This package was
written about 19 years ago as an aid to Akita owners who were
interested in beginning their own ARSA Chapter. Because of this
package, we had successfully instituted nine ARSA Chapters in the
United States. As ARSA became more visible, requests for this
informative package arrived from various breed clubs nationwide and
this package became the foundation for many other breed rescues
including the Alaskan Malamutes. I have tried to keep the
information updated. A few paragraphs in the package are directed
solely to potential Akita rescues. You may see references to the
word "Chapter," however; we are no longer working on a national
level. In 1995, each group working under the ARSA banner was
honorably released to continue their rescue activities individually.
The Akita Club of America was encouraged to take on the
responsibility of rescuing its breed on a national level.
ARSA has been
doing this work for more than 25 years and we have had more than
1,500 Akitas through our Rescue in Southern California. Add to that the growing numbers coming into our various Chapters and
you can see a staggering number of Japanese Treasures being
discarded as American garbage! If it can happen to a breed that has
had AKC recognition since 1973, you can bet it will happen to your
breed! Akitas are killed in shelters all over the country and sold
at auctions in the mid-west. They are popular in puppy mills and
given away free at swap meets and supermarkets. Genetic diseases and
temperament problems increase annually because of unethical breeders
and failures by the parent club and the AKC.
I am not
convinced purebred rescues are the answer to the overall purebred
overpopulation problem but saving a few through the act of rescue is
all we have available at this time. Public education takes time to
sink in and spread. It works but only with people who already care
about the plight of animals. I am very much afraid that anti-dog
legislation will continue to be one of the potential choices because
the AKC and its breeders are not facing reality by admitting there
is indeed a problem, one the taxpayers are forced to fund. The
average cost to pick up a medium-sized dog, house it for 72 hours,
kill it and pay for disposal at a rendering plant is $54-$65 each.
When you multiply this cost by the number of dogs killed in your
local shelter, you are funding the hobby breeder with a good chunk
of YOUR tax dollar that could be used to educate your children,
crime prevention, and other activities beneficial to the entire
After you and
your group have had an opportunity to study and discuss the
"Starting Your Own Rescue" package, let me know if you can come up
with any improvements to add on which would assist others in the
a short visit to a few nearby animal shelters and/or humane
societies can easily determine the need for a rescue operation in
your area. Ask them how many dogs of your breed have come into those
shelters during a one-year period and what happened to them. Large
breeds are not as easy to place as smaller dogs and you may be
shocked to learn that your breed was destroyed. More than 25% of all
dogs coming into animal shelters in the
are in fact purebred! Each year across this country, animal shelters
and humane societies kill more than 18 million unwanted animals...a
large number of those are purebred and some of them are your breed.
Breeds like Akitas, Rottweilers, Amstafs, etc., are frequently not
even put up for adoption. They are considered "aggressive" and
destroyed if not reclaimed.
Shelters that get
your breed and do place them are not selective in finding homes and
do not screen potential owners. Most municipal animal shelters and
some humane societies simply do not have the time to conduct lengthy
interviews before selling dogs. Anyone from the public is allowed to
purchase dogs--anyone 18 years or older with a valid driver's
license is allowed to purchase from an animal shelter! Personnel in
these facilities cannot possibly have expertise in every one of the
150-odd AKC breeds. Because you know your breed well, you are better
qualified to screen and advise potential owners about the inherent
problems or traits in your own breed. Some of the more aggressive
breeds like the Akita end up being sold to guard-dog trainers,
dog-fighting crazies, etc. There is a real need for a safe refuge
for homeless purebreds and you, as caring, knowledgeable fanciers
can do a great deal to insure the future well being of your own
During the 22
years that ARSA/Southern California has been actively rescuing
Akitas from shelters, a number of lost Akitas have been reunited
with their owners. If not for the existence of ARSA, these dogs
would have died before their owners had the opportunity to find
them. Because of our reputation as a responsible rescue, nearly
every shelter within a 500-mile radius contacts us and we act as a
clearinghouse for lost/found Akitas. You would be amazed how far
away from home some of these dogs were found!
