Piper and Justina: The Same Difference?

by Susi on August 13, 2014

in Animal Rights, Animal Welfare, Anti Breeder, Anti-Dog Legislation, Breeders, Breeding, Piper, rescue, Rescue Dogs, Rescue Groups

Post image for Piper and Justina: The Same Difference?

It’s never a good idea to weigh in on a contentious issue without knowing all the facts, and I may come to regret doing exactly that as I write about the on-going saga of “Piper,” the Shetland Sheepdog.

But first, I want to tell you about Justina Pelletier.

Justina had been undergoing treatment at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease when her mother rushed her to Boston Children’s Hospital the day before Valentine’s Day in 2013 and told doctors that her daughter was suffering from severe symptoms of the disease.

The medical team at Children’s disagreed.

They determined that the teenager suffered from Somatoform Disorder (symptoms are real but there’s no underlying physical cause), and that Justina’s parents were blocking the psychiatric care they believed the girl needed.

Alarmed at the dramatic change in their daughter’s course of treatment without the involvement of her doctor at Tufts, Justina’s parents complained.  They wanted to discharge Justina and take her to Tufts, but instead of involving the Tufts doctor,  Children’s hospital reported its suspicions of medical child abuse to the state. The next day, the state’s child protection agency took emergency custody of Justina, a decision validated by the juvenile court judge.

Linda Pelletier cries as she is consoled by her attorney, after a ruling was issued saying that Justina Pelletier could not return home to her parents  - Boston Globe/Getty images

Linda Pelletier cries as she is consoled by her attorney, after a ruling was issued saying that Justina Pelletier could not return home to her parents – Boston Globe/Getty images

Justina Pelletier spent the next 16 months and two birthdays away from her family and in state custody as a battle ensued over parental rights and the controversial new field of medical child abuse.  The next 16 months were every parent’s worst legal nightmare.

This past June, the same Massachusetts juvenile court judge who originally removed Justina from her parents’ care dismissed the child-protection case against them.  As psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, wrote of the judgement:  “His ruling ended a 15-month odyssey that I believe showed that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston Children’s Hospital were willing to disregard the rights of her parents and, in essence legally “kidnap” her. “

Hardly a singular case, the battle over Justina’s future was one of a handful of cases involving a disputed diagnosis and parents losing custody of their own children by “professionals” who thought they knew better.

I think there are parallels to the ongoing situation with “Piper,” the Sheltie.  If “perception is reality,” then there’s a point a view to be had about Piper’s situation which makes the necessity of having the facts feel almost incidental.  In a court of law, facts are anything but incidental and count for a great deal,  but in the court of public opinion, an odor is wafting from this mess, and some people are smelling a rat.

I have no special insights into Piper’s situation, nor do I know any of the “players.”  Like most people following this story,  my opinion is pieced together from news updates, Facebook postings, and anecdotal accounts. As far as I know, the series of events that started this saga went like this:

  • Back in April, a Sheltie named “Piper” was entrusted to the care of one of her co-owners while the other (the one with whom Piper lived whom I’ll call “the owner”) attended the breed’s National Specialty;  
  • While her owner was out of town, the father of the co-owner with whom Piper was staying suffered a heart attack. As the family dealt with a seriously sick family member, Piper and two other dogs escaped out of the co-owner’s fenced yard;   
  • Piper was picked up by local Animal Control which found that she had been microchipped (some reports indicate that the chip hadn’t yet been registered);  Animal Control called the veterinarian who had inserted the chip, but the phone call went unanswered because it was Easter weekend.  Instead of waiting to hear from the veterinarian after the holidays,  Animal Control turned Piper over to a Sheltie rescue group; 
  • When Piper’s owner returned from her National Specialty, she learned of Piper’s escape and contacted the rescue group.  

This is where things fell apart.

Piper’s owner was also her breeder.  Despite having been provided documentation about Piper’s ownership that included pedigrees, AKC papers, show photographs, vaccination records and the offer of DNA testing, the director of the rescue group refused to return Piper alleging that Piper’s owner was “not the rightful owner.”

The National Breed Club’s Rescue intervened,  but failed to resolve the situation.

Things descended from there.

Accusations of break-ins, threats, intimidation and Internet bullying were leveled by the rescue group’s director.  Piper’s owner got an attorney who filed a Complaint for Replevin and Conversion in July, 2014, but she had to launch an Internet fund-raising campaign for legal fees.  The attorney for the rescue group, meanwhile, is said to be working pro bono.

Last week, a Franklin County judge ordered that “Piper” be returned to her owner while the case works its way through the court.  In response, the rescue group’s director posted a $10,000 bond to keep the dog until the dispute is resolved. A court date has not yet been determined.

Needless to say, comments to articles about this case and in social media have been heated. I noticed with interest the post of one anonymous author who alleged that Piper’s own breeder had rehomed her to complete strangers before she left for the National Specialty. The anxious dog got away from the new owners who didn’t notify the breeder until days later. The breeder, the anonymous writer continued, concocted the story about leaving Piper with her co-owner.

To which I think to myself, even if true, so what?

Does it matter from whom Piper escaped?  The rescue organization’s failure to return Piper to her breeder on the grounds that she couldn’t prove ownership is one thing. Not placing her with an experienced Sheltie owner who happens to be the dog’s breeder and wants the dog is still a curious response from a group dedicated to finding every dog a good home. The group states on its own web site, “…congratulations to our four footed ones who needed us to find them their perfect, safe, forever home. Our dogs will always have the best homes, the best care, and the best of everything! After all…..It’s All About the Dogs!”

Is it? Is it all about the dogs? Was it about Piper?

The image from the Bring Piper Home Facebook page

The image from the Bring Piper Home Facebook page

A rescue group’s mandate, if only by virtue of its name, is to “rescue” dogs and place them in the best possible home. In this story,  the director of a rescue group is refusing to return Piper to the only home she’s ever known, and if she was rehomed by the breeder,  why wouldn’t the rescue group give her to the breeder who could at least get her back to her new owners?  What possible reason could there be for not returning Piper to her breeder either way?

My hunch about what’s really going on here is rooted in my observation of an increasingly militant tone of some in the rescue movement in their condemnation of breeders, all breeders.  These particular people make no distinction between ethical legacy breeders and substandard ones because in their minds, they’re all equally evil.

If you think I over exaggerate the anti-breeder vehemence of some groups, check out this post which appear in May, 2014 of the “I Hate Dog Breeders” Facebook page

It looks (to me, anyway) that the director of the rescue group took it upon herself to act as judge and jury by determining that the home of a breeder couldn’t possibly be a suitable home for a dog. “Piper” wasn’t spayed at the time of her escape (a decision that rightfully belonged to her owner who decided that Piper would be healthier by keeping her intact), and my guess is that the director of the rescue group equated unspayed as unloved. If I were to channel my nine year old self, I would say that in the mind of this rescue group director, someone died and made her God.

There are many fine rescue groups across the country doing it right, and it would be a mistake to lump rescues together as has been done to breeders.  I’m suspicious that what we’re seeing in the Piper case, however, is a new tactic in the zealous “adopt-don’t-shop” movement, a “feel-and-steal” response to laws with which they don’t agree. As a state/regional rescue coordinator for a national breed club told me, it’s nothing short of “theft by rescue.”

Then, too, there’s the money.  Let’s not forget the $10,000 bond posted by the director of the rescue group. How many unfortunate dogs do you suppose $10,000 could have helped?  Where do you suppose the money came from? Did it come from duped, good hearted donors?  Or did it come from like-minded zealots championing the “stand” the director of this rescue group has taken against breeders.

I wouldn’t be the first to point out the massive fundraisers held by “non-profits,”  or cite rescue web sites pleading for financial support even as they turn a profit from dogs imported from abroad and “adopted” out.  It’s hardly surprising that rescue groups would do this, I suppose, when they need only look at the Humane Society of the United States as their “business model.”  The HSUS rakes in millions every year but spends less than 1% on actually helping pets.

Could money be more relevant in this discussion than we might guess?  In researching this story, I was told of several troubling experiences by ethical rescue volunteers who witnessed disturbing things.  One foster “parent” told me about a rescue group that spent thousands of dollars in cancer treatment for a dog estimated to be at least 15 years old.  The dog’s own veterinarian stated it was better to keep the dog comfortable rather than subject him to additional painful treatments in his last days. Instead, the rescue group pulled the dog from his foster home after learning that the foster “parent” agreed with the vet and refused more treatment for the grizzled old senior. The dog died within weeks of undergoing painful treatment at a different clinic.

Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Were these painful treatments really in the best interest of the dog? 

Not long after the old dog died, the same rescue claimed it needed several thousand more dollars to treat a young dog that had come in with a badly broken leg.  The money spent on the old dog with cancer was more than what this dog would have needed to repair his leg.

Who makes such poor decisions?  If donors knew of such poor decision-making and money mismanagement, would they still donate?  Has the time come for more scrutiny and less blanket trust of  rescue operations?  Isn’t it appropriate to have more oversight of non-profit groups that have grown to have too much power with too little accountability?  Wouldn’t it be nice if Lois Lerner, head of the IRS, started with the Humane Society of the United States?


I’ve been saying for quite some time that the dog fancy has been the proverbial canary in the coal mine, and as we go, so goes society.  If the rights of law abiding dog owners and breeders can be eroded,  it won’t be that hard to target someone else.

Earlier in this article, I quoted Dr. Keith Ablow in his assessment of the Justina Pelletier case, and I end my article by paraphrasing his quote. It’s chilling to me how changing just a few words keeps the meaning intact and portends an ominous trend:


{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah August 13, 2014 at 11:06 am

Amen, Amen and Amen!


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Thanks, Sarah!!


Mark Mathis August 13, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Wow. Nice article. Hard to make sense of the truth and the specifics but there definitely seems to be something off with this rescue organization. I mean why would the breeder go to the trouble other than to have her back safe? What other possible reason would there be? If they hate breeders, seems like their just using any opportunity to rub salt in the wound.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Thanks, Mark, that’s really nice of you to say. I appreciate the time you took to leave a comment – and I concur. There’s something amiss here somewhere.


