critter chat.indd

In this day of instant information sharing, many things are considered to be fact. It is very true that we do not have an “open adoption” policy when it comes to approving homes. We believe that we owe the animals to do what we can to make sure that they are placed in responsible, loving homes.

Because of our procedure, there are myths about the Danville Area Humane Society’s adoption guidelines are still believed. Let’s set the record straight:

Adoption Myth #1 We require fenced-in yards for all adoptions.

We know why this has spread. In 2004, a man applied for a cat. He was asked to provide the name of his veterinarian and refused. Within a couple of days, another man applied to adopt a dog to roam freely. Somehow, the two stories merged in television and newspaper reports. The man who wanted the cat turned to face the camera and said, “I was turned down because I do not have a fenced-in yard, even though I want an inside cat.”

The truth is, we do not allow adopted dogs to roam freely. If a person wants an outside dog, they must have a fence or a lot. If a person wants an inside dog, they do not have to have a fence or lot. They must supervise the dog while the dog is outside. We do not require entire farms to be fenced in, nor do we require fenced-in yards for inside cats.

Adoption Myth #2 If an adoption is declined, the animal dies.

For some reason, people gravitate towards the same animals. If one questionnaire is declined, most of the time the animal is adopted by someone else. For example, we had more than twenty questionnaires filled out on six dachshund/chihuahua puppies. Our statistics will show in that case that only six adoptions resulted from twenty questionnaires. However, all of the puppies, as well as the mother, were adopted.

Adoption Myth #3 We turn down people for no good reason.

The truth is, sometimes, people may meet all the criteria on an adoption questionnaire, but an adoption still does not result. There may be many reasons for this. Occasionally, the animal is claimed by the owner before the stray holding period is up. Sometimes, the landlord refuses to let them have a pet. In other cases, we may not feel the animal is a good match (for example, if a person has a snake pet, we usually will not let them adopt a guinea pig or other small “pocket pet.”) In one case, a couple filled out a flawless questionnaire, but they were obviously drunk. Another time, a family filled out a questionnaire that looked wonderful. However, the man kept hitting the wife the entire time she was filling out the questionnaire. Other times, people make comments to employees that give us reason to decline a questionnaire. For example, a man was declined years ago, and many letters to the editor resulted. When he had come to the shelter to adopt an animal, he said, “My other dog just got hit, and if I get a mutt from you, I won’t lose a lot of money when the dog gets killed in the road.”

Adoption Myth #5 We don’t adopt animals across state lines.

Actually, it used to be a state law that shelters could not adopt beyond the adjacent political subdivision lines of the Commonwealth. That meant we could only adopt to residents of Danville or Pittsylvania County. The law was changed to read that if an animal was to be adopted beyond adjacent political subdivision lines of the Commonwealth, the animal has to be spayed or neutered before leaving our custody. This is a state law, not our policy.

Sometimes, we may allow people to foster animals for us, and then sign the adoption contract when the animal is old enough to be spayed or neutered. We have an adoption radius of all of Danville and Pittsylvania County. If people do not live in those localities, then the radius is 25 miles from the shelter. However, an adoption committee can waive that radius policy.

If you have a question about our policies, please call and speak with me. Not all rumors are based on fact.

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