Rescue Journal

the view from on my high horse today

Carol  ·  Sep. 3, 2008

is a bit different than other folks and i have been thinking about a bunch of stuff lately while i was busy not blogging.

like gwen and al....we have had a few discussions about them since they arrived because gwen is only 7 yrs old, PB, gorgeous, and very human centered too. she is, geez what a freaking GREAT, HAPPY, HEALTHY, WONDERFUL, and fun 14 yrs old...he is toast in the world of adoptables...people think he is just too old.

al is the ball and chain, holding gwen back..... hardly anyone wants to adopt two big dogs together, esp, if one is an old-man plain jane pitty cross. yep...alastair is gwen's ball and chain.

but what makes us think that gwen wants a home, more than she wants to be with her old friend al? does a home of her own mean more to her than al does?...i betcha it doesn't.

here is my dream...someone comes here and falls head over heels in love with both of them. they don't think that al is a ball and chain, they think he is the most greatest gift they have ever found. gwen is the other greatest gift in the two-some combination and this family will thank their lucky stars, every single day that they found these two incredible dogs and were able to give them a fabulous home, together. that is my dream for them but only because i truly believe this is what these two dogs expect me to dream.

another thing i have been thinking about is more a reality check. as cocopuff and a few others have proven in the past...i hate to tell folks in rescue this...but our adoption and surrender forms are not worth the paper they are written on....none of them are and for one very good reason.

according to current laws, animals are not sentient beings whose best interests must always be considered...they are property, plain and simple, end of story...the simple and only current truth.

none of our adoption or surrender forms support the whole legal property concept and consequently none of them will ever hold up in court which means we are unable to legally protect them when we really need to be able too. we might win in a long drawn out court case if we have the thousands of dollars it takes to follow thru...but we might not win and i don't like the not winning part so i have been thinking alot about this.

also...everyone knows i call a spade a spade...even if said spade morally should be called a heart. it is another form of lying to pretend i can arbitrarily turn a black and white legal spade into a warm and fuzzy red heart just because i think the laws are stupid and wrong. i am not a liar, i am not a pretender and i am freaking tired of not being able to protect the ones i love because we have utterly stupid animal rights laws. soon as i get my courage up tp face all the flack this is going to cause, i am doing two things that i need to do and it will probably piss people off.

first i am going to burn all of our surrender and adoption forms which are utterly worthless anyway and i am going to do something different but cannot be contested in a court of law.

animals ARE legally property and i want ALL unquestionable legal rights to day soon, all surrenders will come in here with a paid in full bill of sale and all adoptions/ fosters will go out as only a lease agreement according to my rules.

it sucks to write them as property because i think it is so very wrong...but that is EXACTLY what are laws say they are so until the laws get smarter and more enlightened, i am calling a spade a spade so no one can legally mess around with them or me anymore. and if folks don't like it cuz it is disrespectful and morally wrong?...change the freaking laws then so we can legally and without future risk, call a heart a heart.



While I was at the Dr.s in June waiting (like usual) I had the chance to read an issue of the Globe and Mail. They were talking about the laws surrounding animals. The laws are slowly changing as people demand different legislation. I think alot of this has come from people splitting up and both wanting the pet(s). Unfortunetly, the animals, being property are divided as such but I think the laws are slowly changing and will eventualy consider animals not as property but as "beings". The article is worth a read.


you have 72 hours after signing an agreement to purchase to change your mind if it is a solicited a door to door. but when you "sell" is sold as soon as money exchanges hands and it becomes legal fact, you do not own it anymore, someone else does.
the spca and pounds surrender forms are not iron clad the spca and ask them how many animals they reluctantly returned to fickle minded, not the best kind of surrendering owners last year....their forms may or may not stand up in court and it may turn into a huge media/court hassle with an unknown outcome because there aren't any laws written to support what we do.... the spca knows this too.

it is not abandonment to leave your animal at a shelter whose job is to provide for the basic legal needs of the is not abandonment to "lose" your animal cuz animals get lost all the time. and try proving in court if an an animal running loose on the side of the road or tied to a fence in front of a shelter if it is lost or abandoned, the court barring any concrete eye witness proof will find for the owners that the dog was probably and will return it...someone could very well have "found" the lost dog, and tied him to the fence...the law is quite clear...whoever can prove ownership generally wins.