Karen Herndon August 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I’m not even sure I know what to write, other than I have chills running down my arms and legs. VERY scary article! Thanks so much for putting the issues out there so succinctly.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Thanks, Karen – I love hearing that I inspire chills (in a good way). Today is my wedding anniversary and giving someone chills is good practice (grin)!!!


Dorothy August 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Unfortunately it isn’t a case of the dog world being the canary in the mine…..all areas of animal ownership in the US are being attacked on a broad front ranging from animals being seized and handed to “rescues” without due process to restrictive laws passed on every level from local to national. At the national level USDA applies rules and regulations that are never subjected to legislative review and that damage breeders and owners of virtually every kind of animal in this country. HSUS and ASPCA lead the pack in promoting these situations by using their sympathetically donated money not for the care of animals but for lawsuits and lobbying. Behind them come the animal rights groups, some of them listed as domestic terrorists, willing to flaunt the law and do property damage and destroy lives to make their very public demonstrations of power. NONE of them seem to have any consideration for the human damages they cause….perhaps because so many of their members seem to loathe their own species. The only way that animal owners in this country will preserve anything resembling the right to own and use animals is if we manage to somehow learn to stand together because, heaven knows, we will surely fall if we don’t.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Oh I completely agree, Dorothy, and I’m glad you mentioned it here. I don’t know as much about the livestock world, etc. to feel like I can write about it, but you’re spot on. All areas of animal ownership are being attacked, and sadly not just in the US. Talking with friends in Great Britain is downright shocking.


JenniferT August 14, 2014 at 6:25 am

Well articulated, Dorothy. And this was a very well written article, Susi. In my state, a law has been passed that essentially robs all but very rich animal owners of their right to due process. If you can’t pay some astronomical fee, determined by the organization that stole your animals, and all the costs for ‘medical care’ that you, the OWNER have been allowed NO choice in, you forfeit your animals if they are seized. HOW is this Constitutional, and how can we fight it? I have heard that my state, PA, isn’t the only one with this overbearing new law.


Beth Rapp March 28, 2016 at 2:34 pm

My Annie was a starved skeletal 3 1/2 lbs Amish Greeder Puppy Mill Momma when I bought her from him.I Paid $89 a pound for her because he had a dead pug out on his scrapheap, and I was afraid she didn’t have anymore time left, I brought her home on a Monday nt., and thanks to one of my !$%#&* neighbors, got a knock on the door from a town cop with a $278 3 day Fixit Ticket for animal cruelty for the little dog I had just given every cent I had in my purse for!!!He said I had to go and get my ticket signed. within 3 days, ir face going to jail and losing MY DOG……I went to get it signed. The HS.Lady promptly said she would take the dog I was Surrendering!?!?!? and that she would goto court for me because I was dong the right thing!?!?!?I told her not only was I not going to surrender her, I wanted and expected some help. She called the County Sher.Dep. where the dog came from,and they said they did not want any ethnic involvement,they had good lawyers usually, the courts were baked up for months.and My An would have to stay starved to be seen, and that I would have to press charges as the new owner against the old owner and if I lost I was responsible for ALL OF EVERYTHING expense wise,and anyway, if he got charged, it would only be a 125 livestock cruelty fee, because the Amish considered their dogs were livestock!!!!!WHAT!!!!??? Why the difference between the $278-her value,supposedly, plus a 3 paperwork fee??? and his possible,maybe,but not likely $125???So she got NO JUSTICE,as I would not keep her starved and skeletal, they did not want to arrest him and take his dogs despite his cruelty and unethical and inhumane treatment.She is a Boston Terrier,and was a skeleton at 3 1/2 lbs as an adult. I am not anti-breeder, FOR THOSE THAT ARE HUMANE< AND TREAT THEM WELL< AND KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING and do not misuse their animals.I grieve that ppl like her Amish Owner are allowed to continue treating their animals like that, I grieve that the Humane Society Gal and/ or the Cops wanted to take this pitiful little skeleton that I had just given every cent of my Winter Heating Savings for.He does not deserve to have any animals, nor to deserve protection from the consequences of his actions because he is ethnic,and I did not deserve them thinking they were entitled to take her and to ticket me for her condition as the result of long periods of (prior) physical abuse before I got her.Breeders needto be regulated. people who steal dogs need to be punished no matter who they are, Humane Society/and Rescues also need to have guidelines and parameters,and so do Cops!!!I f you are a rescue that gets caught practicing this type of "theft" and rehoming a dog an owner has shown proof of ownership for just because you might not like it, then you should be charged with theft and sale of that animal.It should be published loud and clear, and you should be shut down,and not allowed to "Rescue" any more animals,ever, nor to ask the public for financial help of any kind!!By the way, I decry "rescues" who do this,and support legitimate rescues who do not support the "stealing moneymaking practices" and do all they can to get that owner back to its people. Just call me "My Annie's Momma!!!!" I would be heartbroken if anything were to happen where she was ever to be taken from me….


Joyce August 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Fantastic as ALWAYS Susi! Being a resident of Central Ohio, you know I’m watching this closely.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:50 pm

You’ll have company, Joyce, there are a whole heck of a lot of people watching this one.


Becky August 13, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Thank you Suzi! As usual you bring to light the real issues that are at stake. Thanks for being an eloquent voice for all animal owners.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Awwww, Becky – thanks for that. (Where do I send the check?)


Nicole August 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Excellent, valid, points… it’s unfortunate that oftentimes the ‘rescues’ create more of a problem than the responsible breeders, making decisions such as this one, turning others away that are desperate to adopt but don’t meet their stringent requirements, it creates an even bigger problem. We’re all watching this one!


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Thanks, Nicole, I think a LOT of people from both sides of the discussion about rescue are watching this one. The comments so far to this article are pretty revealing to me and suggest that Piper’s case isn’t as unique as we might think (or hope).


Crystal August 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I LOVE this article. Nothing about Pipers case is OK. The rescue involved will forever be seen in a bad light. Taking a dog from its home and owner, a caring one, is NOT saving it.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:44 pm

Thanks for your comment, Crytal, it’s much appreciated. It’s always comforting to know that one’s opinion isn’t “out there” and that others see it the same way. I know that there’s probably a gag order on all the parties involved in this situation with Piper, but what we do know just hasn’t added up.


Lisa S. August 13, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Great article and so true.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Much appreciated, Lisa, I appreciate that you read the piece and took the time to write – truly!


Walt Christensen August 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm

A voice of reason screaming from the wilderness — Thank YOU!!!


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Awwww, thank YOU, Walt. I will be sure to share your comment with my husband who’s sometimes puzzled by my logic, lol.


Marie Caron August 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Wasn’t sure where you were headed, but now, agree wholeheartedly where you ended up.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm

LOL, thanks for hanging in there, Marie, until I made my point. My route is sometime tortuous – grin.


Morgan Spicer August 13, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I have been following this story from the beginning as well. I really have not known what to make of it. I do believe there are 2 sides to every story and my gut will always want to go with a Rescue because I also do not support dog-breeding. I am not an idiot however, I know that there is a big difference between a family breeding their favorite breed at a sustainable level with homes being found for every litter beforehand, versus a puppy mill or a backyard breeder. I don’t necessarily agree, but I see the importance of keeping a bloodline going and breeding healthy pure-bred dogs for people who would never go to a shelter or rescue anyways. However, even though you do note that we shouldn’t lump rescue groups together I am worried that you truly have… I think before we start requiring more rules and regulations for rescues there need to be much stricter rules and regulations for breeding. I mean, just the fact that puppy mills exist and continue to pump out dogs every day makes rescue and shelters necessary. I don’t know if Piper is just a tool for this rescue to get noticed and yes, the money could very well be spent elsewhere, but this is just ONE rescue and ONE dog. I would also like to note that for every “crazy-rescuer who hates breeders” there is a “crazy-breeder who hates rescues and mutts”. I have been harassed by a few of the latter myself. I think this is probably the most informative article I have read about Piper, but I hope that people can continue to recognize that this is ONE case… and it should have no bearing on our feelings towards Rescue in general.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I’m glad you wrote, Morgan, and that you shared an alternative opinion. I think fundamentally we disagree on a few points starting with the need to legislate breeders even more than they already have been. Laws intended to impact substandard breeders also apply to the legacy breeder who breeds once every five years and soley to maintain and preserve their breed. It’s wholly impractical for such a breeder to hose down their home with steaming hot water when their home isn’t stainless steel, but rugs, pillows, wallpaper – you get the idea. The Dept. of Agriculture which passed the APHIS ruling last year has little grasp of what the dog show fancy is about, something I learned at a conference when I sat next to a Dept. of Agriculture representative. It especially galls me that while the ethical breeder is legislated beyond reason, irresponsible owners get a pass, shelters aren’t held to federal standards, and rescue groups operate under the radar. I should add that Piper is NOT one dog and ONE remarkable story. What happened to Piper’s owner has been happening across the country for frequently than you might imagine, and you might consider reading some of the other comments to this article to learn as much. In conclusion, I think I did make a point of warning against lumping all rescue groups together and am not seeing how you think I’ve done otherwise. Dog fanciers and AKC clubs have been engaged in rescue activities long before it became as routine as it is now, and many people I know in the dog fancy, myself included, count a rescue dog as a member of the family. I don’t think we’ll ever have a meeting of minds – something that desperately needs to happen – as long as your gut will tilt towards rescues and not towards finding the best home for A DOG whether it’s a purpose bred dog bought from a legacy breeder, or a loveable mutt from a shelter. And I don’t think a bridge can be built between our two worlds until there is a frank discussion about the overpopulation mythology that’s regional at bests, the staggering amount of money being made in humane relocations, and the admission that there are some unsavory practices among some rescue groups that need to be stopped, just as there are lousy breeders who also need to be curtailed. Blanket legislation by those who don’t understand the dog fancy, let alone know the facts, is not in my view the answer.


Therese August 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Morgan, it is in no way just one case. My dog and I were nearly victims of a rogue rescue. I quit volunteering for rescue after getting burned repeatedly, including a rescue that asked me to pull and transport a dog out of state, and then refused to accept the dog or reimburse me for any of my agreed-to expenses. I had agree to drive the dog 9 hours one way because I was already going that way on business. I had to find a kennel for this dog on the fly, so I could take it back with me (where I found a fantastic home for it). Several local rescues have refused to return found dogs for the flimsiest of reasons, including the dog of a friend that was accidentally let out by her children. My own contractor’s dog was let out of its yard by accident and the rescue that the dog was given to initially refused to return the dog. They even shaved the dog in a desperate attempt to hide it. These are dogs with loving homes, where the worried owner desperately wants them back. If there are dogs in a shelter on death row, it is unconscionable to waste time and money on a OWNED dog. That is human ego run amok.

