Ethical to adopt dog under false pretenses then give it away?

From this thread, where the OP adopted a dog under false pretenses. This thread wasn’t a debate so I decided to make my own thread debating it:

In response to that:

So, let’s get into that discussion. Why is it wrong to make sure that dogs go to a good home? Granted, sometimes shelters can go too far. But I’m sure they do get a lot of shady people adopting like that girl who wanted the Doberman which quite frankly sounded like some kind of dog fighting or breeding scheme to me.

Freudian Slit, is it permissible to get into the kill vs. no-kill shelter debate here?

Because people who do rescue work are crazy. I do it to, and I understand it’s usually hard, thankless, and time-consuming, with few ideal situations - but most people who are involved in shelters/fostering, kill or no kill, have impossible standards IMO.

For me, it’s better off for an animal to be alive, not abused, andfed, than dead or living in a cage full-time. But most rescue organizations want not only a ‘forever’ home of their choosing for an animal they are trying to place, it also has to be a home that meets multiple arbitrary standards, most of which will have little effect on the animal’s overall quality of life.

For instance - the usual requirement that you have a fenced yard for a dog is total BS. I know many dog owners with fenced yards. 90% of the dogs in question refuse to spend time in the yard unless a human is out there with them. Most of dogs also do not spend more than a few minutes outside each day, and only in their yard. Most dogs do not exercise themselves - they don’t dash around the yard, they amble.

I live in a tiny apartment on a commercial block - but in contrast my 3 dogs get an hour a day of walking on leash around the neighborhood/running off-leash in various parks in my area. And yet even the local pound, which kills in 30 days, will not let me adopt a dog from them.

Sure, go for it. Apparently the girl in the OP was saying she wanted to adopt the dog because it would be euthanized. Though that seems doubtful.

But in some situations, I know a lot of people would rather lie and adopt a dog than have it killed. It definitely complicates the situation.

Do you “adopt” a dog or just “purchase” it? I understand using the first term if you want to attach extra emotions (like describing pet owners as “pet parents”, a practice I think is deserving of lashes and keelhauling) but unless animals as a possession have some distinction from, say, dishwashers, the “store” doesn’t get to take them back if they’re unsatisfied with the “buyer”.

rhubarbarin, you may be an exemplary dog owner, but I am sure (at least according to my local rescue league) that they deal with people who get a large dog, live in an apartment and everyone ends up completely miserable, and the dog ends up back at the shelter. It sounds like you got small dogs, which does make a difference. Yes, their standards are challenging, but they are also more realistic given the volume of people and dogs they are dealing with.

Part of why they want a fenced in yard is to avoid having dogs on a 3 ft chain where they can barely avoid stepping in their own feces. Does that mean that all fenced in yards are ideal, no, obviously not, but its a matter of odds.

Yes, it is totally preferable to have the dog in a happy home situation, but they have no guarantees any time they send a dog out the door that it will get that. So they are super careful. Lets face it, if we as a society had a little more control over our own breeding and upraising, there would be a hell of a lot less misery.

Bryan Ekers, then I get the lashes and keelhauling and I will happily take it. Dogs aren’t like dishwashers, because dishwashers can’t be beaten, starved, tortured, or even run over by a car if its trying to get away from a situation it doesn’t like. Its a lot more involved than buying a dishwasher, and should involve more thought from the buyer. You can buy a dishwasher and set it in the corner, and never install it, and it won’t care. The dog will care. They are social animals.

They have to make the rules based on the fact that we live in a world where animal cruelty takes place, so they make the rules challenging and tough. What’s wrong with that?

I have no problem with animal cruelty laws, but nevertheless is the dog closer to being your property or your child?

Can’t it be some combination? It’s not a child, I mean, but it’s more than a normal piece of property. We don’t care if you abandon your car or don’t put gas in it or if you rip up your books or destroy your DVDs. But you can’t mistreat your dogs. Obviously your definition of mistreat may vary from mine but we can agree that it is possible to mistreat a dog in a way that it’s not to mistreat a dishwasher or a car.

