The Los Angeles Times published an unprofessional, unfair and unresearched article about Karma Rescue and a dog adoption that went off with a sad - or maybe not so sad - glitch: a dog who wound up in a new home instead of with his original family. And though the LA Times can sell papers by hollering about how Karma should just return the dog, it’s much more complicated than that.
A young single mother in LA living with her mother and her four-year-old son lost their dog. The dog wound up in a Los Angeles shelter without being claimed. No chip, no calls, no one looking for the dog. Karma Rescue does what a rescue does. When her mandatory hold time was up, they sprung the girl from jail. She was quickly adopted. Right after the adoption had taken place, the original owner got around to finding her dog. She wanted her back. And of course so did her little boy.
The new owners - and there is no debate within the law that they are the new owners - were asked by Karma if they would like to return the dog and they declined. With the adoption completed, Karma has none of the authority the Times’ article suggests they had to simply undo the adoption.
In the long tradition of rags everywhere, the LA Times played the story as good versus evil. They made Karma out to be the fiends. It is journalistic malpractice. The story is here. They barely touch on the failures of responsibility of the woman who lost the dog.
No spay. No chip. When lost, not much effort to locate the dog. Because, sorry, but the dog was in a shelter through her entire hold time of five days. And not just that, but then moved to the No Kill shelter and adopted. You can see the true chronology in Karma's timeline.
In the Times article, Karma is made out to be an elitist organization that made a value judgement about the young owner and simply decided not to honor her wishes to get the dog back because she's poor. The journalist skates right up to the edge of calling Karma mercenary for charging a $300 “adoption contribution.”
She should be fired and the editors, who seem to be doing their job from a call center somewhere, should be reprimanded.
There is no proper research done into what actually happened, which is that by the time the previous owner got around to locating her dog, who could just have well already been killed if the shelter needed the space, the dog was legally owned by someone else. There was nothing Karma could do. They had done their job.
Nowhere does the LA Times article credit Karma for doing that job so well.
Karma Rescue specializes in pit bulls. This dog happened to be a Rhody mix of some kind. Karma has saved and rehomed 2200 dogs. It is safe to say that nearly all of them would have been killed in LA shelters if it were not for Karma’s intervention.
I wrote recently about Sammy the pit bull who was my first foster. At least $3000 was spent on him, probably more. He was in boarding for a long time, then he had to go to Brandon Fouché’s training center.
The point being that an adoption fee is not only the right thing, it is not a way that rescues make money, which is the clear implication in the LA Times article. It is a way for people who adopt to help absorb rescue costs.
And something the Times left out is that Karma waives the adoption fee when someone can’t afford it. A word on that: if someone can’t afford the adoption fee, what they will do when the dog needs to go to the vet is a mystery. Still, Karma waives it if someone can’t afford it and they believe the home is otherwise right for the dog. Gee, I wonder why the LA Times left that out in their attack piece?
Karma also offers free microchipping and spaying to anyone who asks for it.
The article is sickening. Yes, it’s sad that a little kid lost his dog. He’s four and he’ll get it over it, though. Their attempt to destroy one of the best rescues in Los Angeles just to sell more wrapping paper to fish markets may have more damaging implications. Undeservedly so.
That the dog got over getting lost, being in the streets, serving her time in jail, being moved to a no-kill shelter, spayed and adopted, seems more important to me.
Lessons learned, hopefully? Microchip. Spay. Neuter. Secure. Complete failure to do all of those things might conceivably be why the new adoptive family won’t return the dog.
Check the article out and then read Karma’s timeline of events. I’m so sorry to see this great rescue targeted by a journalist who describes herself as a dog-rescuer.
In light of the rest of her article, there’s no reason to believe anything she says.
UPDATE: The story as told by the LA Times has gone viral. Gawker - the ultimate paragon of online garbage, gives an idea of which way the coverage is blowing with the headline, "Rescue Shelter Sells Dog to Another "Better" Family." Disgusting. If anyone can take a minute to respond to the tweets or any articles, it might help. What is happening is unfair and based on misinformation. The story lent itself to the easy good vs. bad meme, so the misinformation played better as outright lies.