There are currently no rules that rescues must operate under. Many in my area are borderline hoarding situations, two have been shut down for keeping animals in squalor. Many of the people I know who foster would not be allowed to adopt a dog from the rescues they volunteer for if they truthfully wrote on an application – I have a few more dogs than the law allows, that I warehouse in my backyard because with so many, who has time to do anything with them including addressing their behavioral issues and/or lack of training and socialization.

Like you I used to give rescues the benefit of the doubt. When a rescue threatened to steal my dog – no rescue gets a pass for illegal or unethical behavior. What is happening to Piper is both.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Thanks for the response, Therese. We need to hear from everyone who’s ever had a run-in with a “rogue” rescue group to underscore the problem – though this ISN’T an invitation to hear from people who work or know of good ones because I KNOW they exist, and so do other dog fanciers. As breeders and fanciers, we’re expected to police our own, and I don’t have a problem with that – but surely the same needs to be done with rescue groups. Just as bad breeders make all breeders look bad, the Piper situation isn’t doing good rescue any favors.


LibertyLover January 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm


You just lumped all breeders together even though you said you see the difference. No you do not see a difference and frankly, there doesn’t need to be one. You don’t support dog breeding. Period. Well you don’t have to support it but you have no moral nor ethical justification for forcing your will upon others. NO ONE should be forcing anyone to comply to their demands. Equal protection under the law means if it’s good for one it’s good for all. Every pet owner, “foster” person (absurd!), veterinarian, groomer, “rescue”, shelter, you name it should have to comply with whatever regulations are forced upon breeders. No exceptions, no exclusions, no exemptions. Fair?


Don Moore December 31, 2017 at 10:14 am

If you are for dog breeds, then you should be in favor of responsible breeding. Otherwise, we’ll end up with all mutts. Mutts are great dogs – we had one when I was a kid who lived to 19 years old. But purebreds are neat too – they have certain common traits. I would not like a world where we did not have distinct breeds, or where there was not someone somewhere seeking to breed out genetic defects, in order to have healthy offspring. The only problem I see with rescues and shelters is they are overwhelmed with poorly b


Don Moore December 31, 2017 at 10:16 am

My comment was accidentally submitted prior to completion…
bred or unloved animals. We now have rescues importing animals from abroad to sell, due to a shortage – what the heck is with that?


Susi December 31, 2017 at 10:56 am

As I see it, Don, it’s a problem with more than one cause. There are those who don’t seem to understand or care that the flow of rescue dogs will never end, particularly when we’re solving the stray dog problems of other countries. There’s also big money being made in Retail Rescue. Balance is lost when we abandon logic and allow emotions to guide us.


Therese August 13, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I agreed to purchase a dog from a breed rescue. The dog was emaciated, parasite ridden, and had severe skin and respiratory conditions – he also had oodles of spirit and I saw his potential. The dog was intact and too sick to alter and thankfully they allowed him to come home with me to heal. They placed a 2 week time limit on the completion of his neutering.

I obtained several deferrals to altering him from our long-time vet, but that was not good enough for the rescue who claimed (falsely) that the shelter was cutting them off from pulling dogs and that it was my fault that dogs would die. I contacted the shelter, faxed them the deferrals and spoke to their director. He had made no such threat and thanked me for being open and honest with him.

After spending thousands of unreimbursed dollars healing this dog and finally bringing him to a healthy place for surgery, I was told by the “rescue” that they were coming to repossess him. I had been found to be an unfit home and in violation of our “adoption” contract because I had not altered him 2 weeks post adoption (when he was still too sick to undergo surgery). No problem. I had a sudden hankering to visit out-of-state friends. The rescue was furious. Our attorney sent the rescue a letter explaining how they would be sued into insolvency if they ever threatened me again.

I believe that this was never about the contract. I’m sure having seen pictures of my now gorgeous boy, this was all about repossessing a healthy dog so he could be resold. A dog they didn’t spend a penny to care for as I took possession of him 60 minutes after they had pulled him from the shelter. I am seeing WAY too many rescues that are nothing but scams.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Wow. Therese, your story gave me chills. There’s simply nothing like hearing the experiences of folks like you who ran into a rescue group that acts in a fashion at odds with what’s best for a dog, and the more stories like this that see the light of day, the better. I’m delighted to hear how proactive you were to protect your dog – well done, you! As for how this rescue group acted, it sure does sound like there was another agenda going on here, doesn’t it. I suspect you are spot on in your hunch.


Darlene Arden August 13, 2014 at 3:42 pm

This is right on target and I plan to share it on Social Media. This is a Wake-Up Call that everyone needs to heed. Thank you for writing this.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Awwww, thanks, Darlene. I just don’t even know what I would add to the story, it’s been all so puzzling and troubling.


Cindy Cooke August 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Spot on, Susi. Can’t wait until all the facts come out. Two elderly microchipped dogs of ours ended up in a local private rescue. We had placed them with a family who fell on hard times and, I guess, they were too embarrassed to return the dogs to us per the contract. When I went to get the dogs, the oldest one had already been adopted out. The shelter had not checked their microchips, nor were they required to do so by law here in Michigan. I was grateful that someone was willing to take such an elderly Scottie, but the rescue person wouldn’t give me any information about the adopters, even though I told her that I only wanted to be a resource for them. The younger male, she said, had already had $500 of dental work and she would not give him to me unless I paid the $500. We paid and got him back and rehomed him, but it was scary to find out that shelters don’t feel any obligation to scan. I’d like to see a law requiring scanning and a longer holding period for microchipped dogs. If not for Petfinder and the fact that they had rather unique names, we would never have known that our dogs were in a shelter.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Thanks, Cindy – and what an ordeal you experienced, yourself. I hadn’t known that rescues aren’t obligated to scan for chips which, actually, boggles my mind. It strikes me that while ethical legacy breeders are getting legislated out of existence, the subpar rescue groups are acting under the radar and with little accountability. It seems to me that the “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” principle should apply here, and that the NAIA’s shelter model might be applicable to rescue groups, as well.


KristyLee August 13, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Amazing ! You took my thoughts and put them into Words !! Bravo and good job …
I too have felt that the COSR Penny S. has been playing GOD from day one..Glad someone else saw this as well . The money that she is asking for, for donations I also wonder if those donations are going to help pay that 10, 000 Bond. We shall find out soon I hope. Thank you for writing about this very Important issue at hand. It will forever change the way rescues are operated I do believe. Everyone needs someone to answer to, and I do believe places like this are a perfect place to start. #bringpiperhome


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I appreciate the kind words, KristyLee, and while I revel in the pat on the back (okay, I love pats on the back), I think I simply put into words aspects to this situation that have puzzled a lot of us. Anecdotally, I’ve heard many imaginable scenarios about the situation, but in the end, I keep coming back to the rescue group’s mandate to HOME PETS, and when faced with an experienced owner who happened to be her breeder and “previous” owner, the group failed their own mandate. If Piper’s “previous” home was so deplorable, the rescue group had options it could have used to save the other dogs in the home, but they didn’t. It’s puzzling.


Elaine Miller August 13, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Well said, Susi. I appreciate your research since I could not for the life of me understand why the rescue folks would not return Piper to her rightful owner. Shame, shame, shame on the Sheltie Rescue group who is withholding Piper’s return to her owner.


Rick August 13, 2014 at 5:10 pm

As a foster for a golden retriever rescue organization I strongly disagree with the characterization that rescue groups do not like breeders. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not have our breeds without them.
What we are ALL against is puppy mills and backyard breeders, as should everyone be. I have fostered dogs from both types of places and the level of neglect is beyond disgusting and heart breaking. It take months of socializing and often thousands in vet bills to get the poor dogs ready for their forever home.
Registered ethical breeders are as careful where their pups go as we are. They pay attention to the husbandry and genetics of their dogs. They produce great dogs and treat their breeding dogs with the utmost care. Healthy parents=healthy puppies.

This whole article…i can’t make heads or tails out of it. Someone, somewhere is not telling the truth.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for the work you do in rescue, Rick, but I’m at a loss as to how to respond to your assertion that rescue groups don’t like breeders. Some do, some don’t, and Lord help you if you must work with one which doesn’t. You are preaching to the choir about what makes a great legacy breeder, and that they are as opposed to substandard breeders – perhaps more – than anyone. I’m a bit “squishy” about requiring breeders to be registered, not especially when some shelters and rescue groups fly under the radar (and why the NAIA’s shelter model is so important) but then, I’m not a fan of government involvement in all aspect of our lives, either. Both parties to the Piper fiasco are presumably under a gag order until the issue is resolved, and until then, what information most of us have is what I shared in the article. Ultimately, I am at a loss as to why the rescue group didn’t seize the opportunity to place Piper with an experienced Sheltie owner who was also her breeder.


Lorain Shelties August 13, 2014 at 7:56 pm

All those who support Piper and her owner, please share her story and please share your dollars. This is going to be a long and costly fight, and if everyone gave even one dollar it would go a long way, not just for this one dog and one owner, but for those that come after as well, all unused funds will go towards making sure this never happens to another pet. You canh go to her FB page Piper Bring Home for directions on how to donate.l


Susi August 13, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Lorain, perhaps you could share some links which would be of help to anyone wanting to help Piper’s owner?


Larkin Vonalt August 13, 2014 at 8:04 pm

This is an excellent parallel with one important difference. Justina is a child, a human being. Do-gooders have often inserted themselves and their opinions in the welfare of children. Piper is a dog. She is owned. She is property, and this is theft. If you lose your car or your iPhone or your umbrella or a bag full of cash– and someone else finds it– but you can prove that the item belongs to you, it is returned to you. I know that many dog people like to refer to their dogs as their “kids”, “fur babies” and to themselves as “pet parents” or “pet guardians” but this is a painful reason why we must continue to OWN our dogs and not go down that garden path.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Good point, Larkin. I’ve often read about how the dogs from Hurricane Katrina would have fared ever worse had they “guardians” instead of owners. Words means something.


