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Review for In Our Hands Rescue, Bronx, NY, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

After reading the previous reviews here it is incredibly helpful to see we are not alone in the problems we are dealing with with this organization. I want to share my story as well so people looking for a dog/cat can be informed of how In Our Hands operates. I hope they will choose another route and go to a different shelter or organization that cares more for their animals.

My fiancee and I were looking to add another dog to our household and decided to try fostering first from In Our Hands rescue after finding them on instagram. After we were approved to foster we offered to take in a large Saluki mix named Apollo coming over from Dubai (he actually came over with Ben who is mentioned in the review below) in June. We had to meet at a location in Brooklyn to pick him up immediately after he landed from his flight. As we know they are a smaller organization we did not expect much when picking him up but after we arrived, I realized the person I had been in contact with to set everything up was not even present. We were a little confused as some strangers that did not run the organization just handed us the dog without checking any ID or giving us any paperwork etc. I was told to just text the person I had been talking to a picture to confirm I had the dog.

After about a week as he seemed to be fitting in well with our family (my household consists of myself, my fiancee, a 9 year old American Eskimo, a 4 year old Beagle/Lab mix, and a small cat) and since we had been told he was very calm and sweet, was good with people, children, all other dogs, cats, was up to date with all vaccinations, had no previous health problems and was currently healthy/recently vet checked we decided to adopt him. Despite showing some signs of leash aggression (which we informed the rescue of immediately), we agreed that if this was his only issue, it was something that we could work with. We consulted a dog trainer about this who confirmed it was common and workable. After paying the adoption fee ($720 which we were told was due to him coming over from Dubai but we are now noticing they seem to just charge whatever they feel like) and discussing what we noticed in person and going over his information again, we took Apollo to our vet and signed him up for a health plan. It was then that we learned that he was underweight and suffering from a severe ear infection on both ears. We were concerned as we were told he arrived to NY in good health and were not liable for taking on any medical care as fosters so he was not immediately treated until we chose to adopt him. We got him the proper treatment and his condition was quickly alleviated. This was when we first saw the changes in his temperament.

Apollo was previously very friendly with everyone that he met. He was very good with our dogs and cat. He was so great with me and my fiancée and we became attached quickly. He was generally a couch potato and pretty calm inside the house. Unfortunately as he became healthy and more comfortable in our home we started noticing signs of fear/aggression towards certain strangers and he became very dominant and rough with our other pets. He lunged at our vet at his follow up appointment as well as two of our friends who were visiting that he hadn't met previously. Finally he attacked our 25 lb. American Eskimo who is older and not able to easily defend himself. He was injured badly and needed vet care. For reference Apollo is kitchen counter height and weighs 50 lbs. Our dogs have been very on edge since then and have stopped getting along at all. We have to keep Apollo separated to avoid any further altercations. Our vet advised us of his concerns for our other dogs safety due to their size in comparison to his and suggested the environment and his better health could be effecting his behaviors more. We quickly made the realization that we were provided false information regarding his temperament and health. Had we been provided accurate information in advance we would not have considered adopting him.

We quickly reached out to In Our Hands to express our concerns with Apollo after each incident. We were concerned since what we were experiencing was so drastically different than what we were told about him. We wanted to request assistance in returning the dog. Due to the circumstances we did not believe he was in the right household and should be placed somewhere without other small pets/children. We were contractually obligated to return the dog to them if we could not keep him. After some back and forth and us needing to provide proof of what was happening, they finally agreed to take him back in late August. They let us know it would be to euthanize him if we can't keep him as they can't look for a new home for him and will not have his behaviors looked at or provide any additional training for him due to lack of resources. To this day they still have not met the dog or assessed him personally.

This was such heartbreaking news to us and we feel is something that should be considered only as the very last resort for severe issues. We were also shocked as their website claims they are a no-kill organization. We could not believe that a no-kill organization would want to put down a dog as their first option in this situation. Due to our disagreements over his future they have given us permission to try to rehome him ourselves or find another organization willing to work with him first. We ended up talking more with our trusted local shelters regarding this for advice. The general consensus was that the best place for him would be a sanctuary and that normally under these circumstances the rescue would be responsible for arranging that. We then did not hear from In Our Hands for 2 weeks. We were unable to locate a sanctuary that had room for him so we reached back out to them to see if they had come up with anything. They again proposed that we take him to be euthanized and they would reimburse us for it but if we could continue to keep him for an unspecified amount of time they might be able to place him somewhere in Georgia (that was all the info we could get). We stated that as mentioned - we would not put him down due to our personal views but also that we could not keep due to the safety of our other pets without a firm date and sooner rather than later. We further asked if they would pay to have him boarded while they wait to have him moved or if we could drop him back off for them to figure out another place to hold him in. They refused both proposals.

We had been experiencing rude, insulting, and unprofessional comments from Jennifer and her team throughout this entire experience. They did not care what had happened to our dog that was bit and seemed to not even believe us without receiving photos. They did not seem to be taking the situation seriously and we often felt as if we were working harder to rehome him and caring more for his welfare than they were. They did not believe they needed to assume any responsibility for this and blew us off many times. When they did answer us it was always noted that they were not obligated to help us with anything. After we asked for money to assist with boarding him though is when Jennifer took things completely out of control. She not only refused to speak face to face or even on the phone with us, it often took us up to 4 follow up emails to even get a response from her. She refused to take the dog back and threw insults at us trying to guilt us into continuing to keep a dangerous dog in our home so that they did not have to deal with. She was alleging that we were trying to abandon the dog because we told her it was an unsafe environment for him to stay with us and thought boarding was a safer option. She alleged that we gave him a death sentence despite her being the one who proposed to euthanize him, while we put ourselves at risk to look for a better option. She also suggested that instead of boarding him that we can decide to euthanize him "with our own hands at the vet or a high-kill shelter" (verbatim quote from her email). She then threatened to publicly shame us.

This has been such a shocking experience for us as animal lovers with all adopted pets that previously came from abused and neglected homes. We were embarrassed enough to have to give a dog back but ultimately decided that safety of our other pets took priority. They made sure to prey on that and try to make us feel as if we caused him to be this way and made us feel trapped within our own home by not taking him back. They made us feel guilty and stupid for being so honest and transparent about what we were dealing with but we could not bear to withhold any information in case it caused another adopter to be in danger. To see an organization not do their due diligence to provide accurate information about an animal up for adoption and to not take the time to properly assess medical conditions and behavior is appalling and completely negligent. Please beware of this organization, they are no better than a puppy mill. They are more concerned with their image on social media and pulling in excessively high profits from adoption fees than the safety and welfare of these animals.

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