1996 NAIA Purebred Rescue Symposium

1996 NAIA Purebred Rescue Symposium

By: Norma Bennett Woolf  Date: 12/31/1996 Category: | Canine Issues | Shelter Issues |

The NAIA Purebred Rescue Symposium was held in Raleigh, NC, March 16 & 17th. Speakers brought a wealth of information to about 60 rescuers who attended with topics ranging from the human animal bond to preventing burnout.

First on the agenda Saturday was I. Lehr Brisbin, a canine behavior researcher and ecologist at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory at the U of GA. Brisbin outlined the history of man-dog relationships and talked about the Carolina Dog and the New Guinea Singing Dog and his projects for saving both breeds. Soft-spoken and passionate about his subject, Lehr captivated the audience.

Equally soft-spoken and determined, Gary Patronek DVM talked about the application of epidemiological theory to the problem of dogs in shelters. Gary has followed his previous study of a PA shelter with one done in Indiana; his results will be published first in a veterinary magazine and then in the popular dog press. His main points were that the problem is complex, that no single factor can be targeted as "the" solution, and that we must forego blaming people if we are to further reduce shelter deaths. Much progress has been made according to the evidence, and further progress is possible only if we understand why dogs wind up in shelters and how to intervene in the process so they don't wind up in shelters.

Bob Brown DVM discussed the importance of health screening and cooperative efforts between veterinarians and rescuers. He suggested contacting a veterinary association to find veterinarians who would be interested in helping a particular breed; making a formal proposal to a veterinarian to spell out the things you would ask of him and the things you will do in return; and including the veterinary community in rescue efforts as partners, not adversaries. He also made the point that the veterinarian shares the responsibility for the partnership -- that the burden does not belong to rescue alone.

At lunch, AKC board member Ken Marden presented two of the annual awards for excellence in rescue; I'll post the info about the winners in a separate message.

After lunch, Capt. Arthur Haggerty discussed the use of temperament assessment and training in rescue, followed by Cindy Goodman with an exhaustive outline of information about the legal aspects of rescue. Some of Cindy's stuff was pretty scary -- she had one anecdote about a rescue group that was sued six months after the adoption because the dog chewed a pool cover that cost $3000 to replace and another about a foster family that sued the rescue group because the dog they fostered brough hookworms into their kennel.

The day ended with a panel question and answer session that lasted well beyond the scheduled quitting time. Some folks stayed in the seminar room even longer to hear the two members of the Suncoast Bulldog Friends put on an impromptu session about fundraising. (One of their ideas was a kissing booth at a local fair -- with a Bulldog as the star attraction!)

Sunday's schedule at the rescue symposium was opened by Nancy Campbell, rescue coordinator for German Shorthaired Pointers. Lots of good, old-fashioned common sense here -- Nancy talked about building good relationships with shelters by using emotional intelligence instead of assuming that the shelter staff is going to be uncooperative.

She suggested that rescues make every effort to help shelters by providing breed information, volunteers to evaluate dogs, volunteers to walk and groom dogs (of any breed), returning phone calls, etc. An occasional thank you note or plate of cookies for the staff doesn't hurt either.

Nancy was followed by Jodene Wilhoit, a Dalmatian rescue person who talked about developing good relationships between breed clubs and rescues. Jodene concentrated on the need to let the club know exactly what the rescue will do for the dogs (screening of homes, s/n, health check, referral to breeders if adopter wants a pup in the future, etc.) and for education about the breed and just what she expects of club members (fundraising, volunteer help, communication through the newsletter, etc.). She provided brochures that her rescue hands out about the breed.

Barbara Pietrangelo, president of the All Breed Rescue Alliance and past president of Delaware Valley Weimaraner Rescue, presented her 12-step program for preventing burnout. In a nutshell: Recognize & accept that you cannot save every animal; Stand by your convictions; Use common sense; Learn not to be judgemental; Learn to take action; Ask for help; Ask for money; Accept euthanasia in necessary cases; Learn patience; Learn to prioritize; and Accept your limits.

Lunch speaker was Judith Daniels, immediate past president of the AKC. Judi outlined the accomplsihments of the past year or so at 51 Madison Ave. and gave the final two awards to rescue people.

After lunch, AKC vp of education and legislation Noreen Baxter told participants how to use various AKC publications to help rescue, and AKC's director of the HomeAgain companion animal recovery system talked about identifying dogs with microships.

William Hughes, AKC's director of inspections and investigations, wound up the speakers' sessions with an outline of his department and some hints for rescuers on using his staff to close kennels with substandard conditions. AKC inspected about 2800 kennels last year based on random selection of those that produce 7 or more litters per year or on complaint. Kennels with substandard conditions were reported to USDA or local or state authorities; if the new board policy is approved, inspectors will also be able to "post" those kennels for 45 days and recommend them for suspension if they aren't cleaned up within that time.

Hughes also talked about the potential for DNA testing to establish parentage in those cases where necessary.

The day ended with another panel question and answer session that became an opportunity for participants to vent their frustration with breed club relationships.

About The Author

Norma Bennett Woolf's photo
Norma Bennett Woolf -

Editor and Writer for the National Animal Interest Alliance.

All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |
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