Failing grade for pet adoption agency

ReilieWest Island News | 11 Feb, 2004 |  Failing grade for pet adoption agency

BY SCOTT TAYLOR – The Chronicle

Concerned animal advocates are urging those considering dog or cat adoption to be wary of an organization that admittedly has neither the resources nor the manpower to care for their animals properly.

The agency in question, Second Chance Animal Rescue and Shelter, has received a number of complaints and is well known by the SPCA, who urge the public to seek pets elsewhere.

Director Pierre Barnotti pointed to an incident just over a year ago in which a dog Second Chance director Anne Gillebrand was caring for was mauled by others in her care. The dog, named Reilie, remained horribly injured in Gillebrands barn in St. Hugues for more than a week.

We charged her with broad cruelty against animals because of a situation with a dog that was despicable, Barnotti said. We received several, several complaints about that organization from people who had volunteered there or people who had been witness to situations they called horrible. That particular dog was in terrible condition.

Barnotti said the SPCA did what it could, but because Gillebrand was not convicted he does not have the right to conduct follow-up inspections. We laid charges, but in Quebec the system is so sick that cruelty to animals is considered a misdemeanor and is settled out of court. In other words, they say dont do it again and goodbye. That person took advantage of that weakness of the Quebec judicial system otherwise she would have had her day in court. If she is convicted, we are mandated to conduct a series of follow-ups, but the crown prosecutor didnt think it was important enough to proceed. I dont know why.

He sighed with resignation when thinking of that incident again. If you steal a pair of gloves from a store, you have a day in court. But if an animal is maimed or killed it is not important enough to spend the money on.

Some people familiar with Second Chance said they have no personal grudge against Gillebrand, describing the woman as kind-hearted, but naive and in over her head.

Even Gillebrand, who didnt wish to be quoted for this story, admitted that she cared for far more than 100 cats at one time, but that she now has only about 38. She cited a lack of funds and a sense that his injuries were not severe for not taking Reilie to the vet after he had been attacked.

Sophie Fournier, who ran a small adoption agency in conjunction with others in the area before moving to Ontario, recounted what happened after she gave Reilie to Gillebrand.

She took them just for over the holidays because we had a lack of space. We figured she would have them until just after Christmas. When the time came that we had somebody who wanted to adopt one of them, she started giving us excuses that she didnt have the time to see us and the dog was dirty and needed to be cleaned. We started getting the runaround until Jan. 1 when she said that she couldnt bring him to us because hed been bitten by her lab.

We asked if he was okay and she said she didnt know. We finally find out that she hadnt been to the vet. She had called to find out opening hours, but she never showed her face. We started getting a little freaked out and we decided to head down. By the time we found the place it was about 1 a.m. We decided we were going to take all three dogs back and find out what was wrong with Reilie.

When we got there, we were devastated. Reilie, who we had been told had been bitten on the leg and was not really hurt was ripped apart. It cost over $4,000 to save him and there was no guarantee that he would live. They had never seen anything like this. He had been attacked by a pack of dogs or one extremely vicious dog and had been swung around by his head. His anal area had been ripped apart and his leg was torn. These injuries had occurred between 10 and 14 days before we brought him in. My son said, Mommy, he smells like rotting meat.

A representative of AniMatch, another adoption agency, agreed with Fourniers interpretation of events.

She had taken in three dogs for another rescue agency saying she would take care of them, said Johanne Tass. But they went to get the dogs because she wasnt returning phone calls and she was refusing to give back the dogs.

Without giving specifics, Gillebrand said the story is not so cut-and-dried. She pleaded poverty and a misunderstanding of Reilies injuries for not taking the bleeding dog to a vet.

Tass, and others, also accuse Second Chance of adopting out sick animals. She adopted a dog out in September, a three-year-old lab. The new owner went to a vet who said the dog had mange and that it had hip displesia, and the woman said Yeah, but I have this medication. The medication was Revolution, which is for fleas. So the client brought the dog back right away the following Monday.

Dorothy Bond, founder of the Bond Foundation in Westmount, a non-profit organization that offers free spaying and neutering to registered organizations, has withdrawn her support of 2nd Chance. She cited too many irregularities and questionable practices for her decision.

This is a woman who I thought was a real dedicated animal lover, but it seems shes a collector and also shes just interested in making money. I went to the farmhouse she rented (in St. Hugues, which she has recently been asked to leave) and there were pets everywhere and it was very impressive so we supported her. But afterwards, she wasnt keeping her appointments we made for her with the vets.

That was Bonds first clue that something was wrong. Ive heard reports that people who have adopted from her find some of the animals very sick.

A representative of Rosie Animal Adoption asked not to be quoted, but said she would warn potential owners to stay away from Second Chance.

Dr. Christina Nozotti, a West Island veterinarian, has treated an animal that came from Second Chance. While maintaining that she has had little experience with that organization, she said she has seen enough to question it.

All I can tell you is that I had to treat a cat that a client got through them last summer and it had all sorts of skin problems like fleas, ear mites and what not. I have to admit I wasnt overly impressed with what I saw. She had a couple of dogs there that, well, you dont have to be in the profession to notice that they werent in very good shape. I would be careful dealing with them.

Tips on adopting a pet:
Who is the assigned vet? Contact that person.
Do they neuter all animals before they leave the shelter? This is considered a must!
Are they vaccinated? Ask for the documents.
Do they offer a trial period with reimbursement if the match does not work out?
Do they profile the potential guardian?
Do they match the animal to the potential guardians?
Do they specify in the contract that the guardian must contact the shelter if in the future they can no longer keep the pet?
Are the animals clean, healthy and happy? An unhappy dog will shy away from eye contact. Ask to see the shelter where they board the animals. Consult with local vet clinics to see if they have recommendations or referrals for a reputable rescue agency.

Source: The Chronicle

11 Replies to “Failing grade for pet adoption agency”

  1. The photos are absolutely heartbreaking. I hope one day, Quebec laws catch up to modern moral understanding in society. The person running the agency. should be in jail and banned for life from owning or being around even goldfish

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