LibertyLover January 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Precisely! Property. Animals are property either claimed or unclaimed. Unconstitutional “laws” have been passed based on nothing more than sentiment. It is nothing short of an outrage! Worse, is that some of you who at first proclaim to be in support of the right to allow your own property to breed are actually the people who allow oppressive mandates to become reality by violating the principle written to protect individuals from tyrany of the majority. If a dog owner wants to breed his own dog it is nobody else’s business. No matter the dog, no matter the owner. I may not agree with it in a personal level but no way would ai support measures to outlaw it. Think about what that entails. Laws demand punishment if broken. How far are you willing to take it? Is a man potentially losing his livelihood now that you’ve given him a criminal record that will follow him for life worth it to you? Are you comfortable with your neighbors being forced into cages by threat of a loaded gun to their head? That’s what police do. Lives are ruined. Families torn apart. Dignity destroyed. All because a man bred his own darn dog. That for all you know delivered sound, healthy puppies that went to people who actually wanted them and sought them out. Nobody forced the puppies on them as is done by shelter dog advocates. I can’t tell you how ashamed I am at my fellow Americans.


Linda Trunell August 13, 2014 at 9:11 pm

I have been following Piper’s story and I, too, think it is very disturbing. I know there are many people who are against ALL breeders but we need reputable, knowledgeable breeders to ensure healthy breeds. Puppy millers do not care about maintaining healthy breed stock – they just care about making money. Backyard breeders are usually just irresponsible owners who do not spay and neuter their pets. I think it is wonderful when someone adopts a dog from a shelter or rescue but less than 25% of these animals are purebreds and some people want a healthy, purebred dog. Most people do not realize that 90% of the dogs in shelters come from the 22% of pet dogs that are not spayed or neutered (Source: American Humane Society, Born Free U.S.A., Pet Finder Study Research Date: 8.22.2012).


Susi August 13, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for the stat, Linda, it’s not one I was aware of but it will sure come in handy. I couldn’t agree with you more with everything else you wrote. Ditto!


Elaine Kilgore August 13, 2014 at 11:40 pm

The only thing all shelter dogs have in common is crappy
owners. I rescue. I rescue the abandoned, the injured,
the neglected, the owner surrender. The war upon breeders
Is from the ignorant and the uninformed. There are bad rescues
and bad breeders it neither makes all breeders bad are all
rescues bad. I find the refusal of this rescue to return Piper
appalling. Personally I have too many dogs in true
need to spend my money or time refusing to return a dog
to his rightful owner.


Susi August 13, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Stuff happens beyond the control of an owner that can land a dog in a shelter – I get that – but it’s beyond me why irresponsible owners have seemingly gotten a pass from anti-breeder rescue proponents. Would these volunteers still think there’s a problem if every poorly bred dog whelped and reared in lousy conditions still ended up in good homes, and not in shelters? After all, they wouldn’t be in shelters, so does that make it ok? The whole approach has been illogical to me and suggests an agenda that has little do with with “overpopulation.” I’ll send up a flare when I figure it out, Elaine. I appreciate the time you took to write.


JenniferT August 14, 2014 at 7:13 am

For the commentors who believe that so many breeders ‘hate rescue and mutts’. I am a 30 year veteran of sheltering and rescue. I have been kennel manager of an open admission, rural small shelter. I have been a kennel manager for a breed specific rescue. I have done rescue on my own as an individual, and was my own ‘organization, formerly known as “South Central PA Sheltie Rescue”. Let me give you a little history lesson.

In the late 80’s, the golden retriever national organization coined the term ‘rescue’. They were the pioneers in taking goldens from shelters and finding them homes. Their reasons were two-fold. They wanted to try to give back to their favorite breed by getting them out of shelter situations, even through the vast majority of shelter dogs are NOT from breeders who are members of their breed’s national clubs, and very likely haven’t a single show/performance/working dog in four generations of pedigree. Not that any even came in with their pedigree available. The other reason was to give mixed breed dogs more of a chance to be seen and adopted. Let me repeat that: To give mixed breeds a BETTER CHANCE.

By the early 90’s, every breed’s national club could give you a list of people that would take in unwanted or shelter dogs of their breed, and called them rescuers. These rescuers were invariably people who showed their dogs in conformation, entered them in performance events like obedience and the newly created agility, or worked their dogs in the job the breed was traditionally developed to do. They were individuals who needed nothing more than a good rapport with their local shelters to be called when a dog of their breed came in, and as a shelter kennel manager, I was ECSTATIC to have those resources. If I could get one Labrador out, I could take in two beagle mixes. If I could get one German shepherd out, I could take in the big fuzzy Heinz 57 that was funny and house-trained, and well cared for, but his owner died, and he had no where else to go. We didn’t have much worry about the rescuers needing a 501c3 and their IRS records. They weren’t making any money, and if they did, why did *we* care? We could save more dogs! That was our focus. Not more rotts, or chihuahuas, or dalmatians. More DOGS. I was a budding sheltie fancier, and could openly discuss my intention to show and eventually breed shelties with my co-workers, and they’d be supportive, and even enthusiastic. But we still were giving most of our time, and all of our hearts and souls to the generic ‘dogs’, even as most of us had preferences for certain breeds.

Fast forward to today. As a show exhibitor, I would be turned down flat if I applied for the job I did back then, even with the addition of ‘veterinary technician’ and more experience to my resume. And to be a *breeder? I’d probably be burned at the stake for even filling out an application. In fact, I was denied the adoption of a neutered ferret because I own intact show dogs from the very shelter I used to have to walk down the aisles of and choose who died to make room for the ones standing in the lobby needing a kennel space. Those kennels in their new, $4,000,000+ building are mostly empty. We used to shove 75 dogs in a kennel built for 60 and hope that we didn’t get inspected that day. Things have changed, and seeing empty runs makes me happy, but I’m not so sure that dogs in general are better off. Some of the dogs in my shelter have been there for two years or more. Very, very few of the dogs available for adoption aren’t pits or pit mixes, and even fewer are OK to adopt to families with kids or other pets. And if you decide you can take on a pit, and can find one that doesn’t have pet or kid restrictions that eliminate you as an owner, you’d better hope that you can pass their requirements for adoption, and are willing to give them FULL ACCESS to your vet records for any animal you own. Not just a reference. They want access to your records. Wonder why there are dogs in the shelter for years?

On the other hand, a fellow former employee of that shelter has his own shelter now. When my local shelter wouldn’t send a cruelty officer to investigate a report of a dog without a roof on its doghouse, where it was chained 24/7, because my township doesn’t PAY them, his organization sent one from twice as far away, and got the dog a roof over his head. He works with commercial kennels here, and they give him vaccines that are expiring before their kennel can use them so the dogs at the shelter can be vaccinated, and the commercial kennels share their equipment with his shelter if he needs it, such as whelping beds, crates, etc. And he gives the commercial kennels incentive to do things in the most humane way possible. As a responsible breeder, I support that shelter in every way I can, and even lost my opportunity to be a local kennel club member because I refused to support the shelter I used to work for over this new, more enlightened and accepting shelter. Yep. My local kennel club withdrew its offer for me to join when I said I couldn’t, in good faith, support a shelter that won’t support my local dogs in need over something as stupid as my township not having money to tithe to their demand.

I’m sorry this got long, but some of these folks who call breeders and exhibitors ‘shelter and mutt haters’ don’t have a clue. We don’t hate mutts. We love ALL dogs. But we know what we can live with comfortably, and what breed touches our souls. How can loving any dog be a bad thing for other dogs? I just don’t get how it’s an ‘either/or’ situation.


Susi August 14, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Can’t add a word to what you wrote, Jennifer. It needed to be said, and you said it. Well done.


Jason Kitt August 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

An extremely well written article and some very observant and telling opinions. There is a great deal of good, but far too much bad on both sides of this issue. My simple opinion is that if the biased and misinformed were less eager to create controversy and confrontation, much could be achieved. But controversy and confrontation create interest, which creates opportunity, which creates money, which creates an ever expanding cycle of distrust and discord.


Susi August 14, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Jason, though I’m not exactly sure what you’re suggesting. I don’t make a dime off writing for my site, so if the suggestion is that I’ve created controversy with this article in the pursuit of money, boy have you got it wrong.


Deanna J. August 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for a well-written article. I look forward to reading the follow-up about Piper’s return home to her owner, Veronica Covatch. #bringpiperhome


Susi August 14, 2014 at 11:09 pm

A whole lot of people, we think, are watching this from both sides of the debate, Deanna.


julie August 15, 2014 at 10:05 am


This article needs to be posted EVERYWHERE! It, or a similar situation is happening all over the country. I think, a certain amount of shame is preventing people from screaming, (cue up Monty python sound bite) “Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”

The problems with both animal control/reuses and child protective services is that there is less legal protection than if you were accused of a major crime. Our courts presume innocence, allow for a trial, legal representation (regardless of ability to pay) and require a jury of our peers to convict us before guilt is determined. This is not so if you find yourself the target of cps or animal control/rescue.

A few examples that have happened to personal friends. In the first case, two dear friends noticed their infant daughters leg was extremely tender and she was clingy and teary. Worried, they took her to the emergency room where x-rays were (films read by admitting physican, not a radiologist) suggesting of a fractured leg. Long story short, but the misread films resulted in cps involvement, a year long battle costing over $700K in legal fees, the trauma of almost losing their children, and yes, the shame of being looked at as child abusers. Because there is no, ‘trial’ they never even got the satisfaction of being declared ‘innocent’, cps simply declared the investigation ‘closed’.

Another friend came under animal control scrutiny when a neighbor reported her for starving her horse. Yes, the horse was thin…….. it was nearing the end of it’s almost 40 year old life. My friend was making the daily decision of, ‘is today the day I have her put down’. It was a difficult, and should have been a very personal decision to determine when quality of life and potential pain determined ‘today is the day’ her other, healthy vibrant horse as well as her dogs (many were show champions) came very close to being ‘rescued’ as part of wholesale confiscation. Her saving grace was that she got on the phone and immediately called her own vet to come out, and her son (an attorney). Both were able to convince the authorities that the ancient horse was not being abused, in fact just the opposite, wonderful care is what allowed the mare to reach such an advanced age. My friend decided the next day to have the horse euthanized. It was almost time anyway but she’d hoped to have a few more months with her before having to say goodbye ……..however, she didn’t want to risk losing her other animals should the nosy neighbor make another call and different animal control officers see the situation differently.

