Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"Breed Rescue"

Dear __________,

I am contacting you in search of a place to send a person we hired months ago by accident. The employment agency lead us to believe she was white but unfortunately she turned out to be more Latino.  She is a great employee who works hard and gets along with everyone. Attached is her picture.*  Can you help by taking her into your organization?


No, we didn't really receive that letter.  But we did receive this one:

My name is _____ and I am a volunteer with _____ Rescue.  I am contacting you in search of a place to send a Pitt Bull that was pulled from a high kill shelter months ago by accident. The shelter lead us to believe he was a lab but unfortunately he turned out to be more Pitt. I cannot get him adopted through our rescue group and am looking for a reliable rescue that we can transfer him to. We have had him completely vetted, neutered,  microchipped and treated his heartworm.  His name is Johnson and he is around 2 yrs of age. He is a great dog with a ball drive. Gets along great with all other dogs but will chase cats and squirrels. Attached is his picture. Can you help by taking him into your rescue group?

 Here's our response:

Dear ______,

What a coincidence. We just took in a dog we were told was a pit mix, and he turns out to be a lab. But guess what? He's still a great dog, and we're going to find him a great home. End of story, because a good dog is a good dog, and we don't discriminate on the basis of appearance. Nor do we try to get rid of a dog we already committed to. Sadly, we know your organization has a policy of doing just that. 

We took a dog from Alachua Co. last year that your rescue had committed to and then decided to reject because he wasn't "pure" enough looking.  He was in no way, shape, or form a pit bull (one "t," by the way), but he deserved to have a second chance, so we gave him one.

Your policy makes me angry, and we won't enable your silly breedism by taking this dog from you. I hope you'll try to find him a good home.  In case you guys want to learn from this, here are some questions to ponder:

- Why do you think he is a "Pitt"? He looks pretty lab-by to me.  That coat, those ears.  Honestly, not a pit bull.  Have you done a DNA test? 

- And more important, why on earth does that matter so much? Is he a different dog now that you changed your mind about his parents?

- Why do you think a pit bull rescue has more resources than a lab rescue? The proportion of "pit bulls" to labs in local shelters is probably 20:1, so maybe you could err on the side of generosity, just this once.


* The picture is of Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut in the U.S.  She is currently director of the Johnson Space Center.