Beware of Animal Rescue Extremists

An extremist is a supporter or promoter of excessive doctrines or practices perceived outside of the societal norm.

To a certain extent, they may have their place in society. I’m not an advocate of everyone holding the same point of view. Change often happens by way of radical ideas, typically resulting in compromises. This is a good thing.

But extremists take things too far. Exorbitant ideologies spin out of control. Lines are crossed. Lives affected. Feelings hurt.

Enter the animal rescue extremist. If anyone reading is looking for a pet, here’s your warning.

No, they are not Al Queda, Branch Davidian or the Earth Liberation Front. But in my experience with them, they are just as over-the-top, unnecessarily high-and-mighty as anyone I’ve encountered. They take their mission as rescuers of animals way beyond the acceptable realm of being do-gooders, which they are. Instead, they turn to pompous, aggressive tactics, intended to tear others down, those who do not see things as narrow minded as they do.

My girlfriend and I recently got a puppy, and I wrote about it in the post Buying a Pet in Korea. It was long, tiresome, and emotional. But in the end, we couldn’t be more “Happy” with our little guy, which is also his name.

We’ve had our dog over a month now, however the animal rescue extremists we encountered along this journey are still creeping in to our lives, harassing us and making things uncomfortable.

So the story goes, we wanted a Yorkshire Terrier for many reasons. Sealing the deal, it’s the same breed my girlfriend grew up with, she’s familiar with their mannerisms, and there would not be a problem with allergies.

Attempting the most humanitarian option, she searched for an animal rescue dog for well over a year. Finally, she located what she thought was her dog, successfully navigated the lengthy approval process and dropped all previously arranged birthday weekend plans to travel to Daegu, from Seoul, to pick him up. In the end, the dog went to someone else that could get to him faster. Fair enough, but the way this extremist conducted herself during this extensive process, and in the harassment we’ve been subject to since then, is unprofessional and completely unnecessary.

Heart broken about not getting the dog we were led to believe was ours, we sent a few emails to the extremist, asking why things progressed the way they did. Her responses were condescending and accusatory.

“You and your girlfriend over-react and only think about what you want now.”

“They (the other couple) didn’t write me to tell me their disappointment, they didnt write me to say they are going to look silly if I dont give them what they want, and last they didnt try to buy me off

We offered to pay for the dog before making the trip to Daegu. She makes us sound like the mafia.

“We do not do same day adoptions, we feel it is better if an adopter meets our fosters, sleeps on it and then makes a final decision…hopefully this will deter any rash OMG! moments of adoptions and weeds out the non-serious adopters.”

Lies. They did do a same day adoption with the couple that took the dog home.

“You threaten me with the fact that if you don’t get your way then you are going to spread the word around.”

No I didn’t, but since you suggested it…

And last, referring to my girlfriend, “but to a rescuer we see immaturity, and rash decision making that doesn’t fair well for a dog’s future. Usually these types hop onto anything new with exactly the same about of fervency; they might get a job opportunity that says you cant bring your dog along and because they are so blinded by the same over-excitement they demonstrate so much that they get rid of anything or change anything they must.”

Ms. Extremist. Thanks for making such irrational judgments, based on incomplete email correspondence, with someone who is more than elated to give your dog a great home. Your refusal to speak on the phone gave you every bit of ammo you needed to read in to these emails, pick things apart, feed us your lies, and hold your skewed view against us.

Think it ends here. Think again.

Contrary to the intended game plan, we ended up with a pet store puppy. My girlfriend wrote about the whole heart wrenching process on her blog. How she did something she originally did not set out to do. How after 2 years of searching, she finally found the puppy she’d been looking for, only to have it taken away unprofessionally by the extremists. How horrible it was to have put a payment on a puppy, only to be refused sale by the pet store a week later because of a defect with its legs. And how “Happy” she is with our new furry friend.