Anther friend had almost the same situation happen with his 15 year old greyhound. A neighbor reported him and animal control came to investigate. He knew his remaining time with his girl was short, but he was making the day to day decision of, ‘when’ he’d actually called me a few days prior to animal control’s visit for counsel on how he’d know when it was time. I gave him my best advice which was, ‘when there are no more ‘good days’ and only good hours’. In this last case, animal control insisted on taking the greyhound back to their vet for evaluation. My friend knew the trip and the unfamiliar setting would scare his elderly girl. He tried to negotiate with them to call a vet right then and there for a home visit to put her to sleep………. they refused and he was forced to relinquish his girl to them for euthanasia. It wasn’t the ending he felt he owed her……… he wanted to be there, holding her as she took her last breath. He was denied the comfort of sending her peacefully. And more importantly, his beloved girl was denied the comfort of her owners hands as she slipped away.


julie August 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

Part of the problem is that the animal rights groups have done such a good job in swaying the minds and hearts of the general population into believe that the only moral way to add a dog to your family is via rescue/shelter. Sadly, this has made ‘rescue’ a business as there are unscrupulous folks that put profit over animal welfare.

http://www.examiner.com/article/is-adop … -pet-store

This article highlights a growing problem here in the united states. the changes in legislation have made a lot of places get more ‘creative’. retail puppy sales and commercial breeding facilities are regulated and inspected……….but rescue facilities are exempt from any of the regulations and not subjected to any inspections so many places such as this organization call themselves rescues so that they can skirt the requirements. ………

it does serve to make people aware that this is going on. if a rescue organization buys puppies from a puppy mill and then ‘adopts’ them out, it makes the new owners feel better about things because they think they adopted……when in truth, it was still a puppy that came from a commercial breeder but didn’t carry the stigma of being something you ‘bought’.

There are many wonderful breed rescue organizations that are doing good work. There are many folks that give tirelessly of their time and money …..many of them breeders and show folks!

The thing is, not all breeders are bad and not all rescues are good………. in both groups you have wonderful people committed to a breed or animal welfare in general……… and conversely, in both groups you have folks that seek to profit and they don’t care that their ‘inventory’ or that the ‘goods’ they peddle are living, breathing, loving, animals.


julie August 15, 2014 at 10:50 am

Oops, I can’t seem to edit my post……… the link was incorrect:



Melinda August 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Absolutely none of your business what or how a rescue group/person spends money unless you yourself donated the money. If you want money spent on young animals, then go for it, go spend your money. With most rescue people its one dog/one situation at a time and there isn’t a comparison on which life is more valuable.
If the laws were followed with stray hold and the dog was legally transferred to a rescue group, then yes, it is and should be up to the rescue group to decide where it goes. So sorry that loser left the dog with someone who isn’t responsible. Maybe they will use better judgement in the future.
As a rescue person when I get a dog, beyond the normal stray hold, there has to be something that says that dog can start the rest of its life without having to hold on to the dog in case someone pops up out of the woodwork.
This article smacks of a person not in rescue, a person that just likes to spout an opinion and likes to criticize and find fault with people who are volunteering their time to do their best to make the world a bit better.
I don’t know this particular rescue but have seen so many armchair quarterbacks making the same argument about how rescues spend their money when they contribute absolutely nothing but negativity.


Susi August 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Folks in the state in which this rescue operates ARE asking about the money, Melinda. Will you tell them also to mind their own business? How about the Humane Society of the UNITED STATES? Off limits to US citizens? Sorry, Melinda, that dog won’t hunt. Organizations which operate under charitable and/or non-profit status ARE accountable, and it’s high time they are held to that standard. I won’t quibble with you as to who, technically, owned Piper. Chances are that the rescue does, fair and square. But again, one has to ask what is really in the best interest of the dog here. If it were YOUR dog, I bet you’d like it back and believe you are the best home for it.

I recognized the limitations of being a “holding cell” for stray dogs, but I also recognize that in the true spirit of rescue, the dog goes to the best home available; when that home owner is standing in front of you eager to take the dog and is refused, it no longer appears that the best interest of the dog is at heart.

If you’re tired of armchair quarterbacks making the same argument about how rescues spend their money when they contribute absolutely nothing but negativity, you sound to me like someone as guilty of armchair quarterbacking as you accuse others of being. Purebred dog clubs have been rescuing their own LONG before rescue became what it is now. They did it quietly, diligently and often without the funding rescues get now. They did it not only because they are the best authority on a breed they love and seek to protect, not only because they know what kind of lifestyle is the best fit for a dog, but also to give mixed breeds a better change at adoption. But you don’t sound to me like anyone who knows anything about that. You suggest that this article was written by a person not in rescue. Funny, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m the writer, but you are fast and furious with words that pass judgement on a person you wouldn’t know if you tripped over the hair shirt you’re wearing. This writer actually HAS done rescue and actually HAS one as part of the family. That funny feeling on your face right now is the egg dripping off of it, by the way. Yup, Melinda, anyone who calls another person a “loser” for having had a dog escape out of a yard as her father is having a heart attack is certainly a model of caring compassion. I can only imagine how warm and sensitive you are in person. Wow. So while you’re sitting on that holier-than-thou moral high ground, smug in the knowledge that you are oh-so-better than everyone else because you rescue (even the people in purebred rescue can’t possibly be as good as you are), be sure not to get a nose bleed as high up as you are.


bestuvall August 15, 2014 at 7:18 pm

you are much kinder than I am Susi that “funny feeling” on her face would have been the tingling from the slap down I would have given her..and that nose bleed would have been the result. I am SICK of these people. You did a very nice and polite job like you always do .. but really she is one who needs a good “whopping:” as my grandmother would say. I am sharing your post in fact i share something everyday about Piper. Bring Piper home


Susi August 15, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Her remarks are the same tired old rhetoric, and most of us are so “over” them. I could be wrong, but her comment shrieks of someone who has never known, or tried to know, a stellar breeder, or talked with any AKC breed club rescue volunteers.

I did find Jean C’s comment (below) interesting which, as they say, makes the “plot thicken.”


janet August 15, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Melinda how cold and unfeeling you are. the person is a loser cause she left her dog with a responsible person who in the states of a family crisis let the dog slip out. I wonder how you would feel if that happened to your dog! I understand the person the dog was left with was the co/owner which would say to me that perhaps they had taken care of the dog in the past with no incident. YOU are very typical of why so many breeders are leery of rescue groups.


Cindy Cooke August 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

If a rescue group is claiming 501(c)(3) status as a charity, their financial records are required to be made public every year so, Melinda, it is our business. You are correct that if animal control complied with the Ohio state law regarding the holding period for dogs, then the Animal Control agency had every right to transfer ownership to the rescue facility. HOWEVER, this rescue person has given no reason for refusing to return the dog to its rightful owner who has more than enough evidence to prove ownership in court. Something about this woman’s behavior is off and it is not unreasonable for the rest of us to be suspicious. Rescues have a duty to spend their money for the purposes for which it was donated. That’s the law!


Jean C August 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

May I suggest that everyone who wishes to know the (partial) sequence of events go to the Facebook page of the Ohio Sheltie Network and read through the variety of postings and comments from December 2013 onwards. In late November, a Pennsylvannia resident named Veronica joins the list and in December, in response to someone looking for a sheltie, notes that she has 4 dogs and one puppie for placement to homes. One of these is a bi-black champion bitch. Veronica specified that these dogs will need to be spayed and neutered, and that she will let them go with a contract that says they need to be returned to her if the home doesn’t work out.
On Jan 6, a woman named Charissa posted a picture of one of the other dogs Veronica listed for adopted with a comment indicating that he was hers. (The prior comment section indicated that Charissa wanted one dog for herself and another for her daughter.) On Feb 3 and again on Feb 6, a woman named Cheavean posts pictures of a dog named Piper on the Ohio Sheltie Network site and indicates the dog is hers. In looking at publicly available Facebook posts for both these ladies, it appears as though the sheltie with the mother is still in his home — his picture appears in several posts up to the current date. The sheltie with Cheavean never appears on her own Facebook page, though a black lab puppy (Feb 9– 3 days after the last post with Piper) and later a black lab dog and (the same?) slightly older puppy appear in her
facebook posts. Ms. Cheavean posts a death notice for someone with the same last name on June 18 (not her father as Susi has indicated — at least I hope so as one of the comments said he died in their bed), who apparently died of a heart attack — but 2 months after the April 11-19, Sheltie Nationals.

Prior to April 2014, there are various comments on the Ohio Sheltie Network about an unnamed rescuer who is rude and hard to work with. One charitable commenter says that this unidentified rescuer has been doing this for a long time and is burned out.

If Susi will let me post screenshots for those of you who are not on Facebook, I think I got most of the conversation —- but for me the points are that these dogs were supposed to be permanently rehomed with spay/neuter agreements and an agreement to return them to the breeder if things didn’t work out. Not sure if there was paperwork done that reflected that or not. Most dog-lovers and dog owners post pics of their dogs on Facebook with considerable frequency but Piper disappears and a black lab appears on the supposed adopter’s site as of Feb 2014 — making it hard to figure what happened to Piper after Feb 6. Depending on the shape that Piper was in when she was taken in by the shelter and later the rescue organization,
I would be willing to forgive a rescue organization questioning whether a breeder had done due diligence in placing these dogs — especially if they had not been spayed/neutered by the folks with whom Veronica placed them. I did not find anything to indicate that the two dogs had been used for breeding.

For myself, I’ve been fortunate enough to deal with both ethical breeders and rescue organizations. My original interest in following this story was in figuring out if anyone could show up — at least in theory — to claim/reclaim a dog for those of us who have adopted rescue dogs and what the legal timelines are for this.

That said, I’m happy to post screenshots of various Facebook pages/posts/comments to present a slighty different version and timeline of this story. Anyone who wants to do their own research — much better than taking my or anyone else’s word for it — I suggest you take a bit of time and scroll through the Facebook page of Ohio Sheltie Network. Much of the story is in the comments, so look at those as well. And then follow up on other people’s Facebook pages.


