Want to know what rescue groups are saying about PetRescue, and the implications this has for your organisation?

March 31, 2018

We hear time and time again that rescuers struggle to keep their programs running, and many leave the activity of animal rescue when the experience has become just too heartbreaking.

Having a policy of blaming rescue for the broken animal management system might seem like an easy, short-term solution to managing limited resources and dealing with difficult responses, but the long-term impact is devastating for the rescue community as a whole.

We know it’s not the nicest feeling to read this kind of feedback. And we know there’s so much good being done in the rescue community. That’s why it’s so important that we all take steps to make sure this good work isn’t undone, and to ensure the PetRescue website retains its credibility and power.

What people are saying about PetRescue, in their own words

This warts-and-all feedback might shock you, but as one rescuer said, “If nothing is said then things can’t improve.”

(view the flipbook version)

Let's be honest, PetRescue wants rescues to be nice to the public, not because they give a crap about increasing adoptions but because cranky pants members of the public (MOPs) are less likely to donate the dollarydoos PetRescue wants to line their pockets.

If they were genuinely keen about improving rescue, PetRescue would:

a) be reaching out to rescue and asking what they can do to take the pressure off the shoulders of everyone who is overworked and underfunded, not withdrawing support because the rescue isn't answering every single person who contacts them.

b) they would be making sure every single cent donated to rescue WENT to rescue

c) they'd be looking at how they can cut back their own costs in order to give more to rescue

d). They'd be using their public profile to speak out on issues important to rescue and pushing for the no kill equation to be implemented throughout Australia in its entirety

Just rude and disrespectful.

Easy said when you on big pay packets doing a cushy job while the rest get paid nothing doing upwards of 12 hour days. Completely ignorant.

Pull your heads in.

I have to say that PR management on their massive salaries and their massive team of staff have a lot to learn in terms of stakeholder management. How they could not forsee how insulting, condescending and judgemental this email would be to receive by the people doing all the work only for the sake of the animals is unbelievable!

Perhaps they could invest some of their donations in replying to the complaints and sharing what reality is like for rescuers and push for some understanding, rather than expecting rescues to comply with their impossible expectations. I hope that this is the stimuli for lots of rescue groups to turn their back on PR once and for all.

‍For all those with the “yeah, but it’s true” responses maybe go volunteer with a rescue group and help out (given it’s just so simple and all </sarcasm>).

The threats you get from people who want to surrender their animals, trying to screen adopters and match them to suitable animals, respond to the questions from people don’t read or who think the adoption profile volunteers haven take n time to write to give show what an animal isn’t applicable to their circumstances and trying to work/respond to family commitments/tend to animals and lo and behold you’re left with not enough nearly hours in the day.

Also, rescue is more than just simply giving out pets to people who applied. We want to get animals into homes and do what we can to keep them there.

But hey, think about the poor PetRescue staff who get paid to deal with these complaints.

This email from pr to rescues is disgusting and they should be ashamed of themselves!! Don't they think we cop it enough from people wanting to surrender their animals ... where they think it's some sort of 24hr depot. We apologise to people everyday ... and for what? For not getting paid or for having a job and paying tax or maybe it's for having kids and god forbid a life (well we try) this is arrogant to the extreme and to say this to unpaid volunteers is nasty! PetRescue shame on you!!

We are all volunteers with families and paid jobs. It’s safe to say many of us also suffer depression or another chronic illness that makes it all the more difficult to run a rescue. People say then don’t do it if your sick but those in good health are often the ones that don’t step up to the plate and our illness are made worse if not caused by working in rescue. We are constantly let down by those who say they are willing to help, go in gung-ho, realise how hard it is then disappear leaving the original handful of people to keep slogging on. The odd email may go unanswered for various reasons. A minority of rescues don’t run all that well but the majority seem to get punished for their actions or lack thereof.

