VANCOUVER, Canada — This past weekend, dozens of “death row” dogs from the United States were flown to Vancouver to take part in a massive adoption event. Should this sort of cross-border adoption raise concerns about the British Columbia dogs that are already desperate for homes?
“We spayed and neutered them, we vetted them, and we flew them up,” said Sue Patterson, founder of Thank Dog I Am Out. “We pre-approved 170 adopters in British Columbia — which meant reference checks, legally-binding adoption contracts, and home checks.”
The event, that saw the re-homing of 129 dogs, hasn’t come without some questions and controversy.
“We do advocate for local dogs first, and we have concerns around the hype around ‘death row’ dogs,” said Kathy Powelson, founder of Paws For Hope. “We do have a homeless dog problem here. It’s not as sexy, it’s often we can’t see [these dogs] because they are in remote communities that are hard to access.”
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Dr. Emilia Gordon shares Powelson’s concerns and adds, “There are absolutely dogs in B.C. that need adoption. There are all kinds of dogs available, but I do recognize that it can be hard to find them sometimes.”
Patterson explains her reasons for flying dogs out from California by saying that she asks people to always check with their local shelters first before visiting her rescue. She also says that not every one will be able to find a dog that suits their lifestyle.
In the end, Patterson feels the border doesn’t make any difference in the lives of the dogs.
“We can bring the people we clearly have the people. Let’s get the dogs, let’s do it… All dogs deserve a real home, regardless of where they are from.”