Retail rescue organizations like Rescue Road Trips, inc. (the Rescue) who purport to provide “loving, humane road trips to homeless, unwanted, and unloved dogs from Southern Kill Shelters . . . deliver[ed] to Loving ‘Forever Homes’ in New England and surrounding areas,” do nothing to decrease the number of dogs being irresponsibly bred. They actually do the opposite by facilitating the irresponsible, non-purposeful breeding of dogs.
And, while preventing a dog from unnecessary death is laudable, this operation, like other rescues and some shelters that have largely replaced pet stores and professional breeders as the source of pets in the U.S., this Rescue appears to be quite profitable.
As reported on their website, they have saved over 55,000 dogs to date. These are dogs moved from southern states to the northeast, where the supply of dogs for sale/adoption does not meet demand, despite statements by HSUS, ASPCA and others claiming that pet store sourcing bans are needed because of the local overpopulation of dogs purportedly caused by pet store sales.
Notably, the justification of a bill recently passed in New York related to regulation of rescues and shelters described the current state of the supply of pets, noting
The number of animals euthanized in U.S. shelters has seen a precipitous decline in the past four decades, from around 15 million annually in the 1970’s to around 3 million currently . . . there are literally hundreds of unregulated entities importing dogs into New York each year . . . [through] the almost 500 incorporated animal groups currently registered with the Office of the Attorney General’s . . . Charities Bureau . . .
The Rescue, reportedly charging $185 per dog per transport―plus another unreported adoption fee per dog―has earned over $10,000,000 in revenues to date. While there are costs related to transport, the Rescue reports that volunteers pay for the dogs pulled from shelters, and for their medical care, and assists them with canine care along the way, all for no charge to the Rescue.
Think about how that much money could be used to educate dog owners in the south about responsible breeding and provide voluntary spay/neuter programs that have been so effective in many parts of the country, including the northeast.
According to the Rescue’s IRS 990, available on ProPublica’s website, it was formed in 2015, and for that year, revenues totaled $230,000 and the officers reported no working hours or expenses. Does that mean that they have transported 55,000 dogs since 2016?
To its credit, the Rescue’s “Requirements to Board Transport,” are generally consistent with interstate animal health requirements and sound veterinary medicine, but there may be other concerns about their conduct, particularly in the State of Connecticut, to be discussed further.