Now that we've
given you a few reasons for starting your own Rescue, here's how to
The Rescue can be done in conjunction with your local breed club if
the membership is willing or it can be an independent effort. If
your club is not interested, then you must first talk with other
owners of your breed to determine how many volunteers you can
interest in a Rescue operation. Assign responsibilities fairly
between volunteers. In addition to picking up dogs from shelters,
caring for them and placement work, you will have to conduct
fund-raising activities and solicit donations.
One of the first
things you should consider is incorporating as a non-profit
organization in your state. Your Secretary of State can send you the
forms and information to help you get this tax-exempt status. You
donít need to hire an attorney to help you wade through
paperwork--two good minds can easily fill out the forms and any
questions you have can be directed back to the state offices.
If the Rescue is
to be a club effort, forming a committee to run the Rescue is your
first order of business. The club can conduct matches and raffles to
support the Rescue; you may request a small percentage of puppy
sales go to support the Rescue (10% is not too much to ask), or any
other fund-raising ideas the committee comes up with. Most clubs
have already incorporated as non-profit groups and this tax-exempt
status can usually be used by your Rescue.
Before you take on the responsibility of even one homeless dog, you
should determine where you can keep the animal. If an
breeder or owner has extra kennel space and is willing act as a
foster home, the dog can be placed with that person. Another
alternative is to board the dogs in a commercial kennel. Scout the
commercial kennels in your area. Be sure the one you select is clean
and the animals are well cared for. Check the kennels'
condition--are dangerous wires protruding into the kennel? Are the
kennels escape proof? Do they provide adequate shelter? Would you
feel comfortable leaving your own Champion or beloved pet in the
care of that kennel? Explain to the kennel owner you are a
non-profit Rescue organization working with limited funds and ask
for a price reduction for your homeless dogs. The kennel owner can
write-off as a donation any fee reduction given to your group.
If you are
boarding the dogs in a commercial kennel, the only responsibility
you can expect the kennel to assume for those animals is to feed
them, keep the kennels clean and observe them for any veterinary
emergency. You and your volunteers are responsible for grooming,
trips to the vet for shots and/or spay/neuters, showing the dogs to
prospective adopters, etc. To properly evaluate the temperament of
each dog, you will need to spend time with the animal, taking him
for walks, playing with him, getting to know him. This one-on-one is
vitally important in helping you place the dog in the right home.
You cannot simply take a dog from a shelter, drop it off to board
and then forget about it until a home comes along. Rescue work is
time-consuming but infinitely fulfilling. It makes you feel as if
you are doing something very unselfish for a breed that has given
you so much over the years.
With your volunteers ready, the kennel waiting, you can now contact
the animal shelters and humane societies. First decide how large an
area your group can cover. If each volunteer covers a separate area,
you can cover more shelters. When you have decided on the shelters
to cover your first priority should be the animal shelters that sell
animals for medical research. Dogs sold for medical research are
forced to undergo incredible pain and suffering. Any compassionate
person would prefer to see the dog humanely euthanized by injection
instead of ending up as a victim of medical research. Do not feel
safe because you have one of the small breeds--all breeds are used
for various procedures. Large and medium breeds are used for
surgical procedures both individual and multiple; they are used for
burn, brain, wound, electrical shock experiments and countless
Once your area is
pinpointed, contact the shelters within the area. Leave the names
and phone numbers of your volunteers and a good photo of your breed
with each shelter. You'd be amazed how many shelter personnel are
unfamiliar with purebred dogs. I worked as a volunteer in an animal
shelter for many months and the breed labels attached to dogs
terrified me! Shelters mark nearly everything as either a
poodle-mix, terrier-cross, shepherd cross, dobie-mix or a "husky."
One animal control officer brought in a purebred 70-pound
curly-coated retriever and listed the dog as a cocker spaniel! In as
nice a way as possible, try to educate shelter personnel about the
look of your breed. Offer to come back at any time to check on a dog
if they are uncertain about its lineage.
After you've made
initial contacts with shelters, continue to call or drop by
frequently. Haunt the shelter until they automatically think of you
when they see a dog that even resembles your breed. Try to build
relationships with personnel at shelters. Believe me, they have a
very difficult job because more than 6 million abandoned animals are
killed in these facilities nationwide, each year!
