This is Groot. I guess there’s a cool, comic book nerd working up at Carrollton Animal Adoption Center. Heh.
Today I found myself in the lobby of Carrollton’s Animal Control to pick up a cat for transport and decided to check out the facility’s dogs while I waited. Duh. It’s a decent place — clean, friendly staff, every dog had an elevated bed space, and pups were being walked in rotations. Kudos to the shelter. They’re doing their jobs over there.
As I wandered around, I stopped at Groot’s window. He looked up, smiled, and wagged his tail a bit…put his nose to the window like he wanted me to reach through the glass wall to stroke his pittie noggin. I instantly thought, “This one, he’s a cool guy. Someone is going to be very lucky.”
A minute later, a kind family joined me at Groot’s spot. I told the boy, “I don’t know what you’re looking for, but this Groot dog is the one.” The kid showed me his cell phone and grinned, “He’s the dog I came here for. You like him, too?” I assured him I was only there for a cat and wasn’t planning on getting in the way of their adoption plans. The mom laughed, “That’s good because we like him a lot!”
The family took Groot to a play yard and walked him around a little. They decided they wanted to take him home. I was pretty psyched about witnessing that.
Then my heart fell flat for them all — for Groot, for the family, for the lady behind the adoption desk counter, and especially that boy standing there with Groot’s Petfinder photo still displayed on his phone.
The employee sadly told them, “I’m sorry, but our pit bulls are rescue only.” Believe me, I could sincerely tell she was very unhappy to deliver that news.
The woman behind the adoption desk explained what “rescue only” meant a bit further and what the process entailed, but all I could really see at that point was a kid on the verge of tears. The family left.
To be fair, I couldn’t hear the entire conversation and don’t know the exact outcome, but when the family was gone, I asked, “Do you guys adopt pit bulls to the public?” The lady verified they could only adopt pits to rescue folks.
For those of you who may not understand what that means, let me spell it out: This is a form of breed discrimination. It doesn’t matter what the dog’s temperament might be, the City of Carrollton has determined not to adopt pit bulls to the general public. Instead, it relies solely upon peeps with 501(c)3 rescue statuses to pull those breeds for potential adopters. Yes, there is the possibility that Carrollton is actually trying to protect the breed from further abuse since the city has no way to verify good adopters, which would be the case with any dog. However, with rescue groups already strained to the hilt, that puts Groot’s chances of making it out of the shelter alive at a far greater risk — terrible since he had a shot at a loving home this afternoon. It also sends a message to the citizens of Carrollton and other cities around the metroplex who share similar policies: These are bad dogs, and we don’t want the assumed liability; they’re too dangerous for your lap.
This has got to stop. Groot isn’t a threat. He’s not the problem. He’s a dog sitting in a kennel waiting for a friggin’ miracle to unfold. It’s perfectly understandable for a shelter to label an animal, who’s demonstrated aggression, as available to qualified groups exclusively, but this is simply not the norm when it comes to most dogs — pit bulls included. So the burden falls on rescues. That’s Groot’s fate. It costs taxpayers extra money. It makes kids go home with super-sized sad faces. It makes things extra difficult for rescue workers. No win there.
So what is the solution? Visit your shelters. Ask politely about adoption policies. If your area has breed restrictions, write your city council. Show up at meetings. Show them the overwhelming statistics proving breed doesn’t dictate aggressive behavior. Rail them with it, folks. Do it for Groot. Do it for the other gazillion dogs in his boat tonight.
As for the Marvel character sitting alone in Carrollton, well, he needs a rescue group with an available spot and a foster. There are a few other pits waiting there who also deserve a jail-break, too. Consider giving the workers there a hand in networking these dogs. We are their only shot.
And that blows.
Sorry, Groot. Hang tight, bud.
If you’d like to kindly ask Carrollton to consider changing its policy, you can write city council here.
More info on Groot is available through his Petfinder page.
And if you want to send donations and thank-you cupcakes and schtuffs to the staff at Carrollton Animal Adoption Center for kicking ass at performing a difficult, emotionally draining job for the good of the community, you can send that loot here. They deserve it. (Somebody also needs to look into their air conditioning system, too. It was a zillion degrees inside that joint today. We were all panting, meh.)
UPDATE: Groot was adopted, and Carrollton changed its policy. Rock hands for all of that!