Shame on you Marina Baktis / Mutts and Moms

for your decision to place Iggy in another home rather than return him to the family who loves him. Up to that point, you could have done the right thing, you could have made the decision that was best for Iggy. And in turn, best for yourself and best for other pet rescue organizations.

Mistakes were made all around; Ellen made a mistake in not reading the contract, or possibly ignoring the part that said Iggy needed to be returned to you if things didn’t work out; the lunatics who made death threats against you made horrendous mistakes, and I’m sorry that the crazy “animal lovers” crawled out of their slime-holes and did felt the need to do this. And if you find out who made the death threats, I hope you and your attorney are willing to press charges.

But… regarding the battle over Iggy, you have consistently shown poor judgment and a worrisome lack of compassion, and you made mistakes far greater than any that Ellen made. And you are the one who turned this into something much bigger and uglier than it needed to be.

But in the end, those who lost the most are the most innocent of all – Iggy and the family that loves him.

I don’t know you and I obviously don’t know Ellen but even if this involved someone who was not a celebrity, I would be saying the very same things because the issue at hand is one little dog and two young girls, and to me, it has nothing to do with the celebrity of the original adopter. I have to wonder if you would have behaved the same if a non-celebrity who was a friend or acquaintance of yours adopted Iggy and then gave him to close friends?

Ms. Baktis, aside from the lack of compassion and judgment you have shown, there are some other worrisome issues. Since you state on your (former) website that you are a 501c3 organization, where were the members of your board of directors throughout this fiasco? I find it had to imagine that your board would not have advised you to handle this differently since they are accountable, legally and financially, for your actions. Did not one of the members of your non-profit board of directors advise you to give Iggy back to the family that loves him and perhaps handle this differently?

The overall sense from what I read (articles and opinions on the web taken with several grains of salt as well as what I read on the Mutts and Moms website) is that you seem to be something of a control freak which explains why you felt the need to start up yet another rescue group rather than work with one of the hundreds already established in southern CA.

Your adoption application would eliminate most good dog owners I know including myself.

Your stipulation that all adopters need to make a minimum $250 donation to Mutts & Moms is insane (this required donation is in addition to your adoption fee).

I’m not disparaging the work you have done placing dogs into loving homes, but looking at the “success stories” on your website, most of the dogs were not saved from imminent death as you imply.

Most adoption contracts are not legally binding documents because of the way they are written; some claim that the rescue group always retains "ownership" of an animal even months and years after adoption. Adoption contracts are at best a set of rules, not LAWS. Even if you had an attorney review and approve the contract (which it appears you did not) it does not mean that it would hold up in court.

So while Ellen either didn’t read the contract or read it and didn’t abide by it, at the worst, she broke or bended some rules. She didn’t break any laws. Nothing she did caused any harm to any other person or animal. Yet your actions were unnecessary, selfish, spiteful and mean. You made this into the ugly media battle that it was. And while the death threats against you were ethically, morally and legally wrong, they would not have happened if you had behaved in a kind and humane way from the beginning.

The best animal rescue organizations and shelters include numerous rules and policies in their adoption contracts which give them the right to enforce some or all of them as they choose. I’ve adopted a lot of pets over the years and have never had a home visit though that is in every contact I’ve signed. I’ve also “adopted” pets from shelters (sometimes known as “pulling” an animal in some sort of danger) and like Ellen, also signed a contract stating that I would return the dog to the shelter if I could no longer keep it. But that was the last thing I was going to do which is why those dogs were pulled in the first place.

Now I hate to start this off by saying that “rules are meant to be broken” but I will, not because I believe in anarchy but because we all know that many rules are stupid. Any business owner or boss or teacher can make rules that are often just their own attempt to have some control in the world.

For example (un-related to Iggy or any other animal), there are four restaurants near where I live that all have some version of the following printed on their menus and posted at the register: No credit card purchases under $10 (or $5.00). That is the restaurant’s rule but it is against the law to limit the amount of credit card purchases.

Most rules are created for the greater good of everyone. But not always. Sometimes they're just stupid and petty.

And Mutts & Moms was a small animal rescue organization (that finds homes for dogs pulled from shelters), not the CIA or Homeland Security.

It was only an animal rescue organization, and getting animals into good long-term homes should be the goal and purpose. The goal should not have been the rigid, anal enforcement of your own rigid, self-created rules.

All of this has heightened the growing issue I have with the word “rescue.” I have friends who rescued cats and dogs from flooded houses in New Orleans after Katrina; Terri Crisp and her team of volunteers and coordinators responded to over 60 natural disasters, including the Tsunami and Katrina in the same year. But taking a dog out of a shelter is not rescuing it – it’s already been rescued which is how it ended up in the shelter. In the case of some animal control facilities, you might be saving an animal's life if it is scheduled to be euthanized but the animals you below are rarely the ones euthanized. They are usually the first to be adopted. These are your Happy Tails.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well thought out. This woman is making money running a rescue- an adoption fee plus a minimum $250 donation?
And you are right, ths woan is rescuing lost pets...these are not the poor souls who will be euthanized.
I am amazed she is still in business. Yes business, not rescue.