Farmers Can be Trusted With Livestock but Certainly Not a Pet

Behind every great farmer... Photo Credit: Debra Murphy
Behind every great farmer… Photo Credit: Debra Murphy

Lynda Raffard is responsible for the health and well being of four children, 30-plus dairy cows, two dogs, two horses, a few barn cats, several chickens and a handful of goats. She is not, however, responsible enough to “adopt” a dog from a shelter. Why? Because the dog will not sleep “with the family.” Rural and farm properties are not always a fit for re-homing a dog, says Manitoba Mutts, a dog rescue shelter.

Never mind that the dog would have access to a garage, barn and insulated dog house. Never mind that the dog would spend nearly every waking minute with a human at its side (much unlike the city-dwelling dog that is alone for a huge chunk of each day). Never mind that the dog will be active, and capable of fulfilling all the necessary activities that make dogs dogs, like running, walking, sniffing, rolling, herding, hunting, digging and more. No, a rural or farm-based home is simply too risky, says an organization that is “desperately in need” of finding homes for dogs and cats.

A representative with Manitoba Mutts, says via email, “We do only adopt to homes where the dog will be indoors with the family to sleep, spend time with them, and when home alone. Unfortunately we see lots of dogs come from outdoor situations that were not so great, so we want to ensure their safety by making sure they are indoor animals, spending time outdoors with their family.”

This isn’t just a Manitoba Mutts policy, either. The Winnipeg Humane Society has a similar one, with some exceptions, as do many other dog rescue associations across Canada.

I’d argue that a dog on the farm leads a great life, just as good if not better than a dog kept in the city. By Houston’s own logic, city dwellers shouldn’t be allowed to adopt either — just recently, six dogs died of heatstroke after being left in the car of a dog walker. (How many farmers require the services of a dog walker? Just putting that out there).

Having criteria before a dog or pet is placed in a home makes sense, (though, really, we’re talking about animals here. They are property, not people), but to institute a blanket policy because of some “not so great” experiences is simply short-sighted and, frankly, upholds a double standard.

And did you catch that I mentioned Raffard is a dairy farmer? She is. She cares for over 30 1,500-pound dairy cows — fine-tuned milk makers that require constant care, precision feeding and protection of their health and well being. In return, they produce litres of milk for us to enjoy fresh, or as cheese and yogurt. Raffard is not just capable of caring for animals, she does it for a living and on a far greater scale than caring for a pet.

She’ll find a new dog, you can be sure of that. And that dog will live a wonderful life on the farm, doted on by four kids and allowed to run and truly be a dog every single day. How many urban dwellers can promise that?

Editor’s note:
Colleen Holloway is the marketing and PR manager for Manitoba Mutts. I spoke with her about this situation, one, she says, is the result of a volunteer who was too quick to turn an applicant away without due process. For that, they have apologized.

Holloway says that Manitoba Mutts is proud of its track record of having placed approximately 70 dogs on farms or rural properties in the last two years. She says that the organization considers rural- and farm-based adoptions on a case by case basis; there are no absolutes. In the case above, the request by Ms. Raffard should have been taken to management to review.

The organization’s stated policy on placing dogs, both urban and rural, is this:

-4 dog per household limit.
-no chains
-no sleeping outside and therefore must have access to a heated barn, garage, other proper shelter, not a heated dog house
-Must interact with people in a positive manner daily
-Must not have short fur if being adopted as a working dog during the day to withstand the elements
-Must not be running at large while people are away from the property
-All animals in the adopters care must be fixed unless reasonable reasons are given as to why not.
-Have good references

41 thoughts on “Farmers Can be Trusted With Livestock but Certainly Not a Pet

  1. As a dog owner living in a rural area, I do agree with allowing dogs being able to be outside and with people during the day. It is important to their mental health to be allowed to be dogs. I do think however it still comes down to the individual dog owner. I have seen many, many dogs living on farms or in the country that run rampant. This is dangerous to themselves, drivers, and other dogs and is certainly not a safe way to keep an animal. The flip side is the dog is tied, which greatly limits the behaviours you described, or fenced, which limits interaction with their people- important behaviour for a pack-oriented animal. Country living does not automatically make it a perfect place for a dog, just like living in a city isn’t a precursor for a frustrated and bored dog.

  2. Responsible owners exist everywhere, especially on the farm, and the “disneyfication” of animals has taken us down the road of them being ‘fur babies’ and away from them being co-workers, guardians, companions and pets.

