is via Messenger.
- Many ask to meet you at a location to give you the dog. (parking lot of pet store or vet clinic)
So let’s cover the individual items:
- A registered non-profit or charity may indicate that the society has a board of directors. All are liable for decisions made as a whole. Both NPs and charities have to answer to the government with bylaws, name/addresses of directors and financial statements. You can check canada.ca for charity listing and you can call the Province of BC to see if a group is registered as a non-profit.
- Some declare they’ve been doing “rescue” since 2018 which should be a red flag that this is an individual getting and selling product. (the dogs) They have no website but you see dozens of pictures of available dogs on the Facebook page.
- To import a dog from another country as a commercial venture they must have a permit. If your dog arrives via an “Escort Angel” know that this avoids the permit process. The sad story mangey dog you saw in a picture can’t be imported in poor health according to Dept. of Ag’s regulations.
- Many state that after they receive your application, they will do an interview, a home visit, and check references. If they skip it because they think you’re “a good person”, then know that they skip other things like permits, vet care and transparency.
- Making a donation or paying for a dog using e-transfer to a personal email address should be a huge red flag. Ethical rescue societies keep financials separate.
- If you have not received veterinary paperwork to show care with the excuse “oh it’s coming!” prepare yourself that you may never see paperwork.
- What is “foster to adopt”? At one time it was a time frame for the dog to decompress and get to learn the household routine. Now, for some, it is a way to stash dogs for free and then demand payment.
- Got the dog, paid the fee??… and then you have a question or concern? be prepared for silence. Seriously!
- Some groups have ALL your information yet the only way to contact them is by Messenger? hmmmm
- You’ve seen the picture of a cute dog with a sad story; you’ve sent in the application and been approved!!! (interview, homevisit, ref checks??) You may be told that your dog is arriving two weeks from now… and because of how many dogs are arriving, you will have to come to a pickup point or they will meet you somewhere…. WAIT!!!!
People want to add a companion animal to their homes and when the social media opportunity is available, it’s easy to forget common sense. Good breeders will want to meet you and have you meet puppies and parents to gauge the meeting and see how you interact. Shelters will encourage that you spend some time with the dog on a walk or in a visiting room. They will tell you everything they know about the dog. You likely won’t get a dog on the same day in either case.
A retail rescue may say the dog is 3 years old but it’s really 8 years old. They say a dog is good with other dogs or cats… but it isn’t. It’s a healthy dog! but it’s blind and deaf and has separation anxiety. Your messages are not returned and your dream dog is a bit of a behavioural and financial nightmare. They won’t take back your dog because there is no foster home system in place. What do you do?
- Federal Government for Charity status
- BC Government
- Better Business Bureau
- The Media