Susi August 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for writing, Jean. You pose a few questions which I may have to wait to address next week (running out the door), the first asking about posting screen shots. I doubt that can be done in the comments section of this template for Word Press, but you’ve raised the suggestion and anyone interested in the events as they happened need only go to Facebook and type in the name of the rescue; I image if they scroll backwards in time, they’ll be able to follow the time line. As you said, there are stellar rescues and there are stellar breeders, and, sadly, there are those of both which are at the other end of the spectrum. I think we’d all like to be wrong about this story, and that all rescues (and breeders) operate with transparency. One way or the other, there will be another article to write at the end of all this, and either it will refute the story we “think” we know and incriminate this particular rescue group, or it will absolve the rescue group leading to a very different article. There’ll be a lot to ponder whatever the outcome.


julie August 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm

I can’t seem to find a Facebook link for ‘Ohio Sheltie network’ could you provide a link please?


Susi August 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm

It’s under Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, Julie. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-Ohio-Sheltie-Rescue/127399003002


bestuvall August 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm

so is Piper that is missing a dog or a bitch? the poster says:
) On Feb 3 and again on Feb 6, a woman named Cheavean posts pictures of a dog named Piper on the Ohio Sheltie Network site and indicates the dog is hers. In looking at publicly available Facebook posts for both these ladies, it appears as though the sheltie with the mother is still in his home — his picture appears in several posts up to the current date. –
with “his mother” and “his picture”?? two Pipers?/ two black and whites?/ very confusing


Susi August 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I was scratching my head over that, as well. I was hoping YOU’D know, lol

Jean C August 16, 2014 at 7:05 am

I was using dog in the sense of canine — I can’t tell from the pics whether the animal is male or female. The animal about which the controversy exists is said to be a bitch.

Cathy August 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Another well-written article and it sums it up well, scarily. I find it appalling that any rescue group would go to such lengths to keep a dog from the breeder that wants her back. After all, that’s what we responsible breeders are supposed to do – no matter how long ago we sold a puppy or rehomed an adult if we hear that one has somehow ended up in a shelter or rescue, we want them back. That’s the last thing we want for a dog that we brought into the world. Such a far cry from the picture that was posted this week by a shelter here in Kentucky. It was of two beautiful tri-color Cavaliers and you know what it said? We’re looking for the owner of these two dogs that were found running loose. They won’t be available for adoption or rescue to pull until ___ (the date was at least 10 days away) because we fully expect for these two beauties to be claimed. They had posted the picture so it could be circulated and sure enough, the frantic owner was looking for them. One of them liked to dig and they were in the process of laying brick all the way around the inside of their fence but they got out at a section they hadn’t finished – which immediately went to the top of the to-do list to finish this weekend. Anyway, that shelter could have kept quiet, waited to see if someone came looking for them and then adopted them out for a much higher fee since they were clearly pure-bred. but they did the right thing and helped the owner find them. Why was it so difficult for the Sheltie rescue to do the right thing? Why have they instead insisted on a position that makes no sense whatsoever? Why spend so much money to keep a dog that HAS a home when they have so many that do not? If the group has a lick of sense they’ll find themselves a new director with a little more common sense and decency.


mixie August 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm

“…the points are that these dogs were supposed to be permanently rehomed with spay/neuter agreements and an agreement to return them to the breeder if things didn’t work out. …

Depending on the shape that Piper was in when she was taken in by the shelter and later the rescue organization, …

I would be willing to forgive a rescue organization questioning whether a breeder had done due diligence in placing these dogs — especially if they had not been spayed/neutered by the folks with whom Veronica placed them.”

OK. The weird letter on COSR’s website says six parties have laid claim on Piper. So… please help me understand if I’m getting this right, understanding the information you posted.

What you’re suggesting is that Veronica was the original owner. She placed her with another person. That other person, not a co-owner, but a new pet-home owner, lost the dog. Veronica is falsely claiming she left Piper with the co-owner, (because she’s unhappy with the new pet home who lost her and wants to reclaim the dog herself?), the co-owner is corroborating, and the new adoptive home is also asking for her back? Am I understanding that?

(In re: sheltie with mother, two of the dogs in the original group to be placed were a mother/pup pair, neither of which I think is Piper. That pair seems to be accounted for in their new pet home with routine FB updates. Someone please check me on that interpretation, too!!)

Who are the other three claimants that COSR’s lawyer mentioned? Any idea?


Jean C August 16, 2014 at 7:18 am

I don’t know about the other claimants, don’t know any of the parties, but got interested and did some but not a huge amount of internet research.
I suspect the court will decide if there is a sufficient and legit paper trail that allows Veronica to reclaim Piper or if the bitch in question was essentially abadoned property and rescue now has ownership, and that Veronica may or may not have a claim against the person with home Piper was placed.
Any no indications of any neglect — but, even as an average pet owner, when I post on Facebook, a lot of my posts are about my pets. And yet other dogs show up on the Facebook page of the adopter but not this very pretty sheltie.


Christine P October 22, 2014 at 11:57 pm

After reading practically every article I could get my hands on, my understanding is Piper, the dog now with COSR, was not given away or sold, another sheltie was. Piper was lent to the new owner of the sheltie so that the dog could adjust to the new home better as Piper had a calmer temperament and was friends with the other sheltie with the promise that Piper would be returned to the owner, Veronica, at the end of April. When the daughter of the sheltie’s owner moved, she requested Piper come with her to keep her dogs company. Veronica allowed this so long as Piper would be returned at the end of April. So the girl’s house where Piper was staying was not her owner, Veronica and Michelle (the co-owner) were still the owners of Piper prior to her escape. According to the vet, the shelter did call regarding the microchip. He advised they had moved their office and so the information was currently filed away in boxes and he would not be able to find the information until Monday. The shelter did not attempt to call back. Also this is not the first incident of the manager of COSR acting in an unethical or coercive manner: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/29/1325564/–She-s-taken-something-as-natural-as-death-and-birth-and-turned-it-into-something.
Something is seriously not right with this woman. She has no intention of returning this dog.


mixie August 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Sorry, I just re-read the article and am clear on the allegations. But I’m with you. So what? I don’t think COSR has made any allegations about abuse or neglect, they just keep saying “the dog is our property and we’ll do what we want with her”, which appears to be not returning her to anyone even remotely connected to her breeder, for no specific reason other than she feels bullied?

I am still unclear on who the other three claimants are supposed to be, though.


julie August 15, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I’ve spent way too much intrawebz time on this……… reading various posts and becoming more and more disillusioned about the rift between groups that should have a common goal.

In reading comments, I think part of the problem is that non-show folks just don’t ‘get’ us. There were several posts that claimed: “Veronica GAVE THE DOG AWAY”. As if somehow, that implied that the b*tch wasn’t valued or cared for. Non-show people just can’t wrap their head around the notion that it’s not uncommon for show folks to give away dogs. A show friend of mine has, on numerous occasions, tried to talk me into taking one of her b*tches. It’s a girl I’ve spent hours training, shown, taken to the national, and frankly, fallen for. If I thought I could make it work (my b*tches is a bit snarly), I’d take her up on her offer in a heartbeat even though she is not, ‘my breed’. My friend recognizes that I love her and the bitch loves me……… money doesn’t factor into her kind offer.

My MIL gave a finished male thait she wasn’t going to make part of her breeding program to a neighbor of mine. I had the body at my house for awhile (she took my in-season bitch) and my neighbor fell hard for him. It was one of those matches you could just tell was meant to be. My MIL wasn’t looking to re-home him……… but when a great home presented itself, she allowed my neighbor to have him as she thought being a loved pet was a great retirement for her boy.

Just because show folks give away dogs at times doesn’t mean that they’re not valued……. sometimes it means that the dog is going to a great show home or becoming a loved couch potato for someone that has even more time to give the dog an enriched life.


Cathy August 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm

You’re exactly right. I’ve rehomed dogs I’ve finished. Wasn’t even looking to do so but as you said, the perfect opportunity presented itself. Did I not care about the dog? No, that wasn’t it at all, in fact, quite the opposite. I cared more of the dog than I did myself and recognized he’d have a great home and be spoiled rotten, rather than just being one of the herd at my place. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again because the well-being of my dogs is at the top of my priority list. But like you said, your average pet person just can’t wrap their head around that concept. They also seem to have difficulty understanding that just because dog was placed doesn’t mean I no longer have any responsibility for it. But I’m doing my best to make sure they live out a happy, healthy, life whether it be with me or someone else.


Jean C August 16, 2014 at 7:42 am

Julie, Cathy,
what sort of due diligence do you do when placing an ex-show dog? Just curiosity, and trying to figure out what is the norm.


bestuvall August 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Jean C . I am wondering why you want to know this? I suppose there is not “norm”. It is the owners business who she./ he gives or sells her animals to. We have not gotten to the point (yet) where it is anyone’s business who get my dogs or anyone’s dogs..So far there are no laws or rules about that but I can see it coming..and it does not have to be an ex show dog .. it might just be a dog you have that needs a good home


julie August 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

I’m hesitant to speak as to ‘norm’ but I’m happy to answer your question about my views!

I guess for me, I’m going to be a bit picker if I’m placing an older dog than I would with a puppy. Obviously I’d do the very best I could in matching my puppies to new homes (not that any of us can’t make, what is in retrospect, bad decisions). With puppies, I see potential ………I can make a guess as to what type of home is going to be a good fit. However, with a puppy I think that there is the genetic potential for a certain temperament, but that the environmental factors (training, socializing) are what shapes where, within, that genetic potential the end result lies. I’ve not done a very good job explaining this……….I guess the short version is that I think puppies are more malleable.

If I were to place an adult dog, I’d be more specific about what homes I’d consider a good match. Since I’d know all the little quirks of the adult, I’d be picker about who might be a good fit.

I’ll use my current two as examples (not that I’d re-home them by choice). I have a dog and a b*tch. The b*tch is happy to cuddle and go for walks. I do agility with her and she enjoys it but she doesn’t NEED it. My male on the other hand HAS to work. Without a job, he’s not happy. Now his ‘job’ is often something I create for him……. example, I ‘accidentally’ drop dirty laundry all the way from the hamper upstairs to the washing machine downstairs. I may drop three or four items. …….he scoops up what I’ve dropped and carries it for me. ……….he feels useful and fulfilled from his work. I’m always having to come up with ways he can ‘help’ me with chores. ……and he’s a serious Velcro dog.