When your Rescue
is operating and has become known, you will be asked to take dogs
from their owners. If you refuse to accept these owner turn-ins, the
dogs will only be left at the shelter or in the street or given away
without much thought or investigation. Licensed USDA Dealers have
been working the Free to a good home ads in Los Angeles Newspapers
for many years. They pretend they are taking a dog to give it a good
home and then the animal is sold for medical research. There are no
laws in this country protecting the dog or naive owner against
misrepresentation of this type.
for accepting owner-turn-ins is that some owners will fabricate a
story in order to get rid of an incorrigible pet or a dog with
unstable temperament. The animal could easily end up in another home
with someone who is unprepared and/or unable to deal with it. Let
this happen to your breed a few times and the reputation of your
breed will be permanently tarnished. Visit the dog in its home
environment and assess temperament, behavior patterns, etc. If you
simply have no room for another dog, then give the owner as much
advice on placement as you can. Perhaps the owner would even be
willing to hold on to the dog until you have an opening.
owner turn-ins, it is a good idea to have the owner sign a release
form; a sample is included herein. You can charge the owner two
weeks board before accepting the dog. This amount usually is
acceptable to the owner and helps defray your costs. Ask for and
take the papers on the turn-in, including shot records.
Animals are also
abandoned at veterinary offices and boarding kennels. Make some
attempt to extend your reputation to these facilities. Send out an
introductory letter and/or attempt to get publicity through
newspaper interviews, etc. Not only will you be there for your breed
should one be abandoned in these situations but vets and boarding
kennels can be very helpful in placements.
See if your own vet or a local vet will work with your group. Be
sure the vet has facilities to keep a large dog comfortably for a
period of time if your breed is one of the larger breeds. Many dogs
come from animal shelters suffering from kennel cough and
commercial-boarding facilities will not accept them in that
condition. You may need to leave a dog at your vet for a week or so
until the dog recovers.
To help cut
veterinary costs, you might consider stocking antibiotics to treat
simple infections and worming preparations for tapes, rounds, etc.
In areas affected by heartworm, you will have to decide if your
group can afford the treatment and you will most certainly want to
test each dog before putting any more funds into a possibly infected
rescue will spay or neuter every dog BEFORE placement without
exception. If you cannot afford to do this, you should re-think your
actions in beginning a rescue. You cannot trust a stranger to spay
or neuter a dog and every one of your adopting families are almost
always strangers to you. To allow a rescued dog to be bred, even
accidentally is a complete violation of the idea of rescue. You are
adding to your own work in the future by putting out even more pet
dogs. SPAY AND NEUTER!
When you get
puppies too young to be spayed/neutered, your investigation of the
adopting family must be extra thorough. Puppies should be placed by
referral, never through an ad, and certainly NEVER to a family who
is renting because the possibility of relocating before the puppy is
old enough for sterilization is too real. A family living in their
own home is more likely to continue living there more than a family
who is not tied to a mortgage or facing an escrow. All rescues get
purebred puppies from animal shelters and you will get your share of
pups as well, so be prepared to find exceptional homes for these.
occasions when a dog must be euthanized by a vet. Hopelessly
aggressive dogs are not good prospects for placement and terminally
ill dogs should be humanely euthanized. If there is a caring,
compassionate volunteer with the dog when it is euthanized, it makes
it much easier and less frightening for the animal.
When a dog first
comes into your care, allow at least two weeks in the new
environment before scheduling the dog for surgery (spay/neuter). The
shock of losing a home, being bounced from a shelter to a new
situation and immediately subjected to surgery, can cause critical
health problems for any dog. Give the animal a chance to acclimate
after rescue before surgery.
where you live, you may be faced with heartworm. If you are in a
heart worm area, you must test each rescued dog and then determine
whether or not the dog will undergo treatment. Because this is a
serious problem in many areas of the country, a clause should be
included in your adoption contract to the effect that adopter must
maintain rescue dog on heartworm preventative, etc.
finding the proper home for your rescued dogs should be formulated
well in advance. Sit down with pen and paper and write down
everything you consider a perfect home for your breed, i.e.
children: yes? No? other pets: yes? No? retired people: yes? No?
