Gardner: Free Pet Events May Lead to Unspeakable Animal Abuse

Rabbits used for cosmetic testing (from PETA)

Orange County Supervisors are busy patting themselves on the back for the large number of animals they gave away recently, thus reducing the numbers of animals held captive at the 75 year old shelter, many of whom were likely going to be killed either because they were too young, too old, got sick after being placed there, or barked aggressively after being left in conditions that mirror holocaust surroundings.

Fees were waived and people had to pay only $27 to cover the rabies vaccination. Hundreds of pets were released.

But the dirty little secret behind all this is that programs such as these are frowned on by almost all reputable agencies and rescue groups. Why? Because when you give away these animals for free or very low cost, you are going to attract people whom you don’t want.

Monkeys used as test subjects, Animals sacrificed in satantic cults, Rabbits killed after cosmetic testing, Dogs used is dog fights

Monkeys used as test subjects, Animals sacrificed in satantic cults, Rabbits killed after cosmetic testing, Dogs used is dog fights

BUNCHERS – use free and no-cost adoptions to round up animals that are used for testing for commercial products. These animals undergo unthinkable tests by manufacturers who eventually kill them after they have been blinded, infected, and/or maimed.

DOG FIGHT PROMOTERS – use these animals as bait in dog fights, or simply to keep the fighting dogs in shape. These animals die unspeakable deaths.

SADISTS – as difficult as it may be to believe, there are people who desire to inflict pain on animals. Statistics indicate that a large proportion of criminals have animal abuse in their background.

CULTISTS – animals are sacrificed in any number of cult rituals, especially satanic cults. Sometimes the animals are killed all at once, but other times they are systematically dismembered and the various parts used in different aspects of the rituals.

FEEDERS – many smaller animals are used to feed larger animals, like pythons, alligators, etc. Often they are fed alive to the large predators.

Usually these types of people troll Craig’s list and newspapers looking for ads that say “Free to Good Home”. But when a shelter holds an event like Orange County has been holding, this is truly Christmas for these miscreants.

Because I was concerned that Orange County Supervisors and shelter staff were unwittingly giving away pets to end up being taken by one of these awful people, I asked my City staff to find out what special precautions were being taken to screen out these people.

Much to my chagrin, I learned that nothing special was being done. Thus, we can reasonably expect that some proportion of the hundreds of animals release by the County ended up in even more cruel and unusual circumstances than they were living in at the County shelter.

The low cost programs are a shameful way to reduce the shelter population. The Board of Supervisors and the County staff should immediately take steps to screen applicants who want to adopt animals, in general, and more specifically when they have these low cost events.

An even better solution would be to make it easier for rescue groups to work with the County. Among rescue groups Orange County is notorious for being the most difficult shelter to work with and the most expensive to negotiate with. Other shelters are more responsive and charge much less than Orange County does. By making it easier for rescue groups to draw from the County, people who want to adopt pets would be put through much more rigorous screening processes. The County has neither the resources nor the desire to screen applicants, but the rescue groups have plenty of volunteers who look upon the pets as individuals and who actively seek positive life-time homes. Indeed, some of these groups are criticized for being “too picky”.

The Supervisors should be less concerned about numbers and think about lives. Simply releasing animals with low and no cost events will result in unspeakable animal abuse. The Supervisors attention would be better spent authorizing free pets to rescue groups so that the numbers can be reduced but we can get the pets into better homes.

The county officials have continued to cloud discussions in secrecy and stop public collaboration and transparency. This practice allowed the current 75 year old shelter to become a dungeon rather than a true shelter for homeless animals.  They need to put their egos and fears aside and do what’s humane and right for the animals as well as the community of Orange County.

Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated that Orange County supervisors were promoting a “12 Days of Petmas” adoption event. While county officials do have a Christmas pet adoption event planned the event mentioned was promoted in Orange County, Florida not California.

Dr. Jim Gardner is on the City Council for Lake Forest. You can check him out on LinkedIn and/or Facebook and you can share your thoughts about the City at Lake Forest Town Square on Facebook. His comments are not meant to reflect official City Policy.

Dr. Gardner was licensed in animal rehabilitation and helped rescue animals during Katrina, the botulism epidemic at the Salton Sea, and during the California oil spills. He started the County’s “Seniors for Seniors” program and for 5 years during the recession helped raise 250 tons of pet food that was distributed to needy people so they could keep their pets at home and not surrender them.

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • annomouse

    It’s ludicrous to think that the county animal shelter will ever have the capacity to screen prospective animal owners the way that these private ‘rescue’ groups do, but they should and could educate people better.
    Why not require before every adoption that the prospective pet owner sit through a comprehensive film on the animal they are wanting to adopt.
    The county could produce these films and maybe have a small screening room at their new facility.
    For dogs they could maybe have two films, one for small dogs and one for large and make them both brutally honest.

    The film could cover:

    *Cost; food, shots and other vet bills, beds, toys, leashes, etc.

    *Training; show puppies and untrained older dogs in all their destructive glory, biting, chewed shoes, scratched doors, dug up yards, ruined rugs etc.

    *Barking problems; especially relevant for people who are gone all day and/or live in apartments.

    *Size; many apartment dwellers adopt a cute 10 lb puppy only to return a 80 lb dog a few months later, make people understand the needs and issues related to the size and breed of dog they are about to adopt.