The 'rescues make it so hard to adopt from them' bit pisses me off. Actually it’s usually because people don't want to have to go to too much effort to get an animal so won’t fill in an application so we can assess if the animal they want is even going to suit them to start with. They want to be able to say they adopted a rescue animal but be able to acquire them the way you would from a pet shop.

Sending emails like this to rescues is just demoralising and counter productive. It’s like a school teacher dressing down a student who they think should be getting A’s instead of C’s. All it achieves is getting the rescues backs up and doesn’t solve the problem.

What percentage of the emails they receive about rescue were critical as opposed to congratulatory? I'd guess that happy people don't bother writing to PetRescue about a successful adoption, so those 15 emails could represent 5%, 15% or 25% of total rescues, there's no way of knowing.

Whatever happens, there is always going to be a percentage of unhappy people, because that's just life. So no matter how efficient rescues are, there will always be the disgruntled.

PetRescue wanted to give rescue a smack, picked the meanest emails they had available and sent all the rescues their Easter present.

I'm not sure what it is about PetRescue, but their timing is terrible. They announce food donations hot on the heels of a major food recall by Mars; they respond to sustained criticism by sending a "pull up your socks" email to rescues as PR head off on their Easter break. I'm assuming that active rescues will still be busy caring for pets and doing adoption meets over Easter.

I'm not sure which part of really pissing off your major stakeholders and *content creators* seems like a good idea to PetRescue, but they might be in for a nasty shock.

New legislation in Victoria and proposed legislation in NSW are going to impact heavily on rescues. Councils are already moving to limit the capacity of rescue groups to function ahead of legislation.

PetRescue might find themselves in 12 months time in their spacious new offices with shiny new buttons on their website and minimal content.

With only 600 active rescue groups across Australia using PetRescue, it's not hard to see that even a small reduction in the numbers of groups will have a significant impact on PR's business model.

They are annoyed because they might be losing donations not because animals aren't being adopted or the reputation of rescue is being compromised.

I have to say that PR management on their massive salaries and their massive team of staff have a lot to learn in terms of stakeholder management. How they could not forsee how insulting, condescending and judgemental this email would be to receive by the people doing all the work only for the sake of the animals is unbelievable!

Perhaps they could invest some of their donations in replying to the complaints and sharing what reality is like for rescuers and push for some understanding, rather than expecting rescues to comply with their impossible expectations.

I hope that this is the stimuli for lots of rescue groups to turn their back on PR once and for all.

After 6.5yrs as a Rescue head/committee team I'm no longer "with" any Rescue in that capacity and yet this makes my blood boil beyond anything else- instead of spending your time/money on drilling the already completely run down and exhausted rescues spend that on educating the public on what running a volunteer based Rescue is really about, what they go through, what else they're managing day to day with NO compensation financially or any other way!!!

I usually keep out of this but NO!! This is not ok!!!

Maybe they could use some of their millions to pay people to assist rescue groups in answering emails, phone calls etc. Its obvious they have no idea how overwhelmed all rescue groups are. They are ordinary people doing this voluntarily whilst living busy lives with families, jobs, etc. Many suffer burnout and depression due to the stress. They desperately need help, more hands on deck to help. Will PetRescue help them or just sit back and criticise?

PR need to educate the public that rescue ARE run by vollies, we don't operate as a pet shop where it is first in best dressed (some do but majority don't) and sometimes we deal with enough 'stupid' ie people who don't read profiles in one day that we need to step back before replying.

Super disappointed. All our rescues volunteers work full time/study or have other commitments. We receive 0 funding and try our best to make do. Most of our emails are answered within the hour, however it simply can't be done any sooner. Our volunteers already sneak phones into the toilets at work just to answers emails.... It's easy to pass judgement when they are being paid (full time) to operate the business. No volunteer had the luxury of dropping everything to undertake a full time role in rescue.

PetRescue with their paid employees and their massive fundraising drives are making it more difficult for us to exist as entities as there is a certain pool of animal welfare money which PetRescue is actively and very professionally dipping into.

