The following was originally posted on Sunday, June 28, 2015 12:00 am at

This is reposted with permission:

By Charlene Marchand
For Columbia-Greene Media

Ron and I had more responses to our articles on irreputable rescues and shelters and the excessive transportation of dogs across state lines, than we had anticipated.

Many posts from all over the United States reiterated frustration with local shelters “importing desirable dogs,” while their local surrenders and strays languished in kennels. Many related unfortunate stories of innocent families rescuing “out-of-state-in-jeopardy” canines that walked into their new homes aggressive and unmanageable. The comments were universally supportive of our alert and intent to inform the dog-adopting public about what really is going on!

While many local animal shelters and rescues face adoption-placement challenges (with dogs that they are mandated to serve) with the current plethora of out-of-state adoptions significantly impacting their adoption success, a clear and present danger is being realized outside ours and other county corridors. As if we didn’t have sufficient legitimately homeless domestic canines, we see a steady increase in dogs from Mexico, eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, numerous countries in South America, etc. The “importation” list is never-ending. Well-intentioned rescue groups, and now the emergence of smuggling foreign cross-bred puppies into the U.S. of A. propose alarming levels of concern in regard to appropriate vaccination and health risks involved.

“Hundreds of small-bred puppies are being smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border,” according to a report from the Border Puppy Task Force. “These puppies are flown into LAX with fake paperwork,” sob stories and more.

Where there’s money to be made, there is no shame. While we hear cries about canine overpopulation, scammers are wreaking havoc on our legitimate groups of dogs in need of placement. Think about the Chicago area influenza outbreak, sickening over 1,000 dogs and responsible for many deaths. This virus was brought in by rescue of dogs from Sochi, Russia — with a strain never before present on domestic soil. Three dozen Golden-type dogs were flown into Atlanta from the streets of Istanbul. I wonder if the rescue arm of the Golden Retriever Club of America took umbrage with this misguided use of placement resources?

We heard a number of stories involving shipment of Korean dogs to the U.S. West Coast, coming into some shelters and rescues. Reports are consistent that though the dogs were adopted out very quickly, the “return rate” was equally aggressive. Semi-feral dogs can be very dangerous and so often the unsound temperament issues challenge the most exceptional of training protocols and intervention. A number of volunteers questioned socialization resources that could have been redirected to safer, more adoptable dogs.

The dog-bite rate coming into my training facility from many out-of-state placements is most disturbing. These dogs walked into their new homes unsound and unstable. It had nothing to do with their transporting. It’s heartbreaking for families opening up their hearts and love to be faced with the stress of a return or the decision to euthanize.

It pains me to think about these families struggling with “canines of tragedy” that ended up sending innocent owners, primarily their children, to hospital ERs with bite wounds. Where was the paperwork on these dogs, I ask? Where is the temperament evaluation? These dogs did not bite because they were “stressed by the trip.” There was either no assessment or an incorrect assessment on temperament and placeability. Outrageous!

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors. Contact her at