UPDATE – Today I learned that I made a mistake in this story. I thought the woman who adopted Olaf told me that she never signed a contract and release form from PURRR. That isn’t correct. What she told me was that PURRR said they would send her copies of those forms, but they never did even though she had Olaf for a month. I corrected the story to reflect this new information.
I stand by the rest of my story.
Robert Pregulman, Seattle DogSpot 3/19/15
Yesterday I learned that PURRR Rescue director Diana VanDusen recently adopted out another dog that killed a cat.
The woman who contacted me said she adopted a brown German Shepherd named Olaf at a PURRR Rescue adoption event in front of the Lacey PetSmart on January 25th of this year.
She paid $400 for the dog, but she didn’t get anything that most rescues provide when they adopt out a dog.
No medical history for the dog. No vaccination records. No information about any potential behavioral problems the dog might have. No microchip information.
PURRR Rescue also didn’t do a home visit to determine if it was appropriate for this dog, nor did VanDusen ask for any references, which most responsible rescues require.
This woman might as well have bought the dog from someone selling it on the side of the road.
When her family was out the first week they had Olaf, it grabbed a cat that got too near its outside kennel and mauled it to death. The woman said the dog mangled it so badly you couldn’t even tell what color it was.
Not wanting to give up on the Olaf, the woman tried to train it to stay away from their 2 cats and their small dog, but the only way she could control him was with a shock collar, and that was only minimally successful. And when the collar was off the dog got more aggressive toward the other pets in the house again.
Olaf also not only chased their horses, it began jumping their fence and chasing down their neighbor’s 3 pregnant horses. And it wasn’t because the dog didn’t have enough room to roam – they have 5 acres. Eventually their neighbor said if Olaf came after his horses again he would shoot Olaf.
At that point, the woman decided she didn’t want to take the chance that the neighbor would shoot the dog, so she returned Olaf to PURRR about a month after they adopted it.
Citing the adoption contract (which the adopter never received), VanDusen refused to refund her money. VanDusen did offer to give her another dog, but after she told the woman she had to call the dog’s owner to find out about its behavior, the woman decided she didn’t want another dog from PURRR Rescue.
Because VanDusen wouldn’t refund her money, the woman said she donated the money to PURRR so she could get a tax deduction because she had no other options.
About a week later, the woman noticed a picture of the Olaf on PURRR Rescue’s Facebook page with another family that adopted him. I don’t know if VanDusen told the family that the dog recently killed a cat or has gone after other animals. Hopefully they don’t have cats or small dogs in their home. For Olaf’s sake, I hope the adoption works out.
Meanwhile, VanDusen collected 2 adoption fees for the same dog.
This is yet another PURRR Rescue dog adoption that ended in tragedy. In 2013, a dog adopted from PURRR mauled a 6-year-old boy and bit 3 members of the family that adopted it. The dog was later euthanized.
Within a one month period last summer, 3 dogs adopted from or fostered for PURRR Rescue killed 2 dogs and 2 cats. Two of those dogs were euthanized, the other one is in a facility on Joint Base Lewis McChord.
And these are the only incidents that we know about.
In addition, PURRR has had multiple confrontations with Lakewood and Pierce County Animal Control, is being sued for owing a boarding facility almost $8000, and has kept about 20 of its dogs hidden from the public. One source told me VanDusen considers 7 of those dogs too dangerous to adopt.
And several people confirmed that PetSmart no longer allows PURRR to hold adoption events in front of their stores.
The woman who originally adopted that German Shepherd from PURRR Rescue said she was “mortified” by the whole experience. She also said her young daughter was devastated that they had to give the dog back to PURRR.
To add to the family’s distress, the woman just got laid off and she can’t afford to get another dog.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m sure PURRR Rescue has successfully saved dogs and found them good homes, but based on the information I have, it appears PURRR’s successful adoptions happened by chance rather than by design.
I know lots of other rescues that found homes for dogs that kill cats. The difference between them and PURRR Rescue is that through thorough behavior testing and observation, they know if one of their dogs will try to kill cats, and they clearly communicate it to potential adopters. They also do home visits to ensure the family has no cats, and they get references about potential adopters.
PURRR Rescue doesn’t appear to have the safeguards/policies in place (like the majority other rescues) that would give their dogs the best chance to find their ideal home and people/families to find their ideal dog.
Because of this it’s my opinion that people/families are taking a risk when they adopt a dog from PURRR Rescue. They could get a dog that is perfect for them, but they could also get a dog with behavior problems that could kill other pets or bite people.
Personally, I would never consider adopting a dog from PURRR Rescue until it:
- puts procedures in place to ensure it doesn’t adopt out dogs with behavior problems
- stops hiding dogs from the public
- gives all the dogs it currently has to qualified rescues
- stops adopting out multiple dogs that end up euthanized
- provides documentation showing where they get their dogs
- cooperates with animal control
- takes responsibility for its problems instead of blaming others
- stops threatening to sue anyone that questions or criticizes them
I understand that no rescue can give a 100% guarantee that the dogs they adopt out will never have any behavioral problems, but the vast majority of rescues I know about work extremely hard to give their dogs the best chance for finding a permanent home and have none of the problems or drama that PURRR Rescue appears to have.