Etc. You know your breed and obviously, if you're beginning a
rescue, you care deeply for your breed. With a little effort you can
formulate the "perfect" home, then attempt to get as close to
perfection as possible in placements. You should make up a check
sheet and as you meet the people, check out their home and then
carefully watch the interaction between dog and family, see how they
compare as a good home for your breed. It all comes down to common
sense. Your Rescue dog has already suffered abandonment, rejection
and betrayal--you don't want the animal to suffer ever again, so
finding a PERMANENT home for the dog is important and a little
effort is worth the security you're guaranteeing the dog.
Before you place
a Rescue dog in a home, make up a sound contract for the new owner
to sign. A sample contract is included in this package. Some points
to remember in your screening process are: a conflict with any
resident animals in the home? Does the person have experience with a
dog the size of your breed? Will the dog accept children if children
are in the home? Since most of your dogs will be from shelters, you
will not have any background information on them and some dogs who
have experienced childrenís teasing in the past may not accept
children. A good general rule to use for large breeds is: no dog
over the age of one year will be placed with children under the age
of 12. Get a veterinary reference and call to ask how well the
family cared for their previous pets and from what exactly did their
pets die. Check on fencing, adequate protection from weather, can
the family spend enough time with the new pet, etc. Use your common
The dog should be
allowed at least a 4-week trial period in the new home. During this
trial period, stay in touch with the family to be sure the placement
is working out. If not, make certain the dog is returned to your
your local newspapers and word of mouth are the best ways to locate
new owners. You can alternate the advertising chore with other
You should charge
an adoption fee for each dog. It is our belief that anything given
away free is eventually discarded! Charge slightly less than the
cost of an average pet quality dog of your breed, i.e., if a pet
quality dog costs $200, charge at least $150 for your rescue dog.
Adoption fees on much older, harder to place dogs can be reduced or
waived. ARSAís policy has been to accept a donation on all dogs over
the age of 5 years. Akitas 5 years and older are not as easy to
place. Generally, people who come to a Rescue are fairly generous
and willing to make a donation. These adoption fees will help
sustain your work.
Before a dog
leaves your Rescue, you should attach a collar and a Rescue I.D.
tag. Even if you tattoo the dogs, a visible I.D. is very important.
Contact an existing Rescue or an animal shelter in your area to
determine the best place for ordering I.D. tags at a good price.
Include more than one phone number on the tag. Dogs can get out on
occasion and these tags have saved many Akitas during our years of
using them. If Microchips are financially feasible for your group
and if your shelters scan for the chip, definitely take advantage of
this new technology.
See adoption procedures for more
LOST AND FOUND:
Since many lost dogs find their way to an animal shelter, keeping an
accurate list of lost dogs and owner phone numbers will aid you in
reuniting dog and owner. Though dogs come in every color, it is
often impossible to reconcile a dog with an owner's description. If
you can get a photo of the missing dog for your file, it will make
your Lost/Found work more effective. We had one owner call on a lost
Akita, describing the dog as a fawn with a dark mask. A few months
later, a lovely tri-color Akita with a large white blaze down his
face was rescued from a shelter 60 miles away. Photos of this dog
were used in one of our placement ads and the owner of the "fawn
with a dark mask" Akita recognized her dog! Each person describes a
Advise owners of
lost dogs how to go about finding their animals. Tell them to haunt
the shelters in person and not to expect overworked shelter
personnel to recognize their dog. Few shelters will examine a dog
for a broken rear tooth or a small scar on the upper inside leg!
Have them place lost ads in all local newspapers within 150-mile
radius--dogs can be picked up and dropped off again in another area.
Contact radio stations that offer pet reports; make up flyers with
photos to be posted on telephone poles at shopping malls, schools
and in the immediate neighborhood. Leave a flyer with the local fire
station, police station, Boy Scout group. Advise them to walk or
drive through the area calling the dog. Frequently, when a dog is
lost, the owner is too upset to think clearly and you can be very
One way to cut down on the number of dogs coming into your Rescue is
to educate the potential puppy buyer about the breed, i.e. not good
with children, animal aggressive, dislikes teasing, cute puppies
grow into very large dogs, need lots of exercise, etc. You must be
honest with yourself about the negative traits in your breed.