    * Exercise and excrement; again making people understand the real life ramifications of having to take the dog out, even in the rain and cold or when you’re tired.

    * Lifespan and responsibility; people need to understand the years long commitment being a pet owner means, including what to do with your pet when you go on vacation or even out of town for the weekend.

    They could do the same for cats and rabbits, birds and reptiles. This seems to me the best way to make sure people who want to adopt a pet are serious and will have some idea of what they are taking on.

    • Bob and Barb

      Excellent idea but doubt OCAC would do it. It’s easier to “clear the shelter” and improve their numbers.

  • LFOldTimer

    Btw, I agree that those who adopt animals should be screened prior to the adoption getting finalized. But I don’t think it’s fair to scrutinize those who get a discount on the pet as opposed to those who pay full price. That shouldn’t have anything to do with it. People who pay full price for a pet are quite capable of abusing animals too.

    Screening should include a cursory background check on the adopters and an examination of the location where the pet would be housed. I suspect this would require significant manpower and slow down the county adoption process that would be cumbersome for an agency that does the pet adoption volume of OC Animal Services. It would cost money too. Perhaps revenue from cat licensing could help offset those costs. But easing up on regulations for adoption rescue groups is a good idea. In my limited experience with the rescue groups most do seem to care about the environment where their animals go and have high standards. It’s not all about the money.

    There should be a restricted list of known animal abusers who are banned from obtaining a pet from OCAS or any other animal group, regardless of the selling price.

  • LFOldTimer

    If all the animal advocates and lovers were really devoted to saving the lives of animals they would be screaming at the top of their lungs for some sort of mandated licensing of cats in the county – just like there is for dogs. No wonder there’s an overpopulation of cats. 70% to 80% of cats that are impounded at the county animal prison are eventually executed there.

    Cat owners in OC are not required to buy licenses and thus incentivized to spay or neuter their pets and there are no requirements for cat vaccinations, like there are for dogs. How crazy is that? It’s a safety issues too!

    The excuses range from ‘We don’t want more government interference and more laws’ to ‘Most cats stay indoors’ to ‘Other OC cities don’t license cats so why should we?’ to ‘The state doesn’t mandate it’ to ‘We don’t have the administrative capabilities to license cats’.

    Of course it’s all pure nonsense to thinking adults.

    If dog owners are mandated to buy a license – then so should cat owners. Otherwise – get rid of the dog license ordinances. Let’s restore some semblance of fairness and equality under the law and make all pet owners responsible for financially sustaining the county animal care system.

    Do you think it would fly in the public school system if parents of girls were required to pay lunch fees and extracurricular activity fees while the parents of boys were exempt?

    The devout animal advocates and lovers would get a lot more respect from me if they demanded the licensing and regulations of cats in OC which would help reduce the onslaught of cat executions at the shelter. Many more cats are executed there than dogs.

    • Rose Tingle

      1.Licensing of cats WAS recommended in either the performance audit or one of the Grand Jury reports, and so came before the OC Board of Supervisors. The OC Board of Supervisors said No.
      2. You know most, not all, of the city council members are afraid of the Board of Supervisors, so they are not going to go against their wishes else they won’t get endorsed at the next election.
      3. All the city council members who are responsible for the massive housing development in Orange county could easily require the developers to agree to paperwork in the their documentation to new owners to register their pets. It would save the county and cities money now used for canvassing, it would bring in more revenue to the county shelter so that could save more animals from being killed.
      4. And as far as animal advocates requesting this, animal advocates have been requesting oversight at the shelter and an animal welfare commission so that collaboration could take place to bring the shelter operations into the 21st century, but so far the County CEO has said NO!

      • LFOldTimer

        “1.Licensing of cats WAS recommended in either the performance audit or one of the Grand Jury reports, and so came before the OC Board of Supervisors. The OC Board of Supervisors said No.”

        That doesn’t preclude the cites from doing it. The contract cities have the option to license cats in their cities.

        “2. You know most, not all, of the city council members are afraid of the Board of Supervisors, so they are not going to go against their wishes else they won’t get endorsed at the next election.”

        Why would the supes care if a city licenses cats? It would actually help mitigate cat overcrowding and euthanasia at the shelter. It would seem the supes would welcome the contract cities to help alleviate their problems since they take tremendous heat for the euthanasia problems. It would also generate more revenue that could result in more resources to deal with the shelter problems.

        I have a different opinion. I believe the council members (and the supes) are afraid of ticking off the cat owners and losing their votes.

        “3. All the city council members who are responsible for the massive housing development in Orange county could easily require the developers to agree to paperwork in the their documentation to new owners to register their pets. It would save the county and cities money now used for canvassing, it would bring in more revenue to the county shelter so that could save more animals from being killed”

        I am no fan of developers. But animal control is not in their job description and that onerous burden should not be placed on their shoulders. It would be the same as holding the developers responsible for homeowners who harbor fugitives from the law
        in one of their homes. I don’t want developers held accountable for city or county government neglect.

        “4. And as far as animal advocates requesting this, animal advocates have been requesting oversight at the shelter and an animal welfare commission so that collaboration could take place to bring the shelter operations into the 21st century, but so far the County CEO has said NO!”

        I’ve never seen or heard an animal advocate or lover in Orange County who has been active in county government stand before an elected board and demand mandated cat licensing as a way to help reduce the awful widespread killings of cats at the county shelter. If you are aware of such a presentation please direct my attention to it.