How to find a GREAT home for a homeless animal
Did you know ?
by Garo Alexanian
NO ADOPTION AGREEMENT IS ENFORCEABLE IN COURT
What ? Why ? How ? You don’t believe it ? Read and be amazed at what you will learn !
When an adoptor has violated any provision of an adoption agreement, that violation MUST cause you (or your rescue group) financial harm. Moreover, such financial harm CANNOT have occurred prior to the violation, it must have occurred after the violation of the agreement and as a result of that violation. Since you cannot possibly be personally financially harmed by an adoption agreement’s violation, no adoption agreement is enforceable in court. What’s worse, people know that !
HOW DO YOU GET AN ENFORCEABLE ADOPTION AGREEMENT ?
Thirty years ago, we were informed off the record in chambers by a young African American Judge whose last name was Simpson, how to make an adoption agreement enforceable in court, AFTER he dismissed a case in which we had sued for violating our adoption agreement.
By placing a “liquidation clause” into the adoption agreement it becomes enforceable. That paragraph in the adoption agreement merely acknowledges that the rescue person or group had spent a pre-determined sum on making the adoption happen ($1500 is a reasonable amount to create a deterrent for the adoptor), and that the adoptor would agree to reimburse the rescue person or group for that pre-determined sum for any violation of any of the contract provisions. Voila, the agreement is now enforceable ! You can download our court enforceable Adoption Agreement and modify it with your info.
We immediately implemented such a “liquidation clause,” into our adoption agreement. Years later we had a few more violations of our adoption agreement. This time when we sued (not that the money is the main matter to us who spend so much on animals, but we know that the money matters to the adoptor who violated the adoption agreement), we won all the cases (I never saw Judge Simpson again). Every single one. We even won an appeal unanimously by all 3 Appellate Judges on one case which the lower court had refused to uphold the liquidation clause. We were even on one of those TV court shows, with Judge Mills Lane, and won a judgment there too. We collected from every single one who violated our adoption agreement. Imagine, months or years later, they go to their bank and find out that a big chunk of their money was taken out. Or they lose part of their pay to garnishment by a marshal ! Now, that’s sweet ! There you have it. The undoable IS doable, IF we really want to make it happen !
As we all know, if the adoptor did something stupid to the adopted animal, thereby violating the adoption agreement, we can’t get the animal back, it may even be dead. However, and this is the main reason to use an enforceable adoption agreement, it is a terrific deterrent to those who know that they are going to be less than a 100% committed lifetime home. Our adoption agreement has many requirements, but all of which are common sense things which a committed loving person would do anyway. If someone refuses to put their money behind doing any of those common sense things, that is a person you do not want to adopt to.
HOW TO SELECT ONLY LIFETIME HOMES TO ADOPT TO
You spend a LOT of money and labor, sweat and tears, to make an adoption happen. You don’t want to waste your sacrifices, much less the animal’s life, due to a negligent or reckless adoptor. So rescue people and groups rely on “vet checks” for references. They ask for previously owned animal’s veterinarian records, they talk with the vet, and pretty much go by that, in addition to their interview of the perspective adoptor of course. But, we all know that a veterinarian can only attest to how much money was spent. The veterinarian cannot know what kind of person the potential adoptor is. We operate one of the highest volume full service veterinary practices in the county, and can we claim to know how loyal a pet parent all of our clients are ? Of course not. We can deduce that for some clients from personally knowing them, but the great majority of our clients we can never know well enough as a person.
Relying on a veterinary reference is based on an assumption that wealthier people are better pet parents. Well, we have earth-shattering news for you. NOTHING can be further from the truth. After answering half a million phone calls, 35 years of adoptions and 10 years of proving low cost veterinary services to non-affluent pet parents (which is 90% of the public) we have learned a few facts which no one else knows.
Wealth does not necessarily or automatically translate into responsibility and care and loyalty to the animal.
Lack of financial means does not necessarily or automatically translate into irresponsible and reckless pet ownership.
Here are some of the reasons why. More affluent people have many material “assets” such as cars, second homes, motorcycles, boats, etc. They are also much “busier” than non-affluent people. They have a busy professional life, extensive social life, etc. It is logical that the animal will not be the main part of their life. The rest of the population, which is the great majority, do not have as many material things to latch onto, therefore, the animal is more likely to be the main love of their life. Does anyone recall Ellen Degeneres adopting a dog from a rescue group, and then giving it to a friend, thereby violating the adoption agreement and getting sued by the rescue group? Does anyone know that President Bill Clinton’s dog got hit by a car and was killed because he had others looking after it ? Does anyone know that his cat Socks was given away when he was no longer President ? Does anyone know that President Obama kept both his dogs Bo and Sunny after he was out of office ? Does anyone know that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had his dog Falla buried next to him ? Loyalty to and lifelong care of one's loved ones, which should include the family pets, is one of the strongest indicators of the character of the person.
Therefore, it is possible and even likely, that the 90% of Americans who are not affluent, have at least as much of a stake and desire to properly care for their pets as do well-off folks, and perhaps even more. Simple realities and logic makes it self-evident that:
A) when looking for a “good” home for a homeless animal, ALL people, regardless of wealth or status, should be evaluated equally and with the same factors
B) veterinarian checks should NOT be the main factor in qualifying an adoptor. Veterinary care does not prove lack of neglect, does not prove love, does not prove loyalty until the end of life. We have many who people come to our veterinary service with animals clearly neglected, but they sought veterinary care, with one excuse or another always making it sound like it was someone else’s fault. Do we know that to be true? Of course not. Or the opposite could be true, that they rescued the animal from a neglectful owner. Therefore, veterinary care should not be a determinative factor to weigh when approving an adoptor. Veterinary care should be only ONE of FIVE factors to weigh, along with:
1) signing an enforceable adoption agreement
2) willingness to let the adopting person or group visit the animal on two week’s notice, lifetime.
3) willingness to provide notification if the animal has a major medical issue PRIOR to making the medical decisions
4) permitting a home visit prior to or at time of the adoption
The simple acceptance of these conditions of adoption weeds out people who are whimsical, those who say anything they have to in order to get what they want in an impulsive moment, those who know that they are not reliable or do not have a stable lifestyle for such a responsibility but insist on having an animal anyway, etc.