Disclaimer: I did not actually see the episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show that has created such a controversy in the dog rescue community. My observations about those events are thus based on what I’ve been told. That, however, doesn’t really affect the principal thoughts in this blog entry.
Background (about the Ellen Show episode): Apparently, a Ellen Degeneres adopted a dog from a canine rescue organization (nameless in this blog, so I’ll call it “CRO”), then determined that she wasn’t going to be able to give the dog the home that it deserved and gave the dog to her (Ellen’s) hairdresser (I think). That violated a provision of the adoption contract that Ellen had signed, so the CRO went to the dog’s new home and recovered it. According to reports I’ve been given, Ellen ripped the CRO a new one on one of her show’s episodes.
So the question being debated is: Who’s right? Was the CRO within its rights to recover the dog? Was the new family at fault for taking the dog? What liability does Ellen have?
I’ve been told that the CRO retrieved the dog in the face of a couple of teenage girls begging and pleading for them not to. That naturally makes it seem like the CRO is cold-hearted, heartless, etc. I think that’s what Ellen reported on her show. But further investigation revealed that the CRO offered the family an adoption application to fill out, but the family refused. (I wonder what the family would have been done if they’d been offered an adoption contract instead of merely an application, but I also wonder if the family “obviously” satisfied the CRO’s criteria.)
The CRO has, since that episode, reportedly received death threats and other extremely hostile confrontations. But all they did was enforce the terms of their contract. Or is that right? Some could argue that the CRO did not have a complaint against the family, but only against Ellen…since it was Ellen who violated the contract. Yet, it’s true that the CRO exists solely to represent and protect the dogs’ interests. So, should the CRO have gone to the family and recovered the dog? Should they have gone to Ellen and demanded that she recover the dog and return it to the CRO? Should the CRO have gone to court and sued the pants off somebody (e.g., Ellen)?
Sheltie Rescue of Utah has the same kind of contract provision, and we have not yet encountered a situation where we have become aware of a violation. I hope we manage to keep our heads and handle the situation with some sensitivity and delicacy if and when it does come up.
What are your thoughts about this topic?