Periodically place an ad in a well-read newspaper similar to the one
we use: "Akitas are not a breed for everyone. Call for more
information." That ad in the pet column will bring you many phone
calls because people honestly want to select the right breed.
Inquiries for puppies can be referred to reliable, responsible
breeders. If the caller wants a puppy and asks for a reputable
breeder, give them some points on what to require from a breeder,
i.e. OFA numbers, CERF, a contract and with what guarantees, etc.
is always a problem for all humane organizations and raising funds
will often test the dedication of your volunteers! It's easy to work
as a volunteer for a well-funded group, but when you have to work
hard to raise funds, many people balk. Charging adoption fees for
each dog will help a little. Holding matches if you are working in
conjunction with a club will help. ARSA used to have unique
matches--one year we did an Oriental and Rare Breeds Match; another
was an Arctic and Rare Breeds Match. We were able to convince some
of the breeds to hold their Specialties in conjunction with our
matches and we also selected All Breed Obedience because the entries
are greater. We had trophies donated by supporters, judges donated
their time. We took advantage of the abundant cadre of famous people
in Southern California by asking a celebrity to award trophies at
each of our matches. We had some delightful celebrity dog lovers
join us at these fund raiser. Every one enjoyed working on the
matches and we raised a substantial sum of money.
items at Regional Specialties, sell food at your breed matches;
raffle off donated items. You can hold periodic tattoo clinics if
you have a trained person to handle the equipment. If your breed is
known for genetic problems like PRA, VWD, CHD, thyroid, etc., hold
screening clinics with the cooperation of a veterinary specialist.
Veterinary specialists are always willing to increase their
knowledge base and would probably work with you. You can tack on a
handling fee for your Rescue. If one of you is a dog trainer, hold
training classes with all proceeds to your Rescue. Member Breeders
can be asked to donate a small percentage of their puppy sales
towards the Rescue and soliciting donations from anyone capable of
writing a check is fair in Rescue work!
Finding foster homes is very difficult, but if you are having some
luck in that area, keep the following points in mind:
thoroughly check the foster home to be sure there is adequate room,
fencing/kenneling and that animals are well treated. Is there
protection from weather? What type of food is fed to the animal?
Will exercise be provided? Would you feel confident leaving your own
animal in this person's care? If the foster home is someone you do
not know well, DO check references, both personal and veterinary.
Yes, they are doing you a service but that is no excuse to place a
dog into a home where it will be ignored, neglected or treated
Before placing a
dog in the foster home, have an understanding with the foster family
about time limits, expenses, showing the animal, etc. In other
words, will you be forced to relocate the dog after 30 days or can
the animal remain until placement however long that may take? If you
must pay for food, then how much is fair? Who assumes the
transportation to and cost of any veterinary care? Will the family
cooperate in allowing the dog to be shown to a prospective adopter?
An ideal Foster home is one where the family works on their own
initiative to assist in placement. Does the family have any
restrictions of type of dog they will accept? Will the foster family
turn around and sue your Rescue if the dog damages their property or
bites a family member. You might consider having a waiver drawn up
and signed by the foster family. Work out the details BEFORE the
animal arrives. Here are some guidelines:
FOSTER HOME REQUIREMENTS
When you pick up
a rescue dog, expect it to have diarrhea and kennel cough. It
may have parasites as well.
Take a stool specimen to the vet immediately. If it is negative,
examination in 4-5 days.
Keep rescue dogs isolated from other dogs for at least 10 days. It
is safe to assume the dog has worms and kennel cough.
Take common sense precautions to avoid contamination of healthy
animals. These include disinfecting food bowls.
Until the dog has been wormed, pick up all stools as soon as
Wash your hands thoroughly after you handle the rescue dog and
before you touch anything else.
When the dog leaves you, dispose of all blankets and papers. Scrub
sleeping area with disinfectant (this Includes crates), air is
possible in bright sunshine.
