How many times have you heard a person say “I rescued this dog/cat from the streets.”, or “I am a pet rescue.” or, “I rescued it from pet store.”? I hear these quite often, (or see it posted on websites), the problem is... that often what the person thinks was a rescue, was not.
If a pet is outside, do not assume that it was discarded by its owner. It may have just gotten out of the yard for a moment. It may simply be lost, or may even have been stolen and abandoned since. It is not uncommon for people to take their neighbors cat, drive to another area of town, or country, and abandon it, of course this is illegal but if you are the person who finds the pet and keeps it, it could be you that is charged with theft (or at least possession of stolen property).
When you take a pet you find on the pet it is not time to pat yourself on the back just yet. You need to call the local animal shelter and report finding it so that its rightful owner can claim it. Only after waiting a certain period of time might you consider it your own – but even then it is a good idea to take it to the vet to be checked for a microchip or tattoo.
|If you found this cat, I hope you would report finding him.|
When a person finds a pet outside, particularly those without collars, it is unfair to assume the owner does not want it. It is far better to assume the owner does want it, but they just do not know where it is. Keeping a pet without reporting finding it is really pet theft, whether you took it from in the house, from the front yard, or somewhere down the block. If you didn't try to find the owner, you did not “rescue” the animal. I must back up for a second and add that it is, in most areas, legal to take pets you find wandering off their owners property, but only if you call the shelter and report finding it, or actually take it to the shelter.
If you find a pet, no matter how cute it is, you cannot automatically keep it as your own, the law of “Finders Keepers” does not apply to pets (at least not in most areas of the world), you have to report finding it. To say you rescued it is simply not true, if you want to rescue a pet, go adopt one from death row at an animal shelter, do not keep somebody else's pet. Yup, that means you might have to pay an adoption fee, deal with it.
Hoarders sometimes justify themselves as pet rescuers, but many hoarders keep too many pets in less than ideal conditions, as such a hoarder is hardly a pet rescuer. Most hoarders keep pets to feel good about themselves, not to improve the quality of life for a pet, if you are a pet hoarder, you are not a pet rescuer, deal with it.
Pet Store Buyers
The worst pet rescuer story is the one where a person buys a typically overpriced pet from a pet store and says they “rescued it”. I just want to shake and yell at these people. You didn't rescue a pet, you condemned its parents to a horrid life in a puppy mill!
Only a rare few pet stores offer shelter pets for adoption (which would be a rescue) but these are clearly owned by the rescue group, not the store. When stores sell pets, it is not anything other than a profit making venture that involves thousands of animals being use to breed more – something no rescue organization would ever support. If you bought a puppy at a pet store and paid more than the cost of vaccinations and worming (approx $100US), you did not rescue it at all, you simply bought into an industry that mass produces animals warehouse style, and this applies to all pets, from fish, to ferrets, bunnies to birds. If you bought your pet from a pet store you didn't rescue it, so stop patting yourself on the back, and well... deal with it.