Fight to Stop Fake Rescue Groups Intensifies

These “Pop-Up-Rescues” as they are commonly referred to, pose and incorporate as NPO’s, then seek out and collect donations solely for profit.

5.10.14 - Guardians of Rescue

In a recent press release by the Guardians of Rescue, a disturbing new trend was pointed out that seems to be taking hold in the dog rescue community where people are setting up fake rescue groups and trying to turn a profit, even though the bogus rescue group is set up as a non-profit organization.

These “Pop-Up-Rescues” as they are commonly referred to, pose and incorporate as NPO’s, then seek out and collect donations solely for profit.

Not only are these spurious rescue groups bilking people out of their hard earned money, but they are also notorious for mass shipments and truckloads of puppies being sent across state lines, in some of the worst conditions imaginable.  These huge shipping containers offer little to no ventilation, are often left filthy, and bear no certifications of proper health inspections, which is putting local dogs at risk for things like parvovirus and canine distemper.

Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue said in the press release, “Overcrowded store fronts, lack of medical paperwork and vetting, viral outbreaks and even breeding dogs are some of the irresponsible acts these alleged rescuers engage in.  Because puppies are a big sell, overcrowded trucks from the south transport puppies to New York and some groups are even purchasing puppies from puppy mills and saying they are rescued dogs from death row shelters, tagging them with an adoption fee of $500-$600 and sending them out without a bill of health or sterilizing them.”

To combat the unethical and often downright illegal practices, animal rescue organizations of Suffolk County, New York are working together to create what they are calling the Rescue Responsibility Act.  This piece of legislation provides a means of directly monitoring the actions of rescue groups, and a set of criteria by which to hold these groups and their leaders accountable for many of the inhumane and neglectful practices they participate in.

In New York as it stands, there are no laws to regulate rescue groups.  The Guardians of Rescue are hoping that Suffolk County will set the standard and pace for many other counties and hopefully in the future, whole states to get on board with the proposed legislation.

“It is sad to think that people can stoop to a new low on the profiting of animals,” Misseri said. “The state of Connecticut has laws regulating the import of companion animals and so should we.”

How can you tell if a local rescue group is legitimate?  Here’s a short list of things to look out for, so you can rest assured any newly adopted family member has been well taken care of, properly socialized, and has a clean bill of health:

  1. A Board of Directors that oversees the by-laws, mission statement and fiscal operations of the shelter/rescue.
  2. Corporate officers, including treasurers that report to the Board all fiscal management.
  3. Current tax returns that are displayed on websites and are public information.
  4. Money spent saving pet lives due to illness, injuries, spaying, neutering, micro chipping and general care for the animal for months or years.
  5. A reputable rescue or shelter will screen applicants, require references, and do home checks to place the pet responsibly. They will take the animal back if there is ever a problem in the new home.

9 thoughts on “Fight to Stop Fake Rescue Groups Intensifies

  1. I will not say that some of what is being reported doesn’t go on but where we operate it is more just unfortunate well-meaning people getting in over their heads – too many animals, not enough room, not enough money, etc. – rather than schlocky operations organized to turn animals for a profit.

    I have seen a growing number of these reports on the internet and we all know that whatever you see on the internet is gospel truth, right? Not. Let’s see some real news articles about such operations getting busted, please, rather than what seems more like internet gossip.

    If “acts” are passed requiring “rescue groups” to be more accountable than they already are – which currently means filing every year with the IRS if they are a 501(c)3 regardless of income, which filings are a matter of public record, and adhering to animal care standards set forth by their local Dept of Animal Regulation, if they have a kennel/cattery required to be licensed and inspected annually – it will be doing a very serious disservice to animal welfare. Many groups do operate on a shoe string. They are often working people, unpaid but volunteering their off work time to care for and find new homes for animals, making absolutely no profit from what they do but rather going into debt instead. These little “peanut” groups will be hard hit if additional filings and paperwork is dumped on them. Hell, all rescue groups will be hit by such “acts” which will require them to spend additional time satisfying bureaucrats which could be spent on their mission.

    PS. Who is Guardians of Animals? I looked at their site and what I can mainly see from it is they have a nice website; exactly what they do or how long they’ve been doing it I cannot tell.

    1. Hmmm… I don’t mean to come across as rude and cold but Guardians of Rescue (not Animals) are very well known in the rescue community. I believe they recently rescued hundreds of dogs from a “rescue” (Olympia Dog Rescue?). For years dogs suffered at the hands of a so called shelter in Washington. It was a pretty big story.

      Ask anyone involved in rescue and they will tell you of a “shelter” that is by no means helping any animals. If additional paperwork is needed to ensure a rescue truly is what is says then I am 100% for it. Any legitimate rescue realizes their reputation can make or break them.

  2. I don’t trust any rescue group. I used to support PAWS until learning that by turning over their unadoptables to kill shelters they in fact ARE a kill rescue themselves. I rescue on my own.

  3. Like anonymous, I rescue on my own… So many of the rescues claim they’re full or that they cannot take another dog… What alternative do people have then, other than no kill shelters. Me, myself, have rescued two severely “damaged” pups.. I’ve been bitten by both when breaking up a fight… Even before finding out that little tidbit, none of the si-called rescues I contacted would even call or write me back. So, because the pound isn’t an option, I keep the dogs, and suffer as do they because I don’t have the attachment I used to. It’s all messed up…

    1. If you are suffering, it is not a good situation for any of you…especially as the pups grow into maturity. They need training and discipline starting now.

    2. I hate to burst your bubble… but when a rescue states that it is full… I don’t know I am just throwing it out there…maybe they truly are full!?! A rescue is a rescue because they help animals in need find a responsible loving forever home. Their doors are not open like a homeless shelter to just accept all dogs. Why? They realize they also have a limit. How can they possibly help animals if they are overwhelmed?!? The goal is to be the middle man. They take an animal out of an undesirable situation..care for it in order for that animal to find a loving forever home. If they took every single animal… they would be Hoarders.

      I am a little uneasy that you and the above “rescue” on your own.
      If dogs are properly taken care of and safety measures are put in please I don’t understand why you are getting in the middle of dogs that are fighting.

      Tracer… your exact words… “I keep the dogs, and suffer as do they because I don’t have the attachment I used to. It’s all messed up…”

      I know understand why you have issues with rescues or to make it clear why rescues have an issue with you.

  4. ink this is an excellent approach…. The only problem I have if any is the fact that if you open your record as a rescue to public access it can backfire…. the public is not entitled to know every aspect of rescue bottom line Red Cross doesn’t do it correct? I mean that’s when you allow trolling pessimistic naysayers an opportunity to scrutinize the itemization of your Foundation…..it invites a whole new world of trouble.. as a rescue when can say screw trolls we won’t let them affect us but the reality is that they do 🙁 they affect both directly and indirectly the support but those pledges and donations that the rescue depends so highly upon
    …..Now with that being said lol everything else I am completely in support of and it is a wonderful idea as far as the application process their protocol etc but when it comes to the finances and the breakdown the public not entitled to that information as long as the job of rescuing is getting done and it’s getting done right and handled properly there is no reason for anybody to bitch about or dissect t it’s process.

  5. Is there any way to stop shelters from giving these people dogs? We warn them but they just don’t seem to care.

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