I must admit that my experience with shelters is somewhat limited. Usually, when I find myself in need of a Pet; I simply travel to my nearest Humane Society and find one that suits or perhaps a friend (or a friend of a friend) knows of a lovely animal that they are trying to place in a loving home.
However, after our last pet debacle - which I won't go into at this time; the Master and I decided that we wanted to adopt a puppy this go-round.
So I hopped online - the Internet being the best place to find real live things after all - and came across a shelter in our area that actually had purebred boxer pups available.
Now, I believe that puppy farms are detestable and love the feeling of moral certitude that comes from rescuing an otherwise unwanted dog. (Not that the puppies are unwanted - indeed competition is fierce. It's only after they have grown for a year or two that they generally become unwanted.)
The pups are expensive; though much less than I'd guess the going rate for a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder would be. I really don't have any problems with the expense of puppy ownership nor do I have any qualms about putting a deposit down to hold a puppy pending placement.
What I do take issue with is this - while I am assuming the risk of taking a rescued dog, be it puppy or full grown, and I am paying for the privilege - it seems a bit much to ask that I put a *non-refundable* deposit of 1/2 the adoption price without the benefit of meeting the dog, viewing their current living quarters, or having any idea of their treatment in their foster home.
Perhaps, if this was a shelter that we had worked with previously or if I personally knew the shelter management, or maybe even if I knew someone who had worked with this shelter with good results; I might feel somewhat differently.
But to ask someone to pay for a pet that they are not guaranteed to receive (pending home review, references check, and suitability review) and have not yet met or seen from someone that they don't know - seems to be... arrogant.
It could be that I am simply out-of-touch with the way things are done at some of the shelters these days. But isn't the whole goal here to make sure the pet will be with a family that will love and take care of him or her? It makes me wonder how many perfectly good homes are turned-off by the myriads of hoops; personal, financial, and schedule; that they make a prospective adoptive family jump through.
I've heard that pet adoption from a shelter can be as daunting as child adoption. I don't believe that. But I am beginning to get irritated by the holier-than-thou attitude that is inferred by the "placement" process of today's shelters.
Abuse of any living being is despicable - particularly (in my biased view) of living mammals. I don't condone it and I think the penalties should be harsh for such treatment.
Yet I find myself wondering how it is that not only did I volunteer to have a complete stranger come into my home to judge my lifestyle and living arrangements but I have to PAY for that judgement.
It seems to me that we've got this the wrong way around. If you love animals so much that you're willing to run a shelter to prevent the wholesale slaughter of strays and abused pets - then upon deeming me "worthy" of pet ownership, you should be paying me for taking the animal out of your upkeep and into my own. After all, I am now the one responsible for feeding, healthcare, and all liability issues of the pet.
(And yes, I know these people have to make a living too. But seriously NON-REFUNDABLE is a term that I don't think should exist.)