    Perhaps the answer is a Rural oriented, farmer friendly rescue movement? Pairing the right breeds of dogs with the right farm environment. 🙂

  3. Hi, I am the director of Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue. It is very unfortunate that articles like this are written out of context and without proper knowledge of processes. I believe it harms the lives of animals who could be placed into loving farm homes. We have lovingly placed many many dogs to out of town homes when there is shelter for them during cold winter nights and if the dog is a fit. Obviously a dog with separation anxiety, not good with other animals etc would not be a good candidate as a farm dog and sometimes we don’t have the right fit, but we are always open to finding a loving placement. For the record, I am the one who makes the final decisions on anything needing rectifying and was not spoken to about this. I hope this article hasn’t persuaded loving homes to not come forward and adopt a pet when our province is in crisis with 10,000 strays needing homes. Also, very unprofessional to use someone’s name in a public forum without asking them first. We will be discussing this with our lawyer.

    1. While I know you are trying your best to get pets into good homes I believe your policy is actually preventing that from happening the best it could. The requirement of “needing a shelter” is too strict a policy. Never will a dog sleep in my home. My dog is my pet, not my kid. So, my dog lives outside all year long on the farm, including the brutal winters. And he is happy to see me, tail wagging, every cold winter morning I go out for chores. He sleeps in a dog house that is non-heated and he is as healthy as can be. So why these absurd restrictions when owners like us are quite capable in caring for healthy pets? I tried going through your organization to get myself a new farm dog and instead had to buy from a private seller, when in reality I could have had a pet from your organization and raised him in just the same way as I raise my dog now.

      Also, you complaint about your name being used in a public forum sounds childish. Happens all the time. Think about politicians, athletes, teachers, police officers, religious priests etc. Their names are used all the time in public forums and often in a critical sense. It’s just a part of public life and one doesn’t need your permission before they criticize you or your organization.

      1. Mike Terry:

        Maybe you believe your Dog is fine outside in all weather in a un-insulated Dog House because you give them no other choice?
        I guess your Dogs either stay in a wooden Box and suffer or freeze to death in the snow.
        My suggestion is to raise a insulated Dog house off the ground with a extended roof, double compartment, 4 foot overhang so no wind gets in next to the wooden box you provide and see what they choose.
        If I were a Rescue, I would suggest that you offer a Choice first before I would even consider you to Adopt a dog.
        Some Dogs are meant to be outside, some Dogs sleep on top of their Dog Houses, but that does not meant you offer any less to that Dog. You still need to provide a basic insulated shelter.

    2. Personally I find your defense quite interesting Rebecca, especially that you’re going to talk to a lawyer, did they misquote you? Did the policy change since last years Red River Ex? Because I was talking to Manitoba Mutts there and asking if it would be possible to get a medium/large breed dog that could live out on a farm as my parents current farm dog is getting very very old and it’s time to start looking to getting a young dog that he can show the ropes to. And the answer I got was a flat out ‘No we do not adopt out to farms ever because we can’t drive out there to check on them and they won’t be treated properly.’ (I point out a won’t, not a might not and I remember this especially because I wanted to knock the ladies teeth in for the assumption)

      So either you have indoctrinated your volunteers incorrectly (though it may have been you I don’t know I don’t remember a name tag) or you are back peddling because your association currently looks bad while begging for homes to take in dogs.

      And trust me when I say you should believe that a farmer will work to make sure the dog understands what is happening, a dog with separation issues still has to deal with an owner that goes away for 9-10 hours in a house or not. This time of the year? Farmers maybe get 8 hours of sleep (my parents are currently averaging 6) and trust me if a dog is fussing outside the farmer will get up and check regardless of the hour, will the working city owner come back part way through work to make sure the dog is okay?

      Our last dog was a rescue, we picked him up as a puppy off the side of the road. And we gave him a home and more companionship than any of my neighbours dogs here in the city. Absolutely zero knowledge of his past, what had happened to him aside from he was clearly hungry and abandoned, and it took two years of fighting with him to get him to stop being destructive but we have now had another 11 years of a good farm dog from an abandoned hungry puppy (with stupid big feet that’s how we knew he’d be a big dog) that just need a home with love and a firm hand. We are currently looking to get a dog from either a breeder or a pet store. If we are lucky a local dog will have an ‘accidental litter’ and we can get one of those if it’s the right sort of dog. And if we talk about this to shelters we get told to change how we treat our dogs and that we shouldn’t do what we do and that we are being heartless to countless unwanted dogs in shelters.

      But at this point I will likely never own a rescue dog because if my parents can’t have one, and they are at home all the time (And if they aren’t they have three neighbours that come and check on the animals and one set of friends that will drive 20 minutes to check on them from another town!), I don’t feel I as a business woman who is away from my house for 9 hours a day in the city should have one. It is wrong and a horrific double standard. Checking the farm seeing how the current animals are doing? Seeing how they behave? Is there an older dog there to show them the ropes? If there isn’t see how the farmer goes about integrating the dog into it’s new life for a day (heck they’ll probably make the volunteer a meal to boot because that’s what most farmers do!). Perfect!

      But don’t get uppity because something like this comes out in the public when it’s completely true.

