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Local Columns

February 11, 2012

Maleah Stringer: Be truthful when filling out an application to adopt a pet

ANDERSON, Ind. — Animal shelters, humane societies and animal rescue groups across the country use adoption applications to screen applicants.

Because we at the Animal Protection League don’t know on a personal basis most of the people who adopt from us, this is simply one way to make that extra effort to put animals in loving permanent homes.

To some people it seems excessive and a little silly, but then they don’t see the abuse that humans do to animals on a regular basis. We do.

We want to make every effort that our animals are not abused or neglected. That you really do want that cute little puppy even when it grows up. That you meant it when you said you really wanted a high-energy dog. Or a cat that needs lots of attention. And that you understand that cats make bigger messes than kittens and it’s OK. We want to make sure the animals and the people adopting them are a good fit. We don’t want these animals coming back because we didn’t do our job. Do we always get it right? No, sometimes people fool us.

It is so very important that people are truthful when they fill out these applications. When they are not truthful and we become aware of this it becomes difficult for everyone concerned, and more times than not that application is denied. We want every adoptable animal to find a loving home. Unfortunately due to the numbers that come in on a daily basis, it is simply not possible; there are not enough responsible pet owners. This will continue as long as people do not spay/neuter their animals and let them roam and do not see pet ownership as an important responsibility.

Unfortunately, we do find it necessary to deny a small percentage of the adoption applications that are filled out. These are denied based on the information, or lack of, provided on the application, not being truthful and our time spent with the potential adopters, talking with them and watching them interact with animals.

Because we are not a no-kill shelter, the first thing people who have been denied say to us is, “You’d rather kill that animal than adopt it to us.” No, we would not. We do not want to euthanize any adoptable animal, but neither do we want to put that animal in harm’s way by placing it in a home where the care is in question. Or where we think that animal might come back.

By making that extra effort to screen adopters and making every effort to place these animals with responsible, loving pet owners we are also helping with animal control efforts. This will cut down on animals being abused, animals running loose in our communities and animals reproducing and adding to the pet overpopulation problem. Animals cared for and loved tend to not develop aggressive tendencies so they become less of a threat to members of our community.

So please do not be offended when you fill out an application and we ask questions or make phone calls. We simply want these animals to be safe.

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A huge thank-you to the students at Eastside Middle School and teachers Rita Walters and Bryan Granger for their fundraiser for the Animal Protection League. Your efforts make a difference in our community.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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