Today's Question: Will the Humane Society's proposed adoption guidelines hurt animals?

Friday, October 30, 2009 | 9:31 a.m. CDT; updated 5:18 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 31, 2009

COLUMBIA — Of all the debate about the Central Missouri Humane Society's proposed adoption guidelines, one group doesn't have a voice — the animals.

At a meeting Tuesday, the Humane Society's board of directors discussed more relaxed adoption guidelines. The changes would:

  • "Strongly encourage" that adopters receive permission from landlords, parents or roommates instead of requiring verbal or written permission;
  • "Recommend that" pets currently in a home are vaccinated instead of requiring such vaccinations;
  • Continue the policy of spaying or neutering dogs, cats and rabbits before they move to a new home, but no longer require the same for pets already in homes.

The board decided not to take any action and instead formed a committee to discuss the issue. At the meeting, there was a lot of opposition. Just look at the list of people with concerns: shelter staff members, representatives from other animal care organizations, landlords, volunteers, financial supporters of the society and foster care volunteers all saw problems with the proposal.

The Humane Society has faced financial problems this year, and these changes could possibly increase the number of people who would adopt pets. But at what cost? The number of people who adopt pets before putting them into the wild or sending them right back to the Humane Society could also potentially increase, and that affects the animals.

The current guidelines are often kept in place to keep animals safe and in a healthy environment, but that could be in danger if they're constantly moving back and forth without ever establishing a true home.

Do you think the Humane Society's proposed adoption guidelines could hurt the animals?

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