    3. These types treat dogs like human children, often not having the real kind. The real problem here is with their psychosis, you can’t expect rational thinking from them.

  4. Every single rescue in canada has the same policy. Working with a Winnipeg rescue myself, I see where 90% of these dogs come from. They are abused, starved, sick and scared. Some rescues will adopt the RIGHT dog to a farm life, with strict rules. These dogs deserve to be family and many don’t have any recall or know boundaries. Therefore living free on a farm will end horribly in many cases. Rescue workers work endlessly to rehab these dogs, and remember most of these dogs live in foster homes, knowing love and companionship INSIDE a house, not in a garage or dog house. So to change them from that to a farm life, would simply be wrong. Maybe you need to read more on rescue dogs and the organization you have wrongly accused of being discriminatory. The work local rescues do is amazing.

    1. As the person above mentioned, rescue groups work with abused and neglected dogs on a regular basis. and these dogs are all rehabbed INSIDE homes. Very few rescues have shelters, so the dogs learn to live inside a house. I personally do not understand how you can leave a dog outside all year. But that is just my opinion. I grew up on the ranch, and our dogs lived in the house at night and when we were indoors.
      Regardless. the one thing I found offensive is the statement ” (though, really, we’re talking about animals here. They are property, not people). That speaks volumes about the person writing the article. Dogs are property in the eyes of the LAW. They are living breathing sentient beings. Someone with that slant on dogs would not get one from my rescue either.
      Our group specializes in herding breeds. I would adopt a working dog out to a ranch or farm in a heartbeat IF and ONLY IF they were considered a pet, a working member of the family and not a piece of a equipment that can be disposed of at will.
      In the end, the rescue has the right to ensure, after all the work and finances put into the animal, what is a suitable home.
      I have done a home visit on one farm and I wanted to take their dogs into rescue they were in such deplorable shape, including crap food strewn all over the ground and no shelter from the cold. I have also been to some farms where I had hoped they would adopt ME as it was such a nice place and such good caring people.
      There are two sides to every story, and somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
      Good job Rebecca. Keep up the good work.

      1. What amazes me is your disbelief that a dog can’t live outside in the cold. If you know anything about nature foxes, coyotes, and wolves all live wild, without heated shelter throughout the cold winter. A farm dog also can handle the winter. Since my early childhood I have had 4 farm dogs and all have lived outside during the winter without heated shelter. They all lived past 10 years. So no, it is not a problem to have them outside, just over concerned people like you who treat a dog like a child.

        Secondly a dog is property. Like someone else mentioned, they are not children. And if you are scared that a farmer will treat a dog like farm equipment then you are worrying for nothing. Farmers take amazing care of their farm equipment. They put hours into maintaining their $500,000 combines. You should be happy if the dog is treated like equipment.

        Finally, the fact this article is spreading like wildfire all over my facebook news feed shows that there actually is a problem and that farmers feel discredited by this organization. Farmers who have owned healthy dogs for years are getting denied. That’s BS. Even if the dog is used to living in a home environment, they can adapt.

    2. This sort of nonsense is what gives no kill shelters a bad name. While you hold onto the dog in your shelter, waiting for the ‘perfect’ home you are denying another a dog that place. Instead they end up in a kill room of a kill shelter.

      It is time for non kill shelters to start CARING about all dogs and cats, not just the ones that have been surrendered to them.

      I can see restrictions like on hair coat length, but even there that fails. Labs and a lot of lab crosses are happy outside when it is cold. By the way, WHAT is wrong with a heated dog house?

      When I was 5, Santa brought me a 6 month old Irish Setter puppy. She was never a house dog, but when she was sick, my dad went and bought steak, better steak than he bought for my mom when she was sick and he cooked it for Ginger. When we lost her, all of us cried. My dad took time off work to make her a casket. My mom lined it in a soft flannel that went and bought for that purpose. Ginger was LOVED even though she never slept in the house a single night of her life. BTW, we did not live in the country, we lived in the city on a large lot.

  5. I have no doubt the rescuers do good work. I have no doubt some people abuse their animals. That’s not the issue; the issue is the refusal to allow a dairy farm to own a pet, in this instance.

    And the farmer was denied, for moronic reasons. All of the animal’s needs would have been provided.

    Once again: pets are property, not people.

  6. You’re right, CJ. Abused indoor dogs would totally be used to decadent indoor treatment, and lavish meals. This would certainly make the transition to sheltered and properly fed outdoor life unbearable.

    1. When dogs come from northern communities to a rescue they are brought into a foster home. Where they are taught the ropes. They cannot go from learning to love the indoor life to back to going outside. That makes no sense! If rescues get previous farm dogs they normally adopt those out as farm dogs as that makes sense. Taking a dog who fended for itself, doesn’t work out. They don’t know the difference between a calf and a dog. It would not end nicely.

