My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Brooklyn Animal Action Inc, Brooklyn, NY, USA
This review shares lessons about Brooklyn Animal Action's policies and practices regarding kitten adoptions.
1: They only adopt kittens in pairs, insist that owners feed them wet food twice a day, and ask for consent to do home visits.
2: If adopters report that they had a cat before, they should be prepared to give veterinary references, even if they and their (now deceased) pets lived in 3 different states and multiple locations. Volunteers call these veterinarians, and if the (former) owners did not go to the vet as often as the volunteers believe they should, then their applications are rejected. The best solution here is to neglect to list previous pets. Those applicants who don't list a previous pet will have their applications processed more quickly (and probably be more likely to be approved and/or receive the pick of the litter) than former pet owners, who receive more intense scrutiny.
3: Personal references should be aware that they may be interrogated about their own pet-owning practices. A volunteer lectured my reference that she really should have two cats and not just one, and that it was cruel not to let her cat outside. The ASPCA does not recommend that cats be let outside; they cite research that says that cats live 25% longer when kept indoors. It seems irresponsible for a rescue organization to advocate for cats to go outside in NYC.
4: Finally, if you want to adopt specific animals, they will not be held in reserve until your last reference is called. My application was finally approved, but too late to get the pets I wanted to adopt. The volunteer that I never corresponded with told my reference that this happened because I "dragged my feet," but that is absolutely not true; I responded to every query within minutes. However, BAA was not happy with my first vet reference, and when they checked a vet reference from 8 years ago, my records were not found, probably because someone misspelled my name. This search delayed the processing of my application, allowing someone else (probably someone who did not list a previous cat on their application) to adopt them first.
Despite this very negative experience, I am giving two stars instead of one, because the volunteer I worked with was very prompt in returning emails. While I regret not being able to adopt these particular animals, overall, I think I dodged a bullet here, since I would not want to work any further with anyone at BAA, or support their organization monetarily. The few days I corresponded with BAA were traumatic and stressful. It's not easy to talk about my pet's death at age 17 (!) with someone who seemed to want to lay the blame on not enough vet visits. I also regret putting my references in the position of being judged by people who had never even met them.
It's unfortunate that the volunteers at BAA view raising a pet in such rigid, black-and-white terms, and fail to set potential adopters' expectations more clearly. Perhaps this occurs because all interactions take place via email. I feel fortunate to have then adopted a kitten very quickly with the ASPCA, a professional organization that trains staff and volunteers to treat animals and humans alike with sensitivity, respect, and dignity.
Review for ASPCA - American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New York, NY, USA
I adopted a kitten after going through sort of a nightmare experience with a local adoption organization, and the contrasts between these two experiences emphasized the excellence of the ASPCA, its staff, and its volunteers. Founded in NYC in 1866, the ASPCA does a fantastic job of taking care of the city's animals, and educating pet owners. I was impressed by the friendliness and professionalism the staff and volunteers I met at the ASPCA. They set expectations clearly, and communicated well. When I went in on a Saturday morning, the kitty I wanted to adopt was not yet ready, but I was able to place her on hold. It was frustrating and a bit bewildering that they couldn't give me an indication of when she would be ready; I am sure there were good reasons for this. In any case, I appreciated that they had a way of reserving pets, and that once I committed to a pet, that they considered her "mine" until I decided otherwise. They called me the next morning with the news that she was ready to adopt. I got a bit emotional when they brought out this precious little kitten. Lia is only 2 months old but already spayed, up to date on shots, and microchipped and registered to my address; they also provide a metal tag with your phone number and the pet's name, and offer a veterinary voucher of $250. Given all that they do for the community (upstairs they provide discounted vet services for low income families), the fee of $ 125 for adopting a pet seems fair; I doubt it even covers the whole cost of everything they provide pets and their new families. They sent me home with literature on cats, as well as food samples and toys, and have a number (open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week) that owners can call for advice and help. The tone of the instruction I received was very even-handed, well researched, and not at all judgmental. I would adopt a pet from the ASPCA again; it was a very positive experience, and they earned my respect.