By Caitlin Mitchell 🙂
The Sequoia Humane Society is taking very specific and stringent measures to insure a high level of care is being met before they allow one of their animals to be adopted. Those looking to adopt must fill out paperwork and pass a compatibility and interview section from an adoption counselor before even having a one-on-one with the animals. Animals are only adopted to homes where application responses, counselor interview, and history of pet-ownership indicates that the animal will receive appropriate lifelong care. The president for the shelter’s Board of Directors Leonard McLaughlin feels that animals should only be allowed to leave if they can be truly welcomed in as a lifetime companion.
“Legally our pets-dogs and cats-are considered property,” McLaughlin said. “This has always bothered me. I have always thought of my four-pawed friends as family.”
However, not everyone views the commitment of pet ownership in such heavy terms. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that of the average 7.6 million animals being brought into shelters nationwide every year, 8 percent are animals being returned to the shelter by their adopters.
The Sequoia Humane Society is actively working to combat these statistics. With their thorough adoption process, the SHS forces prospective owners not only to think of if they can care for a pet now, but also if their future allows for such a commitment. For instance, applicants must not only have consent from their current landlord, but also a reference from someone close to them able to take in the animal should they no longer be able to.
Many students will be moving around in the next couple of years and owning a pet makes said moves all the more difficult. As stated by Bill Linn, a local landlord of seven residential properties, many landlords refuse pets in rental houses, himself included.
“I have been burned too many times by pet owners’ irresponsibility,” Linn said. “I have a dog, myself. I don’t blame the pets, I blame the owners being busy and careless.”
Pets require a lot of time and attention to be properly cared for. Especially in college, a highly transitional time, it is important to have a back-up plan for a pet’s care. Sammi Rippetoe, an HSU student and pet owner, adopted her dog Rollie through the Sequoia Humane Society and had to think through all of these considerations before adopting, as she states “the cutest puppy in America.”
“I am so glad I was confident enough in my ability to make time, because I don’t know how I would have made it through this past year without Rollie,” Rippetoe said. “Rollie is a huge form of stress and anxiety release for me and especially with being a student and being so busy, I feel I need a dog more now, not less.”