      Everyone can rescue a dog. They just need to do their research. The lady did the right thing and emails and got the same exact response many many rescues will give.

      Also, rescued dogs are 90% mutts, meaning they don’t have the proper personality traits to be working dogs.

  7. Are you discriminating based on race, CJ? Good thing animals are property, or you could be facing a human rights tribunal.

    In fairness, I couldn’t really follow your rambling diatribe. It’s totally contradictory to itself, at three distinct places. but I will point out these farmers wanted a pet. Not a labourer, but a companion.

  8. This is ridiculous. I’ve known Lynda almost my entire life. If anyone can care for a dog, it’s her and her fabulous family. Her oldest daughter is one of the most responsible children you’ve ever met. Funny how this is the second deserving rural family I know very well who have been denied a pet through this organization. To the woman who says she makes the final decisions-get out of your office and actually do your homework. You lost two good homes. If the pets were that important to you, it’s the least you can do. But then again, you’re obviously a city dweller who believes that you should never leave the perimeter. If you had actually researched this family, you would’ve asked her how many dogs she wanted, instead of denying them one. Rather than wasting your money and threatening a lawyer, how about you fill up your gas tank and visit those homes of deserving rural families that you are denying? An “indoor” pet can easily adapt to being an “outdoor” pet. I’ve done it enough times. Oh wait. Maybe that makes me an animal abuser.

  9. These organizations eventually attract individuals who have crusader complex. They’re not rehoming dogs, they’re feeding a neurosis.

    Instead of finding good homes for unwanted dogs, they “adopted” (for a significant fee). They’re not shelters, they’re “rescues”, as though the animals inside were carried from burning buildings.

    So many of these organizations are peopled by the obsessive and extremist, completely out of touch with the real world, where real people who just want to give a recycled dog a chance. And when the local strays and owner surrenders dry up, many now import dogs from other jurisdictions, or even from third world countries to restock the shelves.

    Investigate these issues before giving so much as a cent to these people.

    1. You are quite naive.

      All the rescue dogs come in as strays, abused dogs or unwanted pets. Many from northern areas where dogs run rampant.

      Dog rescue is about putting dogs that would otherwise be killed or starved into loving homes. Manitoba has one of worst over population issues in North America. There will be enough dogs for adopters for decades to come. I know there are mobile spay and neuter clinics helping to reduce this issue.

      But you need to do you research into what a rescue is first. The fee, which is around $300 for a puppy, covers all vaccines and the spay/neuter. That alone costs over $400 , so to adopt, makes much more sense! Do your research first.

      1. Humane societies have been importing pit bulls from Ontario into Saskatchewan. There are dogs moving from California into Alberta, Louisiana to Ontario, and from China, Mexico, and the Middle East into rescues around the US. There are commercial breeders who actually retail puppies through fraudulent rescue organizations. All of this has been documented and there are organizations all over Facebook openly bragging about the “lives they save” from all over the world.

        Feral dogs are part of the northern culture and have been for hundreds if not thousands of years. Their relocation has been responsible for transmitting distemper and parvo from remote communities into the cities. If rescues need to go that far afield to find dogs to rehab, chances are they’ve outlived their usefulness.

  10. I don’t live on any sort of working farm, but I do live in the country on acreage.
    We recently looked into adopting a needy dog into our family, not only was I declined instantly, but I was insulted in the process.
    Our dogs sleep inside our house, in their own plush beds, or ours (more often than I’d like to admit). Someone in the family is home 90% of the time, and play/walk/run with our pets regularly.
    All of this aside, apparently our home is not only dangerous but is irresponsible to have dog who would not be chained up or fenced in ( even though I clearly stated that there would be a transition period for a stray).
    I was shocked to be shut down so quickly, and didn’t even have a fair chance to explain our own home. if the reasons for their decline were explained, maybe I would have been educated on their protocol, but instead I was told they didn’t have ANY dogs for me, aka I’m done talking to you.
    I was left feeling disrespected and judged and unfortunately would not be supporting their rescue in the future.

  11. This is clearly an opinionated article written with the purpose to diminish the work and purpose of a rescue shelter. Why? because someone was turned down as an adopter? Could it be possible that the dog being considered was or is not suitable for a “farm” environment?
    Why is this being turned into a “farmers aren’t good enough” issue?
    Did the shelter specifically say “we don’t believe farmers make good pet owners? farmers are horrible people?”
    Or is this what some of you are assuming?
    Seems like someone’s feelings were hurt when they were denied (for whatever reasons good or not) and it has now become a bigger deal than it has to be.
    For those who are taking this incident personally and are making it about you instead of the issue at hand (if there is one) then you have bigger problems.