My dogs are my “children”, I have no interest in the two-legged variety of children. IMO property is something that is not capable of experiencing emotion. Once something has proven it is capable of experiencing an emotional response, how could you consider it “property”?

There are several reasons why shelters really want to control what happens to a pet. They want to be sure the animal goes to a good home, an appropriate home and THEY have a lot more experience weeding out inappropriate homes for pet ownership than the lay person, especially if they have a much more comprehensive understanding of the animal’s history and disposition.

As mentioned in the other thread, due to the pack instinct, it’s tough on dogs to go through serial owners. Shelters want dogs to go to long-term stable homes. The OP in the other thread got the dog for an hour, gave it to a teenager who could only keep it for a really short while, who in turn gave it to another family.

Is that family a good match? Well, the shelter that has evaluated the dog’s history and behaviors would be the best judge of that. For example, one might say “Great, a farm with children and other animals! A great place for a dog!” But what if the dog has dominance issues and tends to be overly possessive around food making it likely to bite a kid who’s carrying a hotdog or another animal who also lives there?

Logical Phallacy, at no point intending to keep the animal, adopted a dog on false pretenses after the pound had already said “no” to the 18-year-old he didn’t even know. So how much of a surprise could it be that:

No shit? She couldn’t handle him? Had to get rid of him? Hey, maybe that’s why she didn’t pass the shelter’s screening process! She was considered a lousy match for that dog! That’s the best case scenario. Worst case, is that it was a sham for some dog fighting ring, or maybe so Cruela De Vil could make a doberman coat.

Shelters interview entire households to help determine whether or not the household was suitable for a particular animal. Some pets should not go to homes with children or other animals, for example. Some pets are more demanding than others because they were in inappropriate homes to begin with, so they are improperly socialized and terribly trained. It’s important that animals go to homes that are best suited to their needs. A poorly socialized, high-energy pet may be disasterous going to the home of a little old lady who could not possibly fulfill the alpha role to control the dog.

With a chain of owner after owner after owner, a dog may develop negative behavior traits due to separation anxiety. When we first got our anxious dog, he would destroy furniture if we were gone for three hours in a row. The abandonment by his original family has left him incredibly messed up, and I seriously can’t imagine how unhinged he would become if we gave him up. As it is, our lives have to be extremely predictable and routine or he flips out. It would have been a terrible choice for him to go to a family that does not have a regular, predictable daily routine.

The OP of the other thread made a really piss-poor choice IMHO, and I only hope that the dog is presently in a suitable home and is not totally (potentially dangerously) screwed up from going from shelter to new home (HUGE transition), to its next new home (another huge transition) to yet another new home (another huge transition). Meanwhile a more appropriate family who was seeking a new pet and was prepared to make the long-term investment may have missed out because Logical Phallacy’s well-intentioned desire to help a stranger on Craig’s List.

If a good suitable family wants a dog, there is no shortage to getting one by legitimate means, and through a screening process that will help ensure that the right pet, is going to integrate into the right home.

“The dog is better off dead”, well, it’s part hyperbole and part not. Dogs that end up in the wrong place can end up with frustrated angry owners. No one is happy, neither dog nor human, the dog just gets more and more screwed up. Some end up abused, some end up even more miserable, messed up, and socially screwed up that they become unadoptable. They become aggressive, destructive and dangerous, and that can be a death sentence too.

Cite for animals being capable of “an emotional response”?

Why limit it to a dog? I think there are very good reasons to say it is wrong in that context, but the general point seems to me to be quite clear.

The OP is asking, in more general terms, if it is ethical to lie to someone to make them agree to do something they wouldn’t agree to do if the truth is known?

If that’s not the definition of unethical, I don’t know what is.

Includes a whole list of studies referenced in the essay on animal emotions.

Reminds me of the thread we had about the woman who took her grandparents/kid’s cat in while they couldn’t care for it and then decided she didn’t want to care for it so she abandoned it several miles away. And then they gave it back to her again not realizing what she’d done.