If I had to re-home either of them, I’d be extra picky about potential homes as I know them both so well that my pool of ‘good fits’ would be rather specific.

Of course I don’t speak for everyone…… but that’s my views.


bestuvall August 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm

cont.. maybe you are “over your limit” and want a new dog to show or breed..so you place one in a great home to be couch potato.. or maybe you have a friend who wants to whelp a litter in their own name so they can keep a puppy and the mother.. Maybe you stud dog goes sterile and you want a new home or maybe he doesn’t and as was said above a friend falls in love and wants the dog and you are willing to make that happen and you can still use him at stud when you want to. maybe two of your dogs are not getting along and you need to place one many many scenarios.. none of which make the breeder a “bad person”


Jean C August 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Dear Bestuvall, I agree it is none of my business. You can buy and sell your dogs on craigslist , entirely through word-of-mouth, or from a box in front of your local gas station; you can keep dogs confined 24/7 or chained out or keep them in the house and let them sleep on your bed every night — legally you are totally within your rights. And you can sell puppies with a paypal “buy-it-now” over the internet and be an AKC breeder of merit and a member in good standing of a breed club. (Note: I too am an 18 year member of said breed club and reported it to the club, which has an (outdated) code of ethics.)
Also said in previous comments that I have been fortunate enough to deal with ethical breeders and rescues, where I’ve had vets and references called, home visits etc., and been on puppy waiting lists for nearly a year. And I have gotten some wonderful dogs and met some lovely people who have turned into friends in that process. I’ve gotten puppies from my breeders and was curious if the same process of checking out puppy buyers was common when placing ex-show dogs — or not?

You and Veronica and anyone out there breeding are in no shape, way or form accountable to me or any one on the internet. But if you love your dogs, I would posit that you should do due diligence in picking homes for them. (And I liked the dogs of the breeder with the paypal button — but refrained from contacting him/her.) Do your own research on what happened please — not just repeating postings but looking at original source material. Then figure out if this breeder did right/did partially right/had bad luck/was an idiot — by your own standards. Rescues and shelters pick up the pieces and are often understaffed and underfunded. They too may be run by idiots or by people with limited social skills. I don’t have the story, but some or much of what is being posted doesn’t conform to the original source material. If there is more, I’d like to hear it.

I didn’t used to be the enemy.


Susi August 17, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I’m heartened to see a back-and-forth dialogue about bigger issues generated by the Piper story – and by and large it’s been civil. Thank you all for that. Your closing sentence, Jean C, prompts me to ask, however, if you feel you are “the enemy” now because you’ve challenged some perceptions about the Piper case, or for some other reason?

For my part, I suspect we would all like to be right AND wrong about this situation. Those of us who’ve written about the Piper story (or privately expressed their opinion to me) want Piper to be happy and well, but there’s considerable concern over both because no one outside of the rescue group has laid eyes on her. I believe, too, that there is tremendous frustration on the part of fanciers, ethical breeders and purebred dog affectionados at having been painted with a very broad brush by what I’d call the shrillest of the “adopt don’t shop” arm of the rescue contingency. Already beleaguered by the animal rights movement, legislated against in certain cities, and concerned by the APHIS regulation, these folks are bone weary of yet another assault, this time from shelter/rescue people, some of whom have taken to aggressive actions. The Piper story is by no means the only incident like this to have happened, though it’s the most recent and therefore is on everyone’s mind. If, in the end, Piper’s owner is in the wrong in some way, either through misrepresentation or something else, there will be plenty to say about it when the time comes. For now, it would go a long, long way towards allaying concerns beyond legal matters if the shelter people showed Piper in real time, happy and healthy.


bestuvall August 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Bone weary is correct and apropos..Bone weary to the marrow. Thanks for putting it nicely> I am also bone weary of the “rescues and shelters pick up the pieces” as if every dog they take in was due to some “greeder” or uncaring person instead of some who have no choice. I am bone weary of site that promote hate like the one above with a noose for me and you.But I will continue to be bone weary and still stand up and say I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.


Carolyn August 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

There needs to be more scrutiny of public rescues who do a lot of fund raising for various things.
It would appear that some, maybe many, of the rescues nowadays are doing nothing more than retail sales of animals without having to charge sales tax because they call it an adoption fee.
Many are also trying to close down pet shops being able to sell animals because they want to have “adoption centers”. Half the time however, they don’t even have any history on a dog, any idea on issues the dog may have, etc, whereas responsible breeders have complete histories on lineage, disposition of sire and dam and also grandparents usually, any physical defects to watch out for, etc.

The founders of some of these rescues do not appear to be “into” rescue for the good of the animals as many of their naïve, free labor volunteers clearly are. The founders with some of these rescues seem to be more interested in acting like the “chosen ones” to dictate things to everyone around them, make $$$ without having to work, and really aren’t all that educated typically in species specific animal husbandry or species specific behavior either.


Susi August 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm

It seems to be the way of more than one organization: The “minions” at the bottom who do the bulk of the work have pure intentions, but the further one goes up the food chain, the more one encounters a every different mindset. The dog fancy isn’t immune, it seems to me. Most of us got “into” dogs because we loved being and working with them. After so many years in the sport, it’s sad to see some whose zeal has been replaced with cynicism and a compass gone awry.


Carolyn August 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm

And perhaps if when donors have questions regarding particular things they may have of rescues, and in the name of transparency and accountability, they could send that rescue the questionnaire below and see if they will fill it out.

If they do, great, and if they won’t, that is probably a red flag regarding what they do with donated funds. I have a friend that has a 501c3 and he said he would absolutely no problem with filling out the questionnaire, posting things publically on his rescues Facebook page, and would be happy to do it so that the rescues who do not want to be transparent will be weeded-out.

Questionnaire for Rescue-Humane Societies-SPCA’s-Animal Controls and Animal Shelters

In the interest of TRANSPARANCY and ACCOUNTABILITY for animal rescues registered with the State as a “not for profit” business entity, and also if they are registered with the IRS as a 501c3 tax exempt organization, for humane societies, for SPCA’s, and also for animal controls, potential donors can send this questionnaire to any of the above described entities that they may be contemplating supporting as a donor, as a professional in an area of expertise that they may want to donate their professional talent, expertise, and services to that could be beneficial to the animal rescue, or as a volunteer.
The IRS and the State an animal rescue, humane society, and SPCA are registered in often do not require much in the way of line item documentation of donations received overall, where and what the money is spent on, etc.
Some states do require that targeted fundraisers must be registered with the State to avoid scams where individuals, organizations, and others ask for and receive donation money to “rescue” or “help” or “save” particular animals, to buy real estate to house the animals, to buy supplies and materials to care for the animals, vehicles to transport animals with, etc, but usually donors are not privy to how much money is received, where it is being spent, receipts are not posted, vet reports on rescued animals are not posted, daily photos and updates on animals are not forth-coming, etc.
This questionnaire is mostly for information gathering purposes for prospective donors regarding how much money is collected for targeted fundraisers that rescues frequently ask and receive donations for, “targeted” animals they are “rescuing”, real estate/land they are buying to house and maintain animals, vehicles and equipment they use for transporting and handling animals. etc.
Going farther, the IRS and the State does not currently require public postings from rescues, humane societies, SPCA’s, or animal controls that are taking monetary donations, material goods donations, or professional services, for vet records, receipts for monies spent on targeted fundraisers that many rescues hold quite frequently when they are primarily donation-funded recues (as opposed to rescues/sanctuaries/hospices who are primarily self-funded and whose owners/founders and other participants work in jobs outside of rescue), euthanasia records on animals rescued using donation money, necropsy reports, records of exactly where the rescued animals that donation money was used to rescue, rehabilitate, and maintain are residing, are they in foster care, adopted out, in a sanctuary, etc.
So to make it simple for regular people who want to know where their donation dollars are going, this form can be sent to the rescue someone may be contemplating supporting and it should be a simple one for the animal rescue to fill out entirely in the name of accountability and transparency.
1. Registered name of animal rescue: ___________________________________________________
Founder/Contact person: _____________________________________________________________
Contact Persons Telephone #: _____________________________
Facebook Page Address for Organization: ___________________________
I: Month and Year your organization was founded (even if your org was not registered as a non-profit yet and was a private, non-registered rescue): _____________________
II: Rescue and/or charity entity registration # and the state registered in:______
III: IRS Tax Exempt Organization EIN#: ___________
IIII: Date organization became a “not-for-profit” entity with the State: _______
IIIII: Date organization became a tax exempt organization with the IRS: ______
Location/physical address where rescued animal/s will be taken and housed: ___________________________________________________
IIIIII: Veterinary Hospital Name, Address, and Telephone # that you primarily use: ____________________________________________________________________________________
Website Address: __________________________________

2. Name of humane society: _________________________
Location of the humane society: _________________________________
Are you a “not-for-profit” with the state?: __________
If so, please list the State you are registered in, the date you registered, and your registration #: _____________________________________________
Are you a 501c3 tax exempt organization?: __________________
If so, please list your EIN #, the date you applied for 501c3 tax exempt status, and the date you received your approval letter from the IRS for your 501c3 status: ______________________________________
Contact Person/Person in charge: __________________________________
Telephone # of contact: __________________________________________
Email address for contact person: ___________________________________
Facebook Page for Organization: ____________________________________
Veterinary Hospital Name, Address, and Telephone # that you primarily use:_____________________________________________________________________________
City/Town you reside in: ____________________________________________
How many years in business: ______________
Location/physical address where rescued animal/s will be taken and housed:__________________________________________________________________________
Website Address: _________________________________________________________________

