Shortly after the story of Lisa Atterby’s efforts to rescue cocker spaniels was featured in the News, she had to turn down a prospective buyer. It wasn’t that Atterby didn’t have animals in need of homes. The problem for Atterby was that the dog was being bought to give away as a Christmas present.
“Dogs are a commitment for 12 to 15 years,” Atterby said. “It’s not anything that should ever be given on an impulse. If your mother-in-law wants a dog then she should be the one to apply.”
At Petcetera in Tillicum Centre, where an animal rescue adoption service has been available since July, the rate of adoptions have doubled in the last two weeks as Christmas nears.
“There aren’t really too many requirements that we set,” said manager at large Rachel Davis. “But if we don’t feel comfortable adopting out, we will say no.”
For a flat $400 fee, Petcetera re-homes abandoned, confiscated or stray dogs from Las Vegas, which come to Saanich via a company called Foreclosed Upon Pets Inc.
But it’s not always so straightforward for some animal lovers hoping to make a difference in a dog’s life. Which is why it’s important to look into who you’re buying from when considering the trendy notion of rescuing a pet.
“There are definitely people out there who are just interested in making some finances off of animals, let’s be honest,” said Saanich pound officer Derek Rees, noting that are complications caused because there is no limit on the number of dogs that can legally be imported into Canada.
In the summer, Rees encountered a woman who had imported 15 dogs from Mexico to be sold in Saanich.
“(She) believed she was doing the right thing at the time,” he said. “I bumped into her when she had a total of 20 dogs in her van.”
Penny Stone, branch manager of the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, agrees that some independent dog importers are not capable of caring for the animals they import, despite their intentions.
“There are some really good reputable breed rescues out there, but there are also the people who aren’t quite prepared,” she said.
While not a huge issue, Stone said, several times per year, the branch receives rescued dogs that have been surrendered by their ill-prepared importers. She suggests prospective owners do some research, including contact the SPCA, to learn more about an individual or organization rescuing animals.
Healthy dogs, up for adoption at Saanich veterinary service
Pound officer Derek Reese regularly receives complaints from dog owners in Saanich. Many are concerned that required medical certification to bring dogs into Canada is given too freely and that sick dogs may infect local animals with communicable diseases.
“They really don’t present any health risk to local dogs,” said veterinarian Malcolm Macartney, owner of McKenzie Veterinary Services.
Macartney, who works alongside Mexican vets in spay and neuter clinics, does not see any issue with the certification process.
“Most people vaccinate their pets and vaccines do work.”
Macartney has four small street dogs he rescued from Mexico on Nov. 21 available for adoption through McKenzie Veterinary Services. The fee to adopt the dogs is $250 and more information, including photos of the animals, is available at www.mckvets.com.