    We don’t all have to agree with an organization’s policies, they aren’t physically hurting anyone therefore to each their own. If you chose not to donate or refer this rescue shelter based on this article than we have other issues to deal with. Imagine we all jumped on the “this place sucks wagon” every time someone we knew was rejected, turned down or denied everyone would be out of business.

    This being a public forum yes Mike, no one needs a heads up if their organization’s name will be mentioned regardless if it’s on a positive or negative spin. That being said, the person who wrote this article should of gather more facts to support their point of view prior to publishing/posting this . That is of course if she/he wants this article to be taken a bit more seriously.

    On that note, to whomever is insulted and appalled by Manitoba Mutt’s decision put a band aid on your wound, suck it up and move on.

    1. A column or opinion piece is required to chose a side and defend the position. That’s why this is marked as such.

      Also, if you’d like to read up on the Manitoba Mutts policy, it’s clearly stated on their website. What I’ve presented is accurate.

      I’m not anti-shelter by any means — I believe their policies should change to include a robust vetting process to allow farms and rural properties to adopt dogs. End of story.

  12. She can cry foul but I have heard the same story repeatedly and have been refused ourselves. After checking our references who confirmed that we live on a farm (as we had already told them), we were told that a farm setting was no life for a dog!
    Let me clarify that we have no livestock, we have a large yard and at least a half mile to nearest neighbors.
    We then bought a dog that leads the happiest life with room to run or walk around (anytime) has a room with a view, always has the choice of being in or out, and has 5 cats to chum with. She doesn’t have to wait for someone to “make time” to take her for a walk, and she never leaves.
    I would find it very hard to support any organization that says they are in a crisis needing many homes for needy animals when there are many caring homes out there. They are so wrapped up in a utopian dream that can’t see the forest through their “ideals” Maybe their heart is in the right place but its time that common sense gets taken out for a walk

  13. How disappointing….this one-sided article, I mean – not Manitoba Mutts. The author didn’t even attempt to contact the organization to find out how this all occurred, you instead just listened to one side of the story and formed a biased opinion on that rather than trying to discover what actually happened. Manitoba Mutts already posted on their facebook that a volunteer replied to Lynda when they didn’t necessarily have the proper information or authority to do so. Basically, it was accidental miscommunication that got blown out of proportion. Certain dogs are not meant to be outside dogs; it’s possible the organization simply had no dogs that would be an ideal family pet for a rural home at the time.

    And now because of people only hearing one side of the story, a great organization is being bashed. An indoor dog may not necessarily be able to adopt to being an outdoor dog – every animal has a different personality and comes with different needs. I have no problem with outdoor dogs, as long as they are being taken care of, but I know that not every dog can be an outdoor dog. I’m horribly disappointed in this article and the lack of research that went into it; you wrote off Manitoba Mutts and printed this without even letting them have a chance to talk.

    Plus not all dogs are good around livestock. You need a very certain dog that can go from city living to outdoor country living with lots of other animals around that they aren’t used too. There are many factors that come into play when adopting out a dog – if Manitoba Mutts had no dog that would do well with this lifestyle, they reserve the right to refuse adoption.

    1. At no point do I suggest that every dog is suitable to a farm. In this piece, I bring up a case of a farm family being denied before even beginning the full process, simply because the dog will be on a farm and not sleep in the house.

      I have been in contact with the shelter in question, and will post their response as well (though you can clearly read their policy on their website).

  14. This is just another example of why farmers and animal owners are increasingly at odds with these so called “Animal Rights” organizations. We as farmers are losing all respect for Manitoba Mutts, Humane Society, etc, because their policies are simply not grounded in common sense. This is a real pity, because if we were able to work together we could really help each other in situations of obvious animal abuse. I run a relatively open farm and welcome a lot of visitors, but the animal rights people are one of the only people who are told to get lost if they show up on my yard. I just can’t risk getting crucified for something that doesn’t live up to their standards.

  15. As it is clearly obvious in the comments, this is not a one sided story but a story many people share.
    We are not ignorant country folk, we understand how animals are raised can effect their personalities and how they may react to an environment. It is clear that not all dogs can be suitable to a free environment and may need more structure, or that they may not be a social dog.
    Therefore, to say there is over 10,000 dogs needing homes, and there are a handful of people in this discussion that have been denied any of these dogs, without even a consideration is the problem.
    Maybe instead of threats of lawyers, they could use that money they are so willing spend, on hiring more staff to PROPERLY interview families looking to give a second chance to an animal that deserves one.

    1. I don’t think the “we will be speaking to our lawyers” is a threat, know the difference between a threat and a statement. This has become a “rural folk vs city folk” issue which is not, it’s about the misunderstanding and poor choice of words an individual made.
      If anyone doesn’t like their policies or doesn’t agree than adopt from another shelter or buy from a breeder and move on.
      Finding a place for these dogs is not just about finding a “loving home” or finding an adopter who has “children”, some of these dogs are runners, could be aggressive towards other animals, kids, fence jumpers, fearful of people, who knows maybe they are accustomed to a different environment and aren’t “suitable” for the free roam environment.