We acknowledge we have a responsibility to reply to any legitimate enquiries that come through PetRescue if we use their site - but not the 'how much is it' variety when the response is on the website.- and from the responses PetRescue used as example - including the one about whether we should be reported for not fulfilling our responsibilities to the homeless dogs - they are really scraping the barrel. If the point of this exercise is to make more groups rethink exactly what they will lose by leaving PetRescue it is a remarkably effective one.

Do consider that so many groups are not only rescuing and rehoming dogs, they are dealing with the pets of victims of domestic violence, dropping food off to seniors who can't afford their dogs, helping the pets of the homeless with short term care, taking unwanted dogs from shelters, causing pounds to rethink their kill policies, advocating with the government for better animal welfare It is only in the last decade that the system has changed at all and we firmly believe,from a Victorian perspective, that rescue, particularly community fostercare networks, have been the impetus.

Yes we are really not a great business model, however we try, because we are reliant on the spare time of volunteers, reliant on would be applicants turning up or being available to take a call when they say they are because we have such limited time, sometimes taking on too many animals because that particular day we just cannot bear to see yet another one die, trying to do the impossible. We are crabby with our families, lose our friends, have no life and we do it because we want to make a difference.

Yes we are the people in the starfish story, picking up yet another starfish and throwing back in the ocean because we can make a difference to that one. It gives a lift to our day when we receive an email of support from someone who says we know how busy you are, we appreciate what you do, we will wait for you to respond. Thank you to those people.

To have what is essentially a portal like PetRescue tell us what we are doing wrong in such a ridiculous way, rather than reaching out a hand with real help such as a 'real' fundraising drive to be allocated to rescues with huge vet bills rather than the pathetic 'desexmas' campaign to raise $50,000 so PetRescue can then build some other website contraption to help us with our desexing costs!! Hey PetRescue give us $70,000 - that is what it cost us - $35 k of ours and $35k from a grant - to desex 550 rural animals belonging to members of the public with the only criterion being a health care or similar card.

Do something real, save some animals, rather than telling us what we should be doing. Help us in a way that is real, not what you think will be useful, rather than criticise us.

Shame on you. Is this what you wanted when you began? We kept our direction, did you?

Anyone who wants to know what the big deal is. Sure, complain, that's your right.

But PetRescue don't care.

They really don't.

*** They care that you may not donate to them if your experience with their website isn't what you expected. ****

So rescues, despite the fact that we're the ones who are overwhelmed and underfunded, are now also to blame for a system that doesn't support us.

They don't like us to decline inquiries. (and yep we've had 'advice' about that too). Pick the dog. Buy the dog. Done. Happy PetRescue customer. Who will refer more customers & generate more donation leads.

The dog you choose might be a complete disaster you can't return, but they aren't ever going to tell anyone the number of complaints about that little secret. Nor do they bother to protect you from the dodgy rescues listing on there. That's all on you to work out later. And not their concern.

This latest email from them is insulting in the extreme. We aren't their employees and nobody asked them for a performance evaluation. We just want a website to list pets on.

Well if us in rescue were paid the $140k a year that PR pays it's employees then we wouldn't have to go out and get jobs and look after our kids...plus deal with vets, adoptive homes, surrender homes, general inquiries on top of our day to day living.

What makes me really angry, is that instead of addressing this "problem" with the individual rescues, they have managed to piss everyone off... we, rescuers and owners of, work our ARSES off, 365 days a year, in the heat, freezing cold and every other sodding thing..we are brought to our knees with grief , holding a dying puppy or kitten, cradling an 18 year old dog at our vets, whom we see more than our own families, as we release it from it's broken body...up to our necks in shit, wiping up vomit, training, and somewhere in there, we get to eat and sleep.

Who do you actually think you are PetRescue? Walking away was one of the easiest things to do.

We don't do what we do to keep you employed.

Best remember that, as the word spreads and rescues delete their accounts.

See also:

Happy Easter from PetRescue

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