ICAWC 2011: Jenny Vestlund and Sara Turetta
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ICAWC 2011: Jenny Vestlund and Sara Turetta

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ICAWC 2011: Jenny Vestlund and Sara Turetta ICAWC 2011: Jenny Vestlund and Sara Turetta Presentation Transcript

  • International adoptions: a responsible approach
  • From the sender’s point of view
    • Introduction
    • When re-homing abroad makes sense
    • How to choose countries/partners
    • Financial issues
    • Medical issues
    • Paperwork
    • Logistics
  • Introduction
    • This presentation takes the point of view of a charity working in a developing country
    • International adoptions: a controversial issue among animal welfare organizations
    • Re-homing can be ONE among the activities that can help a TNR project to be successful but IT IS NOT the key factor.
  • When should you re-home abroad?
    • Whenever your shelter becomes overcrowded and you find it impossible to re-home locally the dogs that reach your shelter.
  • How to keep control on numbers
    • Two options:
    • Euthanasia
    • International adoptions
    • Whatever the policy and the ethics of your charity, you are bound to face this issue.
    • The sooner you decide, the better.
  • Which countries should you target?
    • Those countries where:
    • statistics show there is no problem with stray dogs
    • shelters have good standards and high adoption rates
    • euthanasia is not used to keep the phenomenon under control
    • certain types of dogs are not available in shelters (small sizes, puppies, etc.)
  • Which partner should you look for?
    • We cannot re-home animals directly in other countries : we need somebody who knows the culture, the environment and is well rooted in the territory (importance of networking!).
    • Options :
    • Find a group already formed and active
    • Find supporters that are willing to develop a charity and will seriously be looking after the adoptions
  • What you should look for in your partner
    • Given the fact that the partner will have its own specific culture, you should look for:
    • similar values to yours on animal welfare
    • well organized volunteers with clear responsibilities and good know-how
    • ability to handle the dogs returned from the families, in order to avoid useless euthanasia
  • Agreement
    • Always sign a written agreement stating the rights and duties of each partner: even if the charities involved are small and the members are friends, you need an official framework and a professional approach.
    • Things can always change!
  • Financial issues
    • Discuss with your partner about the fee usually payed by people adopting pets from local shelters.
    • Make a plan on “who pays what” and split the adoption fee among the two organizations, according to the expenses incurred.
    • Even if we are charities, we need to make business plans like private companies in order to have sustainable activities. DON'T FEEL ASHAMED TO TALK ABOUT MONEY! You are not doing this for profit, you do it for the animals!
  • Which animals should you propose to your partner?
    • Before starting the program ask you partner to brief you about the kind of dogs who have good chances to be adopted.
    • Try not to be emotional in picking out the dogs.
    • If possible, ask the partner to visit and make his own choices.
    • Have a skilled person of your organization in charge of analyzing/describing the dogs: you need a professional, do not improvise!
  • Medical issues
    • Make sure that the animals leaving undergo a severe medical procedure (fleeing, worming, vaccinating etc.) fulfilling both the law and your partner’s requirements.
    • WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS
    • OUR PARTNER AND TOWARDS THE ANIMALS OF THE RECEIVING COUNTRY
  • Paperwork
    • In principle, non-commercial movements of pets between countries are governed by regulation 998/2003 and 388/2010. However, many countries apply significant exceptions.
    • You should read these regulations, but you should also contact your local veterinary department.
  • Be transparent
    • If you believe in international adoptions, never hide what you are doing.
    • Show your honest intentions by informing the authorities, even if you might create some enemies.
    • Keep files of the dogs you are sending, especially if the vet department of your country has no database.
    • YOU MUST BE ABLE TO DEFEND YOUR ACTIVITY BEFORE THE PUBLIC AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS CRITICIZING YOU
  • How do we get them travelling?
    • Consider 2 issues: the animal welfare and the transportation cost.
    • Welfare issue : which is the best way to travel for the animals? How long is the trip? How are they kept during transport? How is the temperature?
  • Not this way!
  • This way!
  • Financial sustainability
    • How much does each transport cost?
    • Can I cover all expenses on my own or with the support of my partner’s adoption fees?
    • Are the trips financially sustainable on a long term? If not, how can I fund them if my partner is not able to pay/share costs?
  • … and eventually, after each trip….
    • … ..find some time to simply enjoy the pictures of the dogs safe in their new families and take inspiration and strength for your work!
  • From the receiver’s point of view
  • Why adopt from abroad?
  • Before the start: plan and research
    • The country and the associations working in it
    • The adoption procedure
    • - Direct adoption / shelters, method of choosing families, adoption contract, traceability etc.
    • Diseases
    • Import requirements (EU has common regulations)
    • Travel arrangements
    • Make valuable contacts with other organizations, the authorities and the media
  • Before the adoption
  • Before the adoption
    • Evaluation of dogs in the adoption program
    • Yourself or together with a employee of the shelter
    • Be realistic, you cannot save them all!
    • Describe the dog as honestly as you can to the adopting family to avoid unnecessary re-homing and euthanasia
    • Prepare the family carefully on what to expect (and not to expect)!
  • Before the adoption
    • Travel arrangements
    • Air / road
    • Choose the method causing the least amount of stress for the dogs, even if it is more expensive
    • Safety first!
  • After the adoption
    • Assign a contact person for each family and make regular follow-ups
    • Usually the dogs adapt very fast, however some dogs might develop behavioral problems
    • - Most common problems: shyness, possessive or fear related aggression and separation anxiety
    • You need to have a skilled person to help the families needing support
  • After the adoption
    • Although the goal should always be a 0 % re-homing rate, it is not completely realistic
    • The association should take care of the re-homing to ensure that the dog gets a good home
    Remember that you have a responsibility towards the dogs for the rest of their lives!
  • Disease control
    • Countries adopting dogs from abroad usually have a better situation regarding diseases
    • Rabies, parvo, distemper and tick-borne diseases
    • It is a huge responsibility and must be a top priority to minimize risks!
  • Are you sure you have the resources?
    • Tremendeous amount of work
    • You will receive a lot of judgement and criticism and encounter a lot of prejudice
    • 90% of the people will think you are crazy
  • So why are we doing this…?
  • For the magic… and a smile!
  • Onni’s story
    • ICAWC Sara and Jenny.wmv
  • Thank you!