      I live in a rural area with a rescue dog, do I trust her to roam with no leash outside? sometimes. Has she chased deer? yes Has she chased a random walker yes, did she almost bite them? yes, would she chase a neighbors cat and possibly kill it? absolutely.
      Do I then go blame the shelter for giving me an unpredictable dog?
      If I was ever to re home this dog (which hopefully will never happen) I would never recommend her be placed in a farm where she can roam free all day. Some dogs are not meant to be off leash dogs or outdoor dogs plain and simple.

      To those who are farmers and continue to be harsh and hostile towards this shelter or any other shelter you don’t approve of, we as consumers will continue to buy locally even though you sound borderline hateful.

      1. Some dogs just need to be shot. Sorry if that offends you but it is true. That’s what we have been dealing with animals for thousands of years and is partly how domesticated animals have developed into the awesome creatures that they are today. We are also not being hateful, but truthful. You have grown up in some psychotic/fantasy land where dogs are treated as human and somehow humans are treated less than dogs.

        Now this is an assumption but it always comes out to be true. The people like you who play the victim card all the time (like when your organization is criticized), and love dogs (or any animal for that matter) beyond a healthy standard always seem to be raging feminists and usually never want to have kids of their own. It’s just a hunch that always ends up true.

  16. I’ve lived on a farm for 25 yrs and in town for 22 yrs. I agree with the policy’s of Manitoba Mutts. If you read it thoroughly the dog does not have to be in the house in a cuddly wuddly bed. I don’t think all dogs need to be indoor dogs but I strictly believe they should be in a shelter for the night. Red flags go up when I hear “dogs are property” well that tells me your the first person to take the dog out back and shoot them if they have a run in with a porcupine or coyote. I only know a handful of farmers that are decent dog owners. And alot that are not. I have seen some horrify stuff from my Uncle’s and my own father the lack of respect for dogs and cats. I’m very proud of my father he has changed gaining the knowledge that every breathing living being is important. We as humans have the intelligence that can make it better. I have been rescuing dogs for many years and 1 recently Rotti x hated being indoors but she had to come in for her meals at least that way she is being trained to accept going into buildings. I had another dog loved being outdoors also a Great Pyrenees X I introduced him indoors and he loved it. So dogs choose their happy place if they have a choice. Now if you say where the dog is happy that is your choice the dog has no choice. I have 5 80+ large breeds all different personalities. The dogs are awesome when you don’t treat them like property and they have no choice but to depend on humans so respect goes along way for every being. I do understand the judgemental pedestal people hate, and that is from not reading articles thoroughly, not listening to whole sentences, not collecting or complete facts of info. I think everyone is guilty, some more then others. Different strokes for different folks move on if you don’t like it

  17. J.S
    After reading all the comments, and like a lot of people posted, I live in the country on a 5 acre yard and 60 acres of farm field behind. Our family has always rescued dogs.Many we have found starving and hungry in the ditches after doing some research, I found at least 3 of our previous rescue dogs were originally adopted from a Winnipeg shelter, to live in the city all three were rottweilers, and turned out all the previous owners thought they were cute as puppies, but as they grew they got too big and took up too much space, so they drove 20mins outside the city, and just dumped them off there to fend for themselves or starve. In our rural areas this happens all the time, and if it wasn’t for the good people in our area 90 percent of them who are farmers, have always taken the dogs in to be a part of their families, and the dogs live out their lives happy, well cared for with lots of space to run and play and just be dogs. I can count 15 dogs over the last three years that were dumped, and now enjoy new lives with local farmers and country folk. As for the policies the shelters/rescue center’s have. I decided to phone the one you say you make all final decisions on. I phoned for information, I said I lived in the country on a former hobby farm which I do but said that I wasn’t looking for a working dog but wasn’t wanting a full-time inside dog, I have a double attached heated garage that’s warm in the winter, cool in the summer, a pool and several heated out buildings including a barn we converted into my gardening shed/shop. Once I was finished explaining my circumstances, I was expecting to hear the person say. I don’t make the final decisions, all potential adoptees go to our review board for rural or farm owners, but you can certainly fill out the forms to get started. Instead after explaining my circumstances, I wasn’t asked any questions at all. ..not what kind of dog I was interested in, not a single question, I was told “our policy is not to adopt dogs to farmers, that we don’t have a high success rate placing dogs with farmers, the dogs are often abused and over worked, and we don’t have the resources to conduct follow-up home visits.” It’s too big of a risk as we are looking for forever homes for our dogs, and that’s why we stick to our policy.”I replied then you obviously don’t have the dogs best interests at heart, because your turning away lots of potential adoptees who could provide a lot of these dogs with loving forever families. I find this very sad.I wasn’t asked any questions or told we evaluate potential adoptees on a case by case basis. No I was told this very broad policy and turned down before finding out anything about me. This happened last week, I don’t know when the other people from rural or farm areas were also turned away, but I don’t know when things changed. It used to be that shelters would grab at the chance to place dogs with loving forever families, who had lots of space to offer for a dog to be able to run and play and have lots of attention. Now it seems they think the perfect place for a dog is in the city where it’s owners both work full-time jobs, and dogs are stuck inside a house and the only exercise is going for a walk twice a day. Obviously that’s not always the situation, but not untrue either. Just very sad and for the sake of the dog’s I hope they rethink this policy, or if you don’t go by this policy then ensure that all the staff and volenteers are told specifically not to turn away any potential people who want to adopt regardless of their geographical location.

