If you have experienced networking urgent dogs via social media, I’m sure you’ve seen the need for “pledges” or “sponsorship”.
Many folks, unable to foster, adopt, or transport, are more than willing to do the only thing they can do to save a dog on death row and this often involves donating money for the dog’s rescue.
To those with little hands-on rescue experience, it may seem like a completely legitimate need, and although sometimes it is, very often it is not.
Some common reasons for raising funds for an urgent dog:
- A rescue has expressed interest in the dog but does not have the “pull” fees [these are the fees that some shelters charge to release the animal which generally cover altering, vaccinations, and microchip. Pull fees are rarely over $200 and many shelters will waive the fees for rescue groups]. If this is the reason given – ask – if the rescue cannot afford the fees to pull a dog, how will they be able to afford paying for it’s care while in foster?
- A rescue has shown interest in the dog but the dog has medical needs that the rescue cannot cover and they need the funds to get the dog to the vet before they can commit to pulling. If this is the reason given – ask – is this something very common for this rescue? Do they make a habit of pulling dogs with medical needs that they cannot afford to cover? Do they give regular updates of the dogs that they pull?
- A rescue has no foster homes and intends to “board & train” a dog. If this is the reason – ask – how long do they intend to board the dog? Do they already have several dogs in boarding? How many dogs do they adopt a year? Do they post regular updates on the dogs they board? Do they have volunteers that are regularly checking on the dogs being boarded?
- A rescue is interested but is not local to the shelter so money is being raised for transport. If this is the reason – ask – do they regularly rescue dogs outside of their local area? Is there a reason why they are not helping locally [this can be a sign that local shelters are on to a scam and will no longer work with the rescue]? What method of transport will be used, who will be doing the transport, and what exactly will the funds be used for? Gas? Airfare? Freight charge?
Things to know before you donate:
- Not all rescues are created equal. Having a 501(c)(3) does not mean that a rescue is really saving lives, it simply means that they are a federally recognized non-profit organization.
- There are small, independent rescue groups that are not non-profit but still operate on donations. If you are going to donate to one of these groups, we advise doing so only if you know the people running it personally.
- Always exercise extreme caution when a private party is asking for pledges. If a rescue has shown interest in pulling a dog, you should be able to donate directly to that rescue.
- Pledges do not buy foster homes!
- If a person regularly posts urgent dogs and is regularly raising pledges for those dogs, that person is very likely running a scam. I have seen maybe one or two instances where pledges were genuinely needed for saving a dog. In one case, a foster was lined up but needed an outdoor kennel to house the dog during the day as her own dogs were inside and the dog in need of rescue needed to be kept separate from other dogs. In another case, a dog had serious medical needs. In both cases, pledges were made directly to a 501(c)(3) rescue, not a private entity.
- Legitimate organizations are always happy to answer questions (but please be sure you are asking in a polite, respectful, and non-accusatory manner). Before you ask a question, be sure you have visited their website and checked out their facebook page (make sure you are looking at “posts by others” and not just “highlights” as your question may already have been answered).
- Be suspicious of rescue organizations that always seem to step in at the eleventh hour and only when pledges have been raised – this is a sign that they are either not financially able to care for the pets they rescue, or something more nefarious.
Founder/Director, Pit Bulls Against Misinformation