A bill of sale can also be challenged in court, Deb - if it was signed "under duress" or in other situations. For example, there are laws that protect people from make decisions under pressure from sales pitches in your home (like vacuum salespeople) or telemarketers. There is a time frame in which the sale can be negated.
Carol raises an interesting point, but I'm not sure the solution provides any greater protection. I suspect that the surrender/adoption agreements used by large organizations like the SPCA and by animal control in large municipalities have been developed or at least reviewed by their lawyers.
And one can be charged with animal abandonment - unlike garbage, the charge is not "littering" - and with animal cruelty, so some areas of our law do recognize animals as different from used cars and televisions.
A legal perspective on the status of surrender/adoption forms would be really useful, as well as a search for legal precedents.


The law does not recognize words like "adoption" or "fostering" when it pertains to animals. A dog is property, it can be bought (like a television), sold (like a used car), stolen (like a wallet) or dumped (like so much trash). It has taken years and years to get laws passed regarding animal cruelty, and those laws have no teeth. If people are lulled into believing that the courts consider animals sentient beings, as opposed to property, then people will no longer believe that we need to continue fighting for that very thing.

If the former owner of any given animal were to demand Carol return that animal, a surrender form may or may not be viewed as legitimate, given the whims of the Judge/Justice of the Peace at the court hearing (and we all know Carol, it would go to court). A Bill of Sale is a legal document, and has to be reconized as such. The life of an animal can't be left up to the imprecise opinion of the court.


The law needs to be changed and as an ever-hopeful optimist, I believe that one day it will closer reflect what these beings truly are.

In the interim, however, why not do both? Why not incorporate a Bill of Sale AND a Surrender Form? That way you are ensuring the animals at SAINTS are protected in the eyes of our current laws, yet you are still spreading and sharing the spirit of what they really are.

The tricky counter-point to this are animals who are adopted (as opposed to fostered). Predecent is a powerful thing and defending (should you ever have to - fingers, toes and paws crossed that you wont) a Bill of Sale in a surrender situation and an Adoption Contract on the other side may be challenging.

Perhaps there is value in adding traditional "Bill of Sale" language to your surrender form to have that legality covered, and maintaining your existing adoption contract???

The mind boggles; not a simple topic, that's for sure!


There may well be a person/family who want Alastair and Gwen together. Bonded pairs have been adopted from VAS by people who understand, like you do, that an animal's best friend may well not be a human.
We have several loosely "bonded" pairs in our family. At different times, Kirby and Piper are inseparable, Maddie and Clio, Kiefer and Sienna, Piper and Sienna....they love each other, they have very distinguishable relationships.
Splitting up a bonded pair is never without risk. One dog might flourish and the other fail, both might fail, they may seem fine on the outside while dying on the inside....dogs can't tell us what hurts, and God knows dogs mourn deeply.
I applaud your decision to keep Al and Gwen together (as if you would have split them up when you discovered they were bonded). The fact that Gwen is 7 and a purebred means little. She could be a 5 year old mutt, but she and Al need one another, maybe more than they need a "family of their own". I believe that Gwen and Al are each others closest family, and any humans in the picture are in-laws, outlaws, cousins and exes.

As for the ages dogs reach before they become undesirable, I have a 19 year old, a 17 year old and 2 15 year old dogs who put that matter to rest for me. As long as dogs are happy and pain free, life is to be lived. There is no "too old".

I'm not sure what it's going to take to have lawmakers realize that all animals are sentient beings, and require protection. My dogs are not trucks or lumber or stained glass windows, they have many of the same feelings I do, and are often much smarter in their choices than I am. Sadly, a Bill of Sale is better protection for the S.A.I.N.T.S. than anything else.


sorry i did not actually finish what i wanted to say. i find it incredibly hard when people say they do not want an animal because he is too old. They come with all sorts of benefits. i have one middle aged dog and two old dogs, all rescued. i got my last old dog from the pound who had been there 14 months. he is probably 13 or 14 , not very cute and that is probably why he sat there. that sucks. he is truly a great dog.he likes to lay around a lot, loves bell rubs and going to the park and playing. it breaks my heart that these kind of dogs are not given a chance, i love puppies but for me they are a lot of work . the old dogs out at saints are all incredible but as carol says for some of them time has just sllipped away too fast and once adoptable now are not. please people, think about these older ones and how much love they will bring into your lives and make their last remaining years good ones for them. you will not be sorry.


I so hope gwen and al get a home together. i can not see anyone seeing them and not absolutely falling in love with both of them. They have such personality and al acts as young as gwen. please let someone love and want them besides all of us at saints.