In the coincidence of the century, the extremists miraculously “stumbled upon” the blog my girl wrote (even though they were aware of her writings from previous conversations) and took it upon themselves to harass under the guise of a random happening. With a blog that does not have a large following, it’s very obvious where your readers are coming from. You can track email servers, domain referrals, key word searches and all kinds of other stats.

After the extremist agrees with my girlfriend in her first paragraph, her tone turns dark, disparaging and critical.

So far I couldn’t agree more with your comments, however afterwards your comments turn whiny and complaining because you couldn’t get what you wanted. “I’m an emotional person and I’ve got nothing but love in my heart for animals.” ” I’ve always been guilty of wearing my heart on my sleeve.” If you had really wanted to be “selfless” then the process wouldn’t have thrown you off, because you would understand the why things are done a certain way, and gone off to find another dog to adopt. However, you weren’t being “selfless”, you were just on a whim because you saw a cute picture. “I knew that I truly wanted a puppy after having my heart set on Joey.” Then, you had them “order” a yorkie that was “defective”, as is common with puppies from puppy mills, which ended up getting sent back and killed, despite whatever illusions you may have set up for yourself that it wasn’t. If you really wanted to do “help your community” you would have adopted any other puppy from the shelter, to help ease the load even by one dog. Besides “with animal rescue you don’t always get exactly what you’re looking for but I guarantee you’ll find a little buddy who loves you unconditionally. What more can you ask for?”

Make up your mind, and stop trying to justify yourself through lurid contradictions.

Thanks again Ms. Extremist, for tracking us down, way after the fact, to continue your barrage of harassment. Yes, we committed the ultimate sin, and got a pet store puppy. May we burn in hell. What a horrible thing for us to give a puppy a great home.

Stop hiding behind your friends, or sending your friends to do your dirty work, and leave us alone. Is it not enough that you said all of those horrible things in an email to us? That you put us through the ringer financially and socially, to jump through your unnecessary hoops in an attempt to acquire your precious rescue puppy, only to be inconsiderately dropped?

Thanks for going out of your way to point out that the first pet store puppy we inquired about would in fact be destroyed, as if my girl doesn’t feel bad enough about this encounter. As if she didn’t beg and plead with them to give us the puppy anyway, defect and all.

Your tactics are childish, unprofessional, and give the good rescuers of animals a bad name.

If we’re such horrible people, what does that make you?


~ by ripcitytoseoul on November 11, 2010.

14 Responses to “Beware of Animal Rescue Extremists”

  1. I think Ms. Extremist is so hell-bent on fighting pet stores and puppy mills that she neglects to consider the well-being of each individual animal born into such environments. Just like rescue shelter dogs, puppy mill puppies also need to be adopted into loving homes. Treating the puppy mill problem as a systemic issue only (discouraging any and all participation with pet stores) may result in a great deal of what we might call “collateral damage” – e.g. more neglected and/or potentially killed animals – all in the name of moral purity (by whatever name). It seems clear that her tactics are doing more harm than good. I do not foresee that anyone who reads your posts would be likely to walk into an interaction with this agency with high expectations. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” they say. If she really cares about shelter animals, she may find it advantageous to work on her interpersonal communication skills (which may or may not include removing whatever large object is lodged in her backside).

    • This is the point. Glad you got it.

    • When you buy a puppy mill puppy, you might provide a good life to that one dog but you are ensuring so many more are born into horrible conditions. The person who bought this dog is selfish. She put her own wants above the welfare of animals. Sorry, the extremists have you on that one.

  2. Based on her comments about about “buying off”, do they give the rescue dogs away free of charge with this particular group? If so, that is kind of odd, considering the primary reason rescue groups charge in America (aside from supporting future rescues) is that it’s a way for the adopter to demonstrate they are committed.

    The ironic thing about her questioning your commitment to your pet is that making arrangements to travel to pick up the dog is a true demonstration of commitment. The person who is not committed and just doing it for the rush of it isn’t going to to go those lengths when there are other options nearby.