  18. I think what is being missed here, is that Lynda didn’t even GET to the application process to adopt a dog from manitoba mutts, she had merely sent an email ‘asking’ the policies on being a responsible farm wanting to adopt a dog. If a home visit would have happened, it may have been seen Lynda was eligible to adopt a dog, but she was declined from her inquiry email.

    Sure, as an example a dog who suffers from separation anxiety can’t be placed in a farm environment. That would be an accurate statement, but there wasn’t even a dog chosen or in question. It was an INQUIRY email she was declined from.

    1. Exactly! Rescues have policies for dog placements, and farms have specific “wants” for a farm dog — that’s fair. All I’m asking is that rescues seriously consider farms as a reasonable home option, just like urban placements, rather than discourage applicants.

  19. I’d have to say some of these policies are from a ‘city mindset’. How can someone who has no perspective on the extent any decent farmer (and I realize there are farmers and acerage owners who have treated animals poorly, same can be said for some in the city and it puts a sour taste in your mouth) will take to keep his/her livestock healthy.
    I mean I have two working german shepherds and they recieve annual shots, they are sheltered, have access to water and human company for large lengths of the day and could not be healthier.
    I have been turned down by a shelter near saskatoon due to the fact that they didn’t feel a farm was the right home to provide a dog.
    So some of these policies should be revisited, I mean really.
    Who would you want a rescue dog going to, a family which has the animal caged up or in a tiny back yard for 8+ hours a day. In which they take the dog (if they are motivated enough) to a dog park.
    Or a man/woman who cares for livestock as their career. Who day in and day out is able to be near that animal amd provide more than enough physical activity for it.
    It is just mind boggling to try and wrap your head around some of these issues arising.