Scrub or spray kennel area with disinfectant and air thoroughly.
It is important to the dogís welfare and his placement in a good
home, that you be a careful and accurate observer. You must spot
health and temperament problems as quickly as possible.
Please watch for
the following symptoms that may require veterinary attention:
Watch for dark, liquid or cow-pie type stools.
Urine - dark yellow, brown, or bloody, straining
to urinate, persistent
Excessive water drinking after the initial settle
Any discharge from eyes, ears, nose, penis or
Persistent temperature over 102 degrees
Ear odor after ears have been cleaned
Coughing, especially if it is productive of mucus
Audible breathing or hard breathing especially
with a bubbling sound.
Sores or weeping areas on skin, any bumps or lumps
on or under
Check for fleas, ticks or lice. If they are
present use a medicated
powder or shampoo as directed.
temporary diarrhea, feed smaller amounts more frequently. Switch to
a diet less rich in excessive protein and fats. A typical diet may
consist of well cooked rice with a few ounces of lean cooked
hamburger, a baked potato. Kaopectate may be used for a day or two
to help sooth the intestines. Two tablespoons 3 times daily.
Diarrhea that persists more than 2 or 3 days should be treated
Provide a warm,
clean bed where the dogs will not be disturbed. Most dogs are near
exhaustion with very little reserve energy. Let the dog sleep
as long as it wishes.
Do not allow it to play with other dogs until its energy level and
strength are adequate (at least 10-14 days for the dogs in better
condition, more for dogs in poor condition).
If possible, take
before and after photos. Weigh dog when you get it and at 10 day
Give the dog a
name if it does not have one.
As the dog gains
strength, keep careful watch for fence jumpers or diggers.
Most rescue dogs
are as starved for affection as for food. Observe any
little characteristics that might help in placement. Without taxing
the dogís strength, check to see if it has been obedience trained,
knows about toys, or can chase and retrieve sticks.
Very sick bitches
do not come in season, but as they recover, watch for signs of
a heat cycle.
Rescue dogs are
usually dehydrated as well as having malnutrition. They
will often drink unbelievable quantities of water. Have water
available at all times. For the first few days, their kidneys and
bladder may not be able to hold the load and dogs who are ordinarily
housebroken will have accidents that they cannot help. After 4-7
days, water intake and urination will return to normal.
amounts of food at frequent intervals. Some dogs can take only
a tablespoon of food at a time. Others can handle up to a cup or
two. Avoid overloading the dog with large meals or free feeding. All
you will get is loose stools and for the half-recovered dog, bloat
is a real problem.
Some dogs are so
starved that they have no appetite. Tempt them
with any kind of broth, pieces of liver or meat, anything that will
them eating. You may have to open their mouth and pour in a
tablespoon of broth to start the swallowing reflex.
Do not feed a
high protein diet if the dog is in very poor condition. it
puts an added burden on the kidneys and irritates the intestines.
Use a normal, good dry dog food with no additives except warm water.
Do not give dogs
rawhide chewies or bones. Many are so ravenous they will
swallow them whole, creating choking or digestive problems.
These goodies also take up time and energy better spent on more
nutritious food. Hard dog biscuits are a good substitute.
frequently have a strong body odor. A vigorous brushing,
cleaning ears and cleaning anal glands will help until it Is safe to
Bathe the dog
only after the third day and then only If the dog seems
well, has no cough or runny nose, and has a normal temperature.
Clean anal glands
during the bath if you havenít already.
Be sure the dog does not get chilled before, during, or after the
bath. They are very susceptible to upper respiratory infection.
After a bath,
clip nails, being sure not to go back too far. Few dogs
will accept grinding.
brush teeth, using baking soda and a soft brush or terry
cloth. Pay particular attention to the gum line. Expect a small
amount of bleeding. Look for decay, gum disease, broken or
frequently and vigorously. Expect a considerable loss
of hair. The coat will frequently have lots of dandruff, but do not
supplement with oil until the dog is digesting food well and is
on a normal diet.
dog suffers from malnutrition or starvation, DO NOT OVERFEED.
