The director of a German Shepherd Rescue in Orange County has submitted a scathing editorial about the “Clear the Shelter” events which happen locally and nationwide. While some animals do find quality forever homes, there are many dogs like “Myah,” who was adopted during a “clearance” event, only to be returned to the shelter when the resident family dog turned on her.
The following commentary was submitted by Maria Dales:
It saddens me to see OC Animal Care Center participating in the disturbing “Clear The Shelters” trend
that promotes free or nearly free animal adoptions akin to a “Clearance Sale.”
As someone who has worked in the humane arena for three decades, I don’t support the widescale
slinging of animals into unscreened and unqualified homes simply to meet a promotional goal of
“clearing” the facility.
Animal advocates work tirelessly to educate the public about the value of animal lives, and to obliterate the belief that animals are commodities. The “Clear The Shelters campaigns are short-sighted, at best, focusing on reducing the number of animals in the shelter by encouraging impulse adoptions at the low, low cost of $20. Such programs do not screen prospective adopters, and virtually anyone 18 or older who can fog a mirror is incentivized to adopt an animal on the spot in the pursuit of the program goal. A false send of urgency promotes sloppy adoptions simply so that the shelter can applaud itself for the “success” of emptying the facility.
Logic defies the administration’s claims that these programs work. While undoubtedly well-intentioned,
adopters who lack the means to pay minimal adoption fees to add a living, breathing family member are
unlikely to have the financial means to provide proper vet care or training, two critical components of
responsible animal stewardship.
By advocating hasty decisions over thoughtful consideration, the shelter further undermines the efforts of animal advocates (who are, ironically, their very own rescue partners) who strive to match animals to the lifestyles of the adopting families. Surely, here in OC, we can do better than this. While I’m not naïve enough to think that the CTS practice will end anytime soon, let’s at least call these programs what they really are– “Toss-Animals-Out-theDoor-And-See-What-Sticks” programs.
Not a catchy title, but certainly more forthright. By endorsing Volume over Quality marketing campaigns such as this one, our local shelter has reduced itself to becoming the OC Animal Don’t Care Center and it’s truly disappointing.