    Go figure, it sounds like she’s operating outside of the realm of logic, and is also giving a bad name to animal rights extremists all over.

    • No, they charge for the dog. We thought offering to pay for the dog ahead of time, as well as paying for travel to a city 4 hours away, train and hotel, would demonstrate our commitment to the dog. Instead, we were seen as immature and mafia like. Go figure.

  3. […] Buying a Pet in Korea * Read the follow up blog, Beware of Animal Rescue Extremists […]

  4. It all worked out in the end. Our dog is awesome and like Jackson said it doesn’t matter where a dog comes from they are need a nurturing and loving environment and I know we provide more than this for our little crazy guy…bite* bite* ARF! He’s holding me hostage. Au secours! Au secours!

  5. Just look up HSUS and the Mafia. The mob has even taken over the dog rescue industry.

  6. I had the exact same experience with that group. And like you, I ended up with a pet store puppy and couldn’t be happier. I have friends-of-friends who work with that group and they are always trying to push people to foster all the sick dogs they round up from the shelters en mass with no idea of where the dogs will ultimately end up.

  7. I don’t know if I would consider myself an animal rescue extremist but I do have defined opinions about the treatment of animals throughout the world. I have been involved in dog rescue for a couple of years and I have seen the atrocities that dogs and other animals have been through. I’ve received calls from puppy millers telling me to get over to their farm because their dog isn’t producing anymore and they will shoot her unless we come and pick her up that day. She is one of the lucky ones as they don’t usually bother calling us. I’ve seen how these dogs fear all humans and will often defecate just by the sound of a human voice entering the room. It’s heartbreaking. It is definitely not the image we think of when looking at the cute puppy in the window at the pet store.

    I have no doubt in my mind that you and your girlfriend had all the right intentions when searching for your dog. It sounds like you really took your time to find the right dog for you. It is really unfortunate that you had a bad experience with an individual from that animal rescue group. It sounds like you are indeed right about the lady needing a lesson in communication. With that said, I do not blame you and your girlfriend for your decision to purchase a dog at the pet store as you went through a really emotional time. You had your hearts set on a dog and it sounds like the dog should have been yours. However, in regards to an above comment I do have to say that buying a puppy at a pet store does perpetuate puppy mills. The more we buy puppies at the pet store, the more these puppy mills will keep pumping out puppies. We need to remember that these dogs are kept for the sole purpose of breeding. They are kept in wire cages, they are treated inhumanely, they are not provided with proper nutrition, they do not receive veterinary care and they are bred inappropriately causing birth defects and potentially other harmful defects that may arise in the future of the puppy.

    Sorry if this may seem extreme and preachy but I have seen how huge the dog problem is in Korea. People purchase pets from a pet store and hundreds and hundreds of them end up in shelters across the nation. These shelters are not what we know in Canada or the United States. These dogs face the elements rain or shine, summer or winter. These animals need our help. I doubt much will change until a complete overhaul of how we think about animals in this country occurs. They are not disposable. They need human interaction.

    Enjoy your puppy. It is such a fun time. I have no doubt that you and your girlfriend will love him his entire life. I hope this experience has not damaged your idea of animal rescue too badly. I hope that in the future you can support the idea of adopting an animal in need.

    Take care.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. No doubt, adopting an animal is the way to go. As you can see in this particular situation, enough was enough and we made the decision that was best for us at the time.

  8. I’m all too familiar with this group. I really wanted to adopt a pet in Korea. All pets deserve a home, whether they are from a puppy mill or a pound, so I’m glad you found the dog you wanted. In any case, it’s super easy to adopt through this site It’s the Animal Protection Management System. No novel-length applications and no condescending rejections. The only thing required is for one to truly decide for themselves if they really want the responsibility of a canine family member, and follow through with the adoption. It’s a simple application with a small adoption fee. The only thing is that you’ll need a friend who speaks Korean to help you.

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