SMALL MEALS AT FREQUENT INTERVALS WILL AVOID SERIOUS
Foster Home Release Form
agree to assume all responsibility for the action of any animal that
they foster for (___________________________will/will not provide
all food, cost of medical care and crates, if necessary, for such
agree not to sell or to place one of their own dogs with an adoptive
family for a period of one year.
During our many
years of rescuing and placing Akitas, a known aggressive breed, we
have never been sued by anyone for any reason. We do have a moderate
disclaimer in our contract but if you are overly concerned with
liability, and some people in this crazy age do feel concern, simply
ask an attorney to assist you in writing up a stronger waiver of
liability and have any adopting family sign the form. Few
people, even those who are litigious will bother to sue an
impoverished non-profitgroup of humane workers. Proper
screening, carefully matching dogs with families, and honest
education of potential adopters will assure a safe home for the dog
and ease your fears of liability.
...Be very honest
about the negative traits in this breed. In order to make it well
understood to the adopting family, be more negative than positive if
necessary. You are bound by moral obligation to the breed to avoid
placing Akitas in homes where they will not be properly cared for
and you are just as obligated to protect the public from problems
with the breed. If you fail to properly educate the adopting family
you are failing in your obligations.
...If you have
important information on a dog in your possession, i.e., the dog is
a fence jumper, does not like children, and has killed cats, etc.,
that information MUST be given to the adopting family before they
make a decision. If you withhold information of this type and the
dog attacks a child or another animal, you are legally responsible
for the actions of the dog because you withheld important
information that may have prevented the incident from occurring.
...Do not place
Akitas one year of age and older in homes with children under the
age of 12 years, unless you have determined (by careful testing)
that the dog loves all children and will not endanger any child.
This rule should apply especially to male Akitas between the ages of
one to three years.
...Do not place
any Akita until you have allowed the dog to remain either in a
kennel or foster home long enough to properly and carefully evaluate
the dog's temperament.
careful before placing an Akita in a home with another animal in
residence. If the family owns a cat, be certain the Akita they want
will accept the cat. Use similar good sense if the resident pet is a
dog, bird, farm animal, etc. You do not want to be responsible for
the death of an innocent animal due to a bad placement.
...If an Akita
has bitten a human being in an unprovoked attack, depending upon
the circumstances, the dog may be considered implacable. Akitas who
have bitten a human in defense of their home or their owners, must
be viewed differently but should still be carefully evaluated. Once
crosses the invisible line to bite, it may not hesitate to do so
...Do not do
temperament evaluations at the home of an Akita. Akitas will react
differently on their own territory and/or in the presence of their
owners. Dogs with questionable temperament cannot be properly
evaluated in a few short hours but must be kept under observation
for at least two weeks, and this should be done in an environment
that is strange to the dog. Make arrangements either with a trusted
vet or a reliable kennel to conduct prolonged temperament
evaluations. The cost of the two-week minimum stay should be the
responsibility of the dog's owner.
often lie about the reasons for giving up their Akita, any male
Akita between the dangerous ages of 9 months to 2 years should not
be taken directly into a kennel or foster home. Make arrangements
with a veterinarian in advance and ask the vet to evaluate the dog's
temperament carefully during a two-week period. You should charge
the boarding bill to the owner of the dog IN ADVANCE. If the owner
will not agree to this, then have the dog turned into a shelter you
trust and allow it to remain there for a few days. Ask the shelter
staff to assist in evaluating the dog.
...If you have
doubts about the temperament of an
at the animal shelter, use utmost caution. You do not want to rescue
a dog that will have to be euthanized almost immediately. Pass on
dogs exhibiting serious aggressive tendencies. If youíre new to the
Akita breed, donít attempt rescue unless you have the support and
guidance of an experienced Akita breeder, someone who is familiar
with the behavior of Akitas. Take them along for shelter
goal is not to rescue regardless of ability but to rescue and
provide excellent boarding, veterinary and psychological care for
Akitas to save them from death may not be offering them a better
deal if they are to be warehoused in kennels for the balance of
their lives. Do not take on more dogs than you can place into good
homes. The goal is not to be a collector but to find good homes for
website youíll find a sheet called
"FACTS ABOUT AKITAS."
