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The Ellen Show, or Rescue Organization Policies

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?

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4 comments to The Ellen Show, or Rescue Organization Policies

  • wolfcoln

    How unfortunate that Mutts and Moms has taken so much heat for this. They are just doing what they are supposed to do. I belong to a couple of recue groups and I understand what Mutts and Moms has done as I am sure alot of other people do. My family recues dogs that are no longer cute, or have other disabilies. The recue groups trust us because of our ability to perform these tasks. I support them and they in turn give us support. I undertood the contracts when we signed them. If anything ever happens to us and we are unble to care for our dogs, those groups will be the first we contact.

    Keep up the good work Mutts and Moms

  • kcollins

    I totally agree with the actions of the rescue organization. I was “rescued” by a sheltie 5 years ago, and also signed an agreement that if, for whatever reason, I no longer wanted the dog, or became capable of honoring my commitment to him, I will return him to the rescue organization. The whole point is to do what is in the best interest of the animal. If the family truly wanted the dog, and were capable of providing for his/her needs, I don’t understand why they refused to go through the rescue agency’s adoption process. Kudos to all rescue groups who are willing to take the heat to ensure that these animals are treated with the love, stablility and dignity they deserve!

  • sandaleacres

    I understand that the agreement states that any dogs under a certain weight can not go into a home with children under 13 yrs old and the family that Ellen gave the puppy to had younger children.

  • Paul

    I also work with a Sheltie rescue group. Our contract reads the same. We are working for the future of the dog. I question if Ellen was a fit home for theis dog. I have heard that she wasn’t required to complete an application. Apparently someone at Moms & Muts was blinded by celebrity.
    In any event Moms & Muts had problems with the hairdressers family and did the right thing, for the dog.
    God Bless all who work in rescue.

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