Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


That's me growling at the difficulties in getting a dog nowadays. Shelters used to be anxious to place dogs in homes. Now shelters seem to put people through more hoops than human adoption agencies do. We went to the most beautiful animal shelter I've ever seen today -- most of the City's homeless would feel blessed if they could live in the private quarters assigned to those dogs. The probolm is that, while I suspect that families with young children (not infants or toddlers, just young children) are among the most likely to be interest in bringing a dog into their lives, the shelters won't place their pooches with such people. Now as a lawyer, I'll be the first to admit that part of it is that the shelters are afraid of liability if one of animals they handed over hurts a child. However, also speaking as a lawyer, that's carrying fear to a ridiculous degree. First, animals, like dynamite, are likely to hurt someone, so one who willingly takes responsibility for the product -- such as a parent who brings a dog into the home -- is going to be the one bearing liability. Second, there is no way that a shelter, which deals in transient animals, can be held responsible for a dog's subsequent behavior. Third, it's ultimately the parents' decision, not the shelter's, what risk the parents are willing to take. Some parents, of course, make appallingly bad choices, but that's not the shelter's responsibility, legally or morally. The shelter is trying to be its own nanny state. I suspect another reason why these shelters won't give their dogs to families: there's a chance that these pampered pooches (and, at this shelter, they are pampered) might have a tail or whisker pulled by some playful child, or that the house might be noisy and stressful. And in this PETA day and age, that's just an unacceptable burden to impose on an animal. And if my suspicion about that is right, I say phooey. And if I'm wrong, I apologize for being a hypersensitive nutcase who is incredibly frustrated by the fact that multiple animal shelters have crossed me off the list because my children are too young.