'Rescue Day' offers chance to adopt abandoned pets

June 17, 1994|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Chris Jackson could hardly believe her ears when she heard another woman say she wanted a Dalmatian because her two children enjoyed "101 Dalmatians."

"The dogs are not dogs in the movies," Ms. Jackson says, adding that such "instant gratification" can leave dogs and cats homeless when the pet's novelty wears off.

Tomorrow, the Central Maryland Dalmatian Club member will be among the animal lovers attending the pet "Rescue Day" in Columbia, an event aimed at finding permanent and temporary homes for homeless pets.

Organized by the Animal Authority, a retail pet supply store on Dobbin Road where Ms. Jackson works, the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. event will draw 15 animal advocacy groups, including the Dalmatian Club and Alley Animals, a Baltimore group that rescues strays from alleys.

"The object is to give a chance for people interested in adopting a pet to get together with people who have pets and are looking for homes," Ms. Jackson said. "If we find five good homes, we'll be happy."

Animal group representatives will interview prospective pet owners and hand out applications and educational literature to those interested in taking in a pet.

"People will not be able to adopt dogs straight from Animal Authority," Ms. Jackson said. "Most of the organizations don't allow that. Most of the organizations want to interview and, in some cases, visit the homes before they let the dog or cat go."

There's a reason for the intense screening.

"We try and match the right dog with the right home," Ms. Jackson said. "Our goal is not to have this new home become the fifth home that the dog loses. Our goal is to put the animal in a home it will stay in for the rest of its life."

People who become pet owners through Rescue Day will receive a free Animal Authority starter kit with coupons and dog or cat food samples.

The abandonment of pets has always been a concern of shelters and humane societies, Ms. Jackson said.

"I think it's gotten worse over the years," she said, explaining that society is too busy to care for and train pets properly. "Let's face it, we live in a society where people abandoned their kids," she said.

"Backyard breeders," who breed animals to make money, add to the problem by later neglecting or abandoning animals they can't sell, Ms. Jackson said.

This month, sanitation workers removed at least 85 animals from a filthy house in Baltimore where family members said they had taken in the stray animals to protect them. Those animals now are in new environments.

Dogs and cats aren't the only pets that need homes.

Diane Rogers, president of the Baltimore Ferret Club, said her group has found 60 homes for ferrets, small weasel-like mammals that are domesticated.

Many people buy the furry animals on impulse or for other inadvisable reasons, said Mrs. Rogers who will attend Rescue Day. The owners later learn that the animals aren't good around small children. "They will bite," she said.

Ms. Jackson said people may have good intentions in getting animals but later realize the pet doesn't suit their family's needs and get rid of it.

"Wanting to give a dog a home is nice, but if it's not the right home, it's not worth doing it," she said.

Ms. Jackson still has Shasta, the Dalmatian she rescued years ago. She also has two other Dalmatians, a rescued greyhound and three kittens she found on a road in September.

MA "The welfare of animals is very close to my heart," she said.

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