While I applaud your vision of placing unwanted dogs into good homes, I most seriously question not only your judgment, but also where your true commitment lies.
When Ms. DeGeneres adopted Iggy, she did indeed sign an agreement to return the animal should she at some point in time no longer be able to keep him. It is understandable in this day and age that while consumers are strongly and repeatedly urged to carefully read everything before they sign, they do not . . .or they simply forget all of the fine print which they have agreed to, especially when a plethora of forms and contracts are being thrust at them regularly.
Due to conflicts between Iggy and her current animals, Ms. DeGeneres found a loving home for Iggy. I am sure she did not realize at the time she was in violation of her agreement with you, and felt she was acting in the best interest of Iggy; which was, in the spirit and nature of the agreement she signed with you, what she had agreed to do.
When you called about Iggy, she honestly told you the responsible action she had taken to provide a good and loving home for the animal. At this point you had several options. You chose the most inhumane and bureaucratically flawed one.
You could have explained to her the situation, and reminded her of the agreement. You could have asked, if the new family agreed to it, to screen them as you do all prospective adoptive families, while Iggy remained with them. As a consequence for her failure to follow the agreement she signed with you, you could have asked her to pay for all associated costs of the additional paperwork, time, and adoption fees/screening involved with approving the new family. They were innocent in all this and took the animal at no cost to themselves: why should they be hit with the expense? Plus, facing that or the alternative, I am quite sure Ms. Degeneres would have happily paid the costs.
In addition, not only would Iggy be with the family he was happy with; not only would 'justice' have been satisfied by Ms. DeGeneres paying the costs; but the family you have now placed Iggy with would have been free to adopt another animal. The result would be TWO animals having good homes, not just one.
You would have also gathered all the necessary paperwork to satisfy your rules about screening families for the animals. This would protect you from any false claims of favoritism for celebrities, breaking your own rules, etc. It would have shown you as humane and more concerned with the welfare of the animal than technicalities.
What you have done instead is shot yourself in your own foot. So caught up in your own bureaucratic red tape have you become, that you have totally lost sight of your original vision of placing ALL these dogs in your care with good families. Isn't that the spirit of your rules and fine print: to ensure the animals good homes?
You have added to Iggy's stress which is NOT what an 'animal protection' agency is supposed to do. You have cost an animal in need of a home, a slot in a good home by filling the one Iggy is in with Iggy, instead of another animal. You have broken the hearts of a great family who were providing a great home for Iggy, and you have elicited much negative press for yourselves. The new family which has Iggy now also has stress and potential heartbreak looming as well.
It would have been so simple to act in the best interest of the animal and create a win-win situation for everyone, which is what my above suggestion was. You would have been completely following the spirit of your own guidelines. Everyone would have walked away happy and satisfied; and I am sure that approach would have elicited some great word of mouth publicity for you, at the very least.
Instead, your ignorance and bureaucracy have shamed you and all you supposedly stand for.
Now, by virtue of all of this, you have most likely cost yourselves some future support, and cost the animals in your care some future good homes. You had the chance and the choice to do right by everyone involved. You chose not to.
Shame, shame, shame on you.
Daniella Nicole: animal lover and disgusted bystander.
**NOTE: I have every intention of getting this letter delivered to Mutts and Moms by whatever means I am able to. Their website and email has been temporarily shut-down due to the overwhelming outpouring of communication this issue has generated.
However, I was able to refer this letter to Ms DeGeneres via her show website contact form.
"Ellen's Plea for Iggy" The Baltimore Sun
Statement from Petfinder.Com regarding Mutts and Moms contact website/email.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (updates)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show Video Clip with Her Tearful Plea:
Video from Youtube user Kristinaxo
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