Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Ellen DeGerneres Mess

Ellen is a great comedian, funny yet never mean. Her talk show is witty and positive. DeGeneres often speaks of her love for animals and encourages respect for companion animals and wildlife. Watching her disintegrate while telling the story of Iggy was difficult. Seeing the Iggy mess play out is maddening.

I was involved in organized dog and cat rescue for over 10 years. Our contracts, like the Mutts and Mom’s group Ellen adopted from, require the adopter to return the animal to the rescue if the adoption failed. This is particularly handy in situations where an adopter dumps a dog or cat in a shelter. We never took reclaimed a dog from a loving home, certainly not out of the arms of a crying child.

Ellen admits she screwed up. She shouldn’t have violated the contract by giving Iggy to her hairdresser. However, Mutts and Moms isn’t claiming it screwed up at all. I watched the initial interview with the leader of the group and she was nasty. Iggy’s welfare didn’t seem to be on the list of reasons why he was reclaimed. It was Ellen. All the woman talked about was how Ellen could start her own group if she didn’t like it. She wasn’t taking this from the Ellen’s of the world. And oh, by the way, there’s that rule that they don’t adopt to families with children under the age of 14.

Mutts and Mom obviously is run by less than savvy people. When they learned that Ellen gave away the dog to her hairdresser, they should have contacted the new family to see if they were a good home for Iggy. Call their vet; see if the other dog was well cared for. Visit the family; watch how the dog interacts with the family. If Iggy was happy, leave him there and move on to help one truly in need. Instead, they showed they have all of the power. Yeah right.

They made rescue groups suspect. Our goal should be to find homes for homeless pets. We cannot expect perfect homes, since none of us is perfect, but we can expect good homes. If you find a good home, celebrate, because now another dog can be saved. Never forget that there are 5 to 9 million dogs and cats that will be killed in shelters this year.

Ellen would have been a wonderful resource for Mutts and Moms. Imagine how she could have helped that rescue group. Instead, Mutts and Moms will probably be destroyed, which might be for the best.

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