Please give this out to anyone interested in adopting an Akita. The
second handout to be given with the
Akita is also included here entitled
"HEALTH/SAFETY AND YOUR AKITA." You should give the adopting
family some information about the
When any medium
or large group of volunteers work together, problems can arise if
you do not first take time to organize each individuals'
responsibilities and set up some workable rules for yourselves. We
suggest the following:
of non-profit status, you will have to decide on an individual as
Director. This is merely a title and not a license to dictate or
control your group. Your volunteers should agree at the outset to
have equal voting privileges on all matters of policies and
in rectifying any problems that may arise among you.
accepting a dog into your group, you should discuss this with any
members who will be affected by the addition of an
especially with your kennel facility or foster home.
...You should all
have an equal right to approve the spending of funds and agree on
any fund-raising projects. No secrets, you are equally responsible
for your rescue and the dogs.
you should periodically alternate responsibilities regarding
interviewing adopters, working with the dogs, transporting dogs,
placing advertisements and screening homes, doing house checks,
fund-raising, sending out information packets, handling lost/found
and public education, etc.
...You should all
have an equal vote on any need for euthanasia and in
determining needed medical care for Akitas.
...You should all
agree on setting up adoption requirements and aims.
...You should all
have an equal right to vote on any new volunteers to be certain
newcomers will fit in well with your present group.
In other words,
democracy is the form of government used in this country and because
it works so well for the
it will work for your rescue.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
When a dog with
ARC papers comes into your Rescue and the papers indicate a breeder,
immediately contact the breeder with the following options: (1) The
breeder may take the Akita back and reimburse you on any shelter
fees or expenses. (2) The breeder may leave the dog with your Rescue
but pay the board and vet expenses. (3) The breeder may partially
fund the dog and assist your group in placement. Few reputable
breeders will turn their backs on the dogs they have bred.
If you do get an
Akita with AKC papers, you must speak to the breeder before you spay
or neuter or place that dog. The breeder has the option of making a
decision on their own dogs. If they refuse responsibility for the
dog, they cannot, of course, have any voice in the care of that dog
and you may then immediately spay/neuter. If the breeder of record
is not interested in taking back their Akita, and if you know the
owner of the sire of that
may notify them that a puppy from their sire is in the Rescue and
allow them to assume responsibility if they wish. This is NOT a
requirement but a courtesy. The owners of sires are technically NOT
responsible for the breeding. Only the owner of the bitch is morally
and technically responsible for the breeding and placements.
In the State of
California, you can lose your non-profit status if you take a found
dog off the street and immediately find a new home for the animal.
That is considered stealing. In general do not take found dogs
unless you purchase them from an animal shelter. If the finder has
had the dog for longer than 30 days and during that period, has
advertised to find the owner for 5 days in a large newspaper and has
listed the dog with two animal shelters, ownership of the dog
reverts to the finder. Please find out what laws govern your city
and state and please make no exceptions in adherence to the laws.
This is always a delicate subject...there are people who are
strongly against euthanasia for most any reason, and some people
believe in euthanizing for the slightest provocation. There are
times when you must euthanize a dog but for the sake of the
animal, this decision MUST be put to a vote of your board or your
group of volunteers. Dogs who show unprovoked aggression towards a
person must be candidates; dogs suffering from a terminal or
long-term painful illness may also be considered. Just because you
do not like the personality, color or look of a dog is not a reason
for euthanizing that animal. This should be a well thought out and
thoroughly discussed decision.
When a decision
to euthanize has been reached, this should be done humanely by your
Rescue vet. You need not be present, but if the dog gains security
from your presence, it would be an unselfish and humane act to
remain with the dog until the end.
ADOPTION FEES: If for any reason the placement is not working out,
the dog should be returned to the Rescue. Refunds can be made but
only after the first month. This fact should be made known to the
adopting family. It makes no sense to allow the dog to remain in an
unsuitable home and if the family has honestly given the dog a fair
time to adapt (a month); it also makes little sense to keep their
money and their dog!
Good luck on your
SOCIETY OF AMERICA
FORMS: Adoption Agreement and Procedures
© 1986 Barbara