A lot of dopers were saying, “It’s just a cat” which misses the point. Even if it was a rubber plant or a toy dog, if you say, “I’ll take care of it,” you should. You have the option of saying, “No, I’m not really interested” and giving them alternate plans, but if you say you’ll do something, IMO, you have the obligation to do it and to let people know if your plans change. The link has about 40 pages of Marc Beckoff’s book.

Marc Bekoff is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior.

From Wikipedia:

Thanks. :slight_smile: I have an 80-lb dog, and also a 20-lber and a 35 lb-er. The smaller dogs need a heck of a lot more exercise than the big one, actually, which is often true.

Part of what’s wrong with the system is that animals that would make perfectly content, decently-cared for pets (at least temporarily) languish forever in cages/kennels, or are euthanized, because the vast majority of applicants aren’t up to standards. If the animals had any control over their life, they would certainly choose being alive with no exercise or mental stimulation, home alone 9 hours per day, eating Meow Mix - or heck, on the street scrounging for garbage - over being stabbed in the abdomen with an needle full of poison and departing this mortal coil. Or living in a shelter, in the case of cats (most of which could fend for themselves and be happier outside), in little cages with no place to hide with no relief for weeks or months.

Undoubtedly many people are irresponsible pet owners, or simply unprepared to find solutions to problems that may arise when you own a pet. However I don’t think demanding that people get home visits, own a home with a fenced yard, or have no other pets (this rule I see all the time - not because the animal in question is aggressive, just because they want them to have the undivided attention of their owners!), gives any guarantee of quality of life.

If the fenced-yard rule is simply to avoid chaining, then why discriminate against people who rent or own without a yard? We have to at least take dogs out for a few steps, a few times a day!

The best solution to all this, IMO, would be minimal screening and trying to get as many pet-quality animals in homes where they will be warm, fed, and treated with affection- with an emphasis on easy returns to the shelter if things don’t work out with that animal.

We have to face that there are very few ‘forever homes’ out there. Most people, because they are not animal nuts like me and the people who do rescue, will never consider their dog or cat on par with a child, and when life becomes difficult, the animal is what is going to give…

Regardless of Logical Phallacy’s actions, is there really a legal basis for these shelter adoption contracts? In North America, we already have laws regarding animal welfare. If a man beats a dog, for example, he can be arrested and/or fined and the dog can be seized. These shelter contracts with restrictive clauses seem to go way past what is specified in animal welfare laws. In the Ellen deGeneres case given in the other thread, for example, the shelter reclaimed the dog because Ellen gave it to someone else. Does an animal shelter really have the legal right to repossess an animal because it is not being kept in a way befitting their standards? I can think of no other business permitted to operate in this fashion. Breeders and pet stores legally buy and sell pets, so legally they must be a valid and legitimate commodity, no? What other commodity’s purchase can be conditionalized in this way? To put it very bluntly, can calling a purchase an “adoption” legally limit the rights of the “adopter”?

I have doubts that dogs are capable of experiencing and acting out because of this degree of human-like emotional trauma. Your dog is not smart enough to think ‘those other people I was attached to ‘abandoned’ me, so now when the people I am attached to go out of the house, I think they are never coming back and I get so upset I destroy things’. He is an anxious dog, and gets bored anxious with no one there, and his behavioral pattern became destroying things with his mouth (a dog’s mental outlet).

I know a lot of dogs with separation anxiety and destructive tendencies. Most have only had one home.

I have a feeling that if your dog went to live with Caesar Milan, he would no longer shred furniture. :slight_smile: I’m not saying my dogs are perfect or that I have all the answers, but the majority of behavioral problems in pets are rooted in their current situation and relationships between who is living in the house. Place the same dog in a different situation with different people, and he will often have very different behaviors.

They are certainly capable of experiencing emotions, but they are not people, and they are simple creatures in most ways. They learn mainly from conditioning.

I vote not ethical. If the dog had killed the girl, would you be responsible or the shelter?

He no longer shreds furniture and has not since we have had him and worked with him to get beyond his anxiety.

ETA: As for “boredom”. Nothing about his day has changed with respect to his level of activity, so boredom was never the issue.