Thursday, October 18, 2007

I have had it with Ellen DeGeneres.

The whole Ellen DeGeneres mini-drama over Iggy the dog, complete with tears and crumpled tissues, makes me furious. The irresponsibility of her behaviour with regard to dog ownership and what belongs on air staggers me.

DeGeneres attempted to manipulate public opinion in her favour, when she apparently breached a contract. Does she consider her employment contract with the network to be a "piece of paper"?

If her producer was aware of her plans, her producer needs a (rhetorical) slap upside the head for allowing her to carry through with the histrionics.

She also gave away a living being as thought it were a sweater that didn't fit. A big NO in my neck of the woods.

Every rescue I've worked with has a clause requiring the adopter to return the animal to the rescue if for any reason, at any time, the adopter cannot keep the animal. This is to prevent rescue animals, usually snatched from shelters hours and even minutes before being killed, from winding up in shelters again and not being saved the second time.

According to one media story, the rescue has a rule about not adopting small dogs to homes with small children. That is not unreasonable, and I am in agreement with that rule.

DeGeneres also mentioned the money she'd spent neutering and training the dog. Yes, that's part of pet ownership, especially dogs, you have to train..and train, and train and train and train. It is a lifetime process, not something that you do for a couple of weeks and then drop. Or give the dog away because YOU'VE failed to learn how to train your dog.

One media story said something about DeGeneres and her partner "following the process". Well, sometimes "the process" doesn't work for certain dogs and you have to know to change tactics and how to change them. If the trainer doesn't know when and how to change tactics, find a new trainer. You don't give up on the dog because YOU have failed.

DeGeneres attempted to use her position as a celebrity to corner the rescue into giving the dog back to a family that was unapproved by the rescue. That is shameful, manipulative behaviour. If I were running the rescue, my back would be right up and there is no way in h*ll I'd give the dog back.

Ellen DeGeneres, Iggy is not a sweater to be given away if it doesn't fit, dog training is a lifetime process, and an adoption contract is exactly that - a contract. IMHO you are totally in the wrong, you owe the rescue a BIG public apology, and a large monetary donation wouldn't hurt.

Repairing your image - well, as far as I'm concerned that's going to take a whole lot more.


DogOfFlanders said...

Sorry, I disagree.

Some of these 'rescue' groups are ridiculous - there's nobody who qualifies for one of their dogs, so the dogs end up sitting in cages in somebody's basement.

I'm not in favour of sweeping rules about who can and cannot adopt a dog in need of a home. Some kids are idiots with dogs, others are great. That goes for everybody.

Trouble is, some of these snooty little holier-than-thou 'rescue' groups (who are not representative of all groups)just drive people to backyard breeders, established SPCA facilities and worst of all, pet shops - because people want dogs.

I do agree, however, that she made a bit of an ass of herself by blubbering on TV. Why didn't she just return the dog and help her friends find one that was suitable and available without the hassle of dealing with Mutts and Moms (funny name for people who don't adopt dogs to kids).

Of course, it is California, the land of fruits and nuts.

Anonymous said...

Funny enough, I've said almost the same things, verbatim, and been all but set upon by firing squads.

What I've discovered is, the ethics of animal ownership and responsible dog re-homing is familiar only to the same small segment of society that does the thankless job of rescuing and responsibly re-homing abandoned and abused dogs. Happily, I'm ensconced by this segment of the population. Unfortunately, it sometimes leads me to believe there is more awareness of the ethics of animal ownership and responsible dog ownership than there really is.

As you said, every reputable rescue group, shelter, or breeder has the exact same "no transfer" clause. Every one. Every one requires an adopter or buyer to return the dog to that person or agency, if he/she chooses to give up the dog at any point in the future. ...Emphasis on the word "requires". This isn't a request. It's a mandate, put in writing, in a legally-binding contract.

So, when people act as though this is the first they've ever heard of this kind of thing, it only emphasizes how many people acquire their dogs from unethical and disreputable sources. (Only about 15% of dogs are acquired through animal shelters.) After all, anyone who will give you a dog without first checking your references; having you complete some kind of questionnaire concerning past, present, and future dog ownership; and doing a home check to verify it all, then that is an unethical or disreputable source. He/she doesn't care enough about the future of that dog, to do those few, simple things that will, at the very least, confirm you are who you say you are, much less require any kind of responsibility, on your part.

The process clearly isn't perfect, but the fact that millions of dogs end up in shelters each year only emphasizes not just the need for rescue groups and shelters, but for the precise kinds of "no transfer" clauses that, in their absence, allow the cycle of abandonment and careless re-homing to continue.