Retail rescue organizations like Rescue Road Trips, Inc. (rescue) who claim to provide “Loving, humane road trips for Southern Kill Shelters’ homeless, unwanted and unloved dogs . . . deliver[ed] at Loving ‘Forever Homes’ in and around New England,” do nothing to decrease the number of irresponsibly bred dogs. They actually do the opposite by facilitating the irresponsible and aimless breeding of dogs.
And, while preventing a dog from dying unnecessarily is laudable, this operation, like other rescues and shelters that have largely replaced pet stores and professional breeders as a source of pets in the United States, this rescue seems be quite profitable.
As stated on their website, they have rescued over 55,000 dogs to date. These are dogs moved from southern states to the northeast, where the supply of dogs for sale/adopt does not meet demand, despite statements from HSUS, ASPCA and others saying supply bans in pet stores are needed due to the local overpopulation of dogs allegedly caused by pet store sales.
Notably, the rationale for a recently passed New York rescue and shelter regulation bill outlined the current state of the pet supply, noting
“The number of animals euthanized in U.S. shelters has seen a precipitous decline over the past four decades, from about 15 million a year in the 1970s to about 3 million currently. . . there are literally hundreds of unregulated entities importing dogs into New York each year. . . [through] the nearly 500 incorporated animal groups currently registered with the Office of the Attorney General. . . Office of Charities. . .
The Rescue, which reportedly charges $185 per dog per transport― plus another undeclared adoption fee per dog ― has generated over $10,000,000 in revenue to date. Although there are transportation costs, the Rescue reports that volunteers pay for dogs removed from shelters and for their medical care, and assist them with canine care along the way, all at no cost to the Rescue. .
Think of how much money could be used to educate southern dog owners about responsible breeding and provide voluntary neutering programs that have been so successful in many parts of the country, including the northeast.
According to Rescue’s IRS 990, available on the ProPublica website, it was formed in 2015 and for that year, revenues totaled $230,000 and agents reported no working hours or expenses. Does this mean that they have transported 55,000 dogs since 2016?
To its credit, the Rescue’s “Requirements for boarding the transport”, generally comply with interstate requirements for animal health and good veterinary medicine, but there may be other concerns regarding their conduct, particularly in the state of Connecticut, to be discussed in more detail.