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Residents of a dog-loving St. Louis community are surprised – and offended – that a rescue is denying adoption applications to people living in their neighborhood, on the basis that it’s “unsafe.”
A St. Louis woman hoping to adopt a dog had her application denied because, rescuers said, the area she lives in is a “high crime area for multiple reasons and this is not a place we want our fur babies to live.”
Residents of the Tower Grove South neighborhood say that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“I mean this is one of the most dog-friendly places ever like everybody has one so they can walk them in the park, and I’ve never felt unsafe,” resident and dog owner, Austin Hazlet told KSDK.
Hazlet heard the news after a resident posted an email she received from Gateway 4 Paws denying her application to adopt because of where she lived to Facebook. News of the denial spread quickly, prompting outrage from many residents who say almost everyone has a dog, that they’re as much a part of the neighborhood as the humans living there.
Despite backlash, Gateway 4 Paws defended their decision, posting the following statement:
Gateway 4 Paws works tirelessly to make the very best choices for the dogs in our care to ensure they are adopted into the very best homes and can live their very best life. Every application is thoroughly reviewed by our volunteers and a long list of factors are considered. We take into account fence or no fence, who all lives in the home, where the home is, how much time the dog will spend alone, we check vet references to make sure past an existing pets are receiving proper care, and so much more. Some items are across the board requirements, while specific requirements can vary dog to dog, but we do not compromise on the very best life for each dog in our care. We do not and never will adopt on a ‘first come first serve’ basis, but instead review every application that is received, speak to approved applicants about the dogs and their lifestyle, and find the absolute best fit. Our dogs are all fostered in volunteers’ homes, where they are loved as if they are already home, so that we can learn their personality and needs. This gives us the ability to confidently place them into forever homes where they will be successful.
We regret the hard feelings that have arisen in regards to a recent application, but will always make the choices that we feel are in the best interest of our dogs. They are our number one priority and always will be.
Tower Grove South resident Brittany Kujawa believes Gateway 4 Paws made the wrong decision and are denying one of their rescues a chance at a wonderful life in the dog-friendly neighborhood, saying “I live in Tower Grove South. I have two rescue pups that live the best dog life possible. We go for walks in nearby Tower Grove Park. We visit dog-friendly restaurant patios. They are known by neighbors and receive many friendly greetings while we are out. Last year, I helped organize a neighborhood dog walk and litter clean up. Neighbors got together with their dogs to socialize and pick up litter around the neighborhood. Right across the park, there is the wonderful Shaw Dog Park. Working at dog-friendly Purina, I can take my dogs to work when they’re not in my safe home. I have spent thousands in vet bills, dog walkers, and boarding. Am I bad pet owner because I live in Tower Grove South?”
Kujawa went on to suggest the rescue owes Tower Grove South residents an apology. “I believe passing up a potential adoption is a huge oversight. More responsible pet owners in the neighborhood mean more residents out on the streets getting to know each other and preventing crime by presence. I would encourage you to rethink your policy and issue an apology to city residents and adopters you have rejected, because you are uncomfortable in the city.”
The denied adoption has sparked many conversations about whether some rescue groups are too picky about potential adopters, choosing to leave dogs in kennels and cages or euthanized in shelters when there are perfectly suitable homes eagerly hoping to adopt.