3. Name of SPCA: ___________________________________________________________________
Month and year your organization was founded?: _________________________________________
Location of the SPCA: ________________________________________________________________
How many years in business: __________________________________________________________
Number of Members: _________________________________________________________________
Are you a “not-for-profit” with the state?: __________
If so, please list the State you are registered in, the date you registered, and your registration #: ____________________________________________________________________________________
Are you a 501c3 tax exempt organization?: __________________
If so, please list your EIN #, the date you applied for 501c3 tax exempt status, and the date you received your approval letter from the IRS for your 501c3 status: ______________________________________
Contact Person/Person in Charge: ________________________________________________________
Telephone # of contact: _________________________________________________________________
Email address of contact person: _________________________________________________________
Facebook page for the organization: _______________________________________________________
City/Town you reside in: ________________________________________________________________
Location/physical address where animals will be taken and housed: ____________________________________________________________________________________
Veterinary Hospital Name, Address, and Telephone # that you primarily use:__________________________________________________________________________________
Website address: ______________________________________________________________________

4. Name of government agency if applicable: ________________________________________________
Physical address of agency: ______________________________________________________________
Contact Person/Person in charge: _________________________________________________________
Contact Persons Telephone #: ____________________________________________________________
Facebook Page for Organization: _________________________________________________________
Website Address: ___________________________________________________________________
Number of years in business?: ________________________________

5. Are you primarily an 1.) an adoption-based rescue, 2. ) a sanctuary for unadoptable animals 3.) a hospice for animals with terminal illnesses and conditions 4.) or all of the above?: _________________________

6. For all organization, whether non-profit or for-profit; please list the legal name your taxes are filed under with the State and the IRS: ________________________________________________________

7. Please list 3 professional references including names, email addresses, and phone # of reference:
1. ____________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________
3. _____________________________________________________

8. Will you be self-funding with private and/or personal money, or donation-funding with donor and/or grant money for the care of the animal/s for this targeted fundraiser?: _________________________________________________
9. If this is a seizure of animals, a bond in the amount of ___________ is required to guarantee the care of animals. Will you post a bond in the required amount?: _________
10. For use with seized animals: If applicable by law to the state in which the animals are located and if the seizure and/or owner surrender is primarily donation-funded, will you be registering with the Secretary of State’s office for a targeted fundraiser?: ______
11. If the rescued animal is a horse rescued from an auction or sale, will you publically post your receipt from the auction/sale yard showing the purchase price of the animal?: ________________
12. If the rescued animal is an animal being “pulled” from an animal control/shelter, will you post the receipt for the “pull” price and any fees charged to the rescue?: _________________
13. In the name of “transparency” to the donating public, would you be willing to post public spread sheets and/or screen shots of the accounting of ALL monies received through donations (with the donors information blocked out) whether through PayPal, ChipIn, GoFundMe, direct deposit to a separate bank account set up for targeted rescues and fundraisers, bank-to-bank wire transfers, via credit card by card reader, etc (in other words, an accounting of ALL donations received on this targeted rescue you are asking for donations for)? ___________________________________________

14. In the name of “transparency” to the donating public, is this rescue, humane society, SPCA, or animal control willing to post publically ALL receipts pertaining to the rescue of the particular animals you are asking for donations for, their care, ALL receipts pertaining to their housing, their feed, medications, veterinary bills, farrier bills, (applicable to horses, ponies, burros, mules, goats, cattle, llamas, alpacas), chiropractic bills, any types of therapy i.e. massage, acupuncture, acupressure, aroma therapy, etc), any money paid to anyone associated in any way, whether volunteer, founder of rescue, etc, with the rescue of this animal/s?: _________________________________________________

15. In the name of “transparency, on a targeted fundraiser when rescuing an animal, or animals, does your organization post daily photos of the animal/s?: ______________________________________
16. Will you publically post on your Facebook page and your official website your adoption contract?:____________________________________

17. In the interest of transparency, will you publically post the full price of the adoption fee when and if any animals that were rescued and maintained using donation money are “adopted for a fee” and a public accounting and itemized list of any monies spent for the care, housing, and maintenance for that specific adopted animal?: ___________________________________________________________

18. In the interest of accountability and transparency to the donating public, will you publically post your resume including names, locations, and dates, and that of any participants involved in the rescue of this animal/s, that will give the donating public information on your background with animals, in rescue, in the mainstream animal world, etc?: ___________________

19. Is the founder and primary participants in the animal rescue employed in jobs and/or businesses outside of rescue? ____ If so, in what?:_________________________
There are many kind-hearted, compassionate people who are unable to do “hands-on” rescuing of animals, however, they do want to participate in rescuing animals in some way and that help is often by the donation of money, feed, materials for the care of the rescued animals, professional services, etc.
Currently, with non-profit animal rescues springing up in record numbers all over the United States in the thriving animal rescue industry, people ask questions wanting transparency, accountability, and answers that very few rescues are willing to address with all but vague/ethereal answers, sometimes with hostility for asking easy questions, and sometimes no answers at all.
This questionnaire makes it simple and easy for animal rescues to publically post full accountability regarding targeted fundraisers for animals they are rescuing, for materials, vehicles, real estate, and other things related to their animal rescue where they are asking for, and receiving, donations to do so.
Especially for targeted fundraisers, it also shows how much donation money, materials, feed, supplies, professional services, etc, are being donated, where the money is being spent (vet and others services reports), in what amounts (receipts), where animals are going in terms of foster care (names of fosters and city or town, and also state locations), adoption (name of adopter, city or town where animal is going, and state), or sadly, perhaps being euthanized (vet report and/or necropsy report), and will “paint a picture” for the public to clearly see where their kind and generous donations are going.
Posting receipts, vet reports, daily photos, adoption contracts, and all other information that pertain to rescue organizations asking for targeted donations for particular animals, particular items such as fencing, real estate, vehicles, feed, vet services, etc is EZ-PZ nowadays, so this form should be simple and easy for any legitimate rescue or organization to fill out that are dealing in full public transparency and accountability.


Sindy Young November 27, 2014 at 2:06 am

As an avid follower of Piper’s case, I’ve read many sources of information, including Veronica’s account of how Piper got loose in OH. Piper was not rehomed – A male friend of Veronica’s had a heart attack. The man had an older dog that was experiencing separation anxiety while the man was away for treatment. To prevent this from happening again, the man thought about getting a companion for his older dog, to reduce the stress should he become ill again. Veronica gifted her friend with a dog named Austin. Austin and Piper were very well acquainted and when Austin was sent to his new home, Piper was sent to ease his transition. Piper was to be returned in April.

The process worked wonderfully, and Austin settled in nicely – so well that the man felt he didn’t need Piper to stay for the entire time, and asked if Piper could be sent to his daughter’s house, to help with one of her dogs having anxiety as well. It was still the plan to return Piper in April. Veronica agreed to allow Piper (who is a girl by the way) to be sent to the daughter’s house until her return. It was this house that Piper escaped from.

On a separate but related note – I feel that breeders are getting an unfair rap regarding dogs being in shelters. While I know that there ARE bad breeders out there, and puppy mills do exist – thats only one part of a very wide variety of people out there who breed for their own reasons. Some breed for show dogs, and some breed for pets. Some do it to improve the breed. I know only a small percentage of breeders, and would never attempt to blanket them all with one statement, but the ones I know have never dropped off a litter of puppies at the local shelter and went on breeding… People blame breeders for dogs being placed in shelters and by doing so, they let the actual culprits off the hook – the irresponsible owners. Most of the breeders within my experience do their best to find their puppies good, loving, permanent homes. Many often have return policies in case things go wrong.

If you want to blame people for over crowded shelters – lets try blaming the irresponsible people who got the dog, and then left it there.


Susi November 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

Sindy, I think you’ve confused my article about Piper with something else you read about the case. As a fancier, myself, I’m hardly going to argue with you about the existence of ethical breeders and irresponsible dog owners (we’re on the same page on that score) and I didn’t suggest otherwise in my piece. I appreciate that you’re shared your thoughts with me, but to my ears (or eyes, actually), your comments sound as if they were written in response to a difference article.


Kris January 20, 2015 at 11:27 am

I didn’t read all of the comments above, yet. But I wanted to add my opinion about Sheltie breeders…at least the ones I have had contact with in the last 30 years here in Washington and Oregon. Shetland Sheepdog breeders are, in my opinion, some of the most unselfish and ethical breeders of any dog breed here in the United States. And trust me, I have done my homework. The Shetland Sheepdog breed itself shows this to be true. Breeding for the best makes the best. These breeders, the majority of them, strive for not just good…but excellence. They care about the breed, what happens to each and every dog, and where they will be placed. I have had contact with Sheltie rescues, and they are some of the most amazing people out there helping this breed. I can only speak for Shelties…the breeders should be proud of what they have done, and are doing for this breed. It is an honor that is well deserved. I don’t breed myself, and have nothing to gain from this besides the fact that I have a sheltie rescue, and if I ever look for another pup or dog…I will go to a Sheltie breeder or Sheltie rescue. I completely trust them.


Susi January 20, 2015 at 11:32 am

Thanks for weighing in, Kris. It’s baffling to me how this story has fallen off the radar. I suppose compelling new stories helped usher Piper’s story to a “back burner,” but it saddens me to think that in this case, unethical, unscrupulous people “won.”


Tena K. Michel January 28, 2015 at 2:47 am

From what I understand, this so-called rescue didn’t actually post $10,000 themselves. They posted a very small fraction of that amount (only a couple of hundred dollars) with a bail bondsman, who put up the bulk of the money. Also, when one examines the paperwork, this rescue doesn’t seem to be legit. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first case of a valuable dog taken by someone hiding behind the tax-exempt and heart-string-tugging facade of a rescue organization in order to make a profit selling unethically acquired pets; this is just the first where the rightful owner had the determination, time, and organizational skills to fight back. Many victims of recent disasters—such as Hurricane Katrina—also lost dogs which were then shipped all across the country and ‘adopted’ for a hefty fee.

An increasing number of dogs are stolen every year and resold under the guise of being rescues. The profit is great, due to the tax-exempt status if someone files a bit of paperwork, and the risk is small since these animals are considered property and the animals’ worth falls into the category of ‘petty theft.’ We need stronger laws which take the emotional toll of the owners into account, as well as more stringent supervision of rescue organizations to assure that the animals are truly rescues and not stolen property.


Lady Cat February 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm

This young mom needs this dog back. Harry is a therapy dog for her son.
The dog was stolen and given To Sophie’s Circle dog rescue who will not return her calls.
They adopted the fully vetted dog out at a tidy profit.



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