  20. A note to: Rebecca, Cj, DR, Nora and anyone else that says this article is one-sided or is an attack on shelter/rescue groups plus to the farmer/country dwellers that think dogs and cats are just objects/property that is their right to own!! POLICIES NEED TO CHANGE AND ATTITUDES NEED TO CHANGE!!!!!
    WARNING: This rant will be long cause I am very passionate about this topic so if you do not wish to get a numb butt from reading it, PLEASE scroll down to the end and atleast read the FACTS!!!!
    I (as well as many others that have commented) have also been denied to adopt a large breed pup from not one but two shelters (not rescue groups) from Alberta!!
    I live on 80 acres outside Saskatoon, at the present I have a few horses, 14 cats, 2 dogs and 1 turtle, all of whom are well looked after believe me, I have plenty of vet bills to show for!! Why do I have so many cats…. because we are at a prime dumping grounds for the unwanted ones!! I have lived in this area for over 40 years and through those years my family has taken in and cared for many unwanted cats and dogs (way more cats get dumped than dogs)!! We use to buy our fresh milk from a farmer 1/2 mile up the road, in the good old days when it was allowed, not due to societies POLICIES nowadays that will charge a person from such an act but that is a whole other topic that makes my blood boil!!! Back to this topic, in the 70’s as we were kids peddling our bicycles to get the milk if we came across a box tossed in the ditch we were compelled to go look cause on more occasions than not it meant there was kittens inside, some didn’t make the toss but the ones that did we would take them home and win our parents over to keep them. We were not well off financially but we always seemed to make sure the pets were well fed and spayed/neutered. Through the years I have buried more cats and kittens that didn’t make the toss from a moving vehicle and believe me I know they have been tossed especially in winter when you can see the marks where the animal has bounced and finally came to rest in the ditch with either broken neck, broken limb or pool of blood out the nose from internal injuries!!! Well flash ahead and times have not changed on Oct/2013 I was outside when I could hear a kitten meowing loudly, at the time we only had adult cats so I began to go looking for it and sure enough found a very skinny 9-10 week old kitten, caught him and upon closer look had the signs of road rash, a cut under his eye, a torn nose and a chunk gone from his lip with a piece of gravel in it!! We knew he wasn’t just an abandoned kitten lost from his mom because all his claws were clipped. So did someone buy him from somewhere and when he was taken from his mom and littermates he started wailing cause he definitely had good pipes on him when we found him and the person didn’t care for that so they tossed him, nobody knows other than the person who had him and one tiny kitten now named Tucker!! He cried loudly all day and night until I took him to the vet the next day to check his wounds and see if he had possible internal injuries. He coward at the back of the carrier for the whole trip and didn’t say a peep so was he remembering what happened the last time he was in a vehicle?? Today he is a happy, healthy menace that we love dearly. Just a couple days ago I seen a new face looking at me through the kitchen window, a 1-2 yr. old black male, I guess it is time to start checking if he belongs to someone!!
    We always maintain to only have 2 dogs on the farm for 2 reasons, one for companionship/play together and the second reason with us anyhow they don’t seem to wander. One time I started out with one, a stray Border Collie mix from the neighbors, that every time we took him back home the next day he was back until they asked if we wanted to just keep him which we did and he never left our place for 9 yrs. So then I bought a German Sheppard pup to be his companion, and also Joey could help teach the pup all his good habits and how to stay home, a year later a stray Shep. mix pup wandered unto the property. The 3 were always playing together until a fateful day when my older 2 yr. old Shep. mysteriously died and when we had an autopsy done to see why (never know…poison, disease, etc.) we found out he had a ruptured liver possible from a horse kick but also found out he had an abnormal heart so wouldn’t have lived a long life either! After that Sheeba and Joey became inseparable until Joey finally was put to sleep cause of his old age (for those that think ALL farmers take their dogs out back & shoot them, we had the injection done by a vet…. never assume!!) I figured it was hard to lose a pet so loved that we would only keep one dog then on but Sheeba went into such a state of depression where she stopped eating and just laid in the porch so we decided to get a Rotti pup from friends that raised them. Upon doing so Sheeba regained her vigor and bonded with Samson. When Sheeba died, we didn’t get another dog right away cause Samson seemed happy even by himself but then I lost 2 cats to coyotes cause Samson didn’t care if the coyotes came into the yard or not! I hand-raised these cats from 5 days old that I got from an irresponsible farmer that let his dogs in the house but the cats(never fixed) had to live in a cold barn (cause he had no livestock) and only had dry dog food to eat so the mother cat got hit on the road probably going to search for food (Fact:cats are meat-eaters more than dogs!) I went and bought from a breeder a Pyrenees/Shep. mix pup to be a guardian dog and protect the cats and horses. Which Tasha has done an amazing job, seen her even put a run on a young cougar!! Plus Samson and her bonded so well and inseparable that when he died of cancer when he was 10, she went into a state of depression hence we come to me being rejected by the shelters. This time I thought I would do the ‘decent thing’ and adopt from a rescue group or shelter, I travelled to various shelters in Sask. but they only had adult dogs or pups from a breed that I did not prefer. I wanted a German Shep mix pup because although Tasha is good at keeping the predators away she looks like a big cuddly Teddy bear so was not aggressive-looking enough to keep human riff-raft away!! (Fact: I said aggressive-looking not that I wanted an aggressive dog, some breeds have the look or stigma that will make a person think twice before approaching!!) I chose to go with a pup because it seems to work that the older dog teaches the younger dog plus the pups grow up respecting the cats although be it a little blood shed on their noses but when you have cats that are 18+yrs. old, I think they deserve a bit of respect!! So I started looking out of province online found 2 shelters in Alberta that had batches of Husky/Shep. mix pups rescued from a reserve. So I contacted the first one filled out the adoption papers, answered the questions truthfully, was denied, they said they don’t like to adopt to farms, period!! These pups were young enough and not at the shelters/foster homes long enough to thrive as an only indoor dog with occasional outdoor activity, they could have thrived outdoors just as easy!! So truthfully filled out the adoption papers at the second one (why I say ‘truthfully’ you shouldn’t have to lie just to give a forever home to an animal!!) when I was denied this time I proceeded to ask more questions why I was not good enough!! The lady said by the form I filled out, I said I don’t crate train, I said no cause my dogs live outdoors and come and go free will out of a porch attached to the house. Plus how inhumane is it and stress does it put on an animal when it is stuck in a cage/crate while the owner is away at work for 9-10 hrs. her response was if done properly they don’t mind it! Which then I responded that was fine if it was a normal day but what stress does it go through when something happens that the owner doesn’t make it home after regular hours for example a car accident & detained a couple hours or like Saskatoon had the storm of a century and some people were stuck in traffic for more than 4 hrs. or worse yet never made it home cause they died!!! What did she think that pet was going through or thinking it was being punished for, not understanding why it was left in the crate where it is trained not to go to the bathroom, what agony does it go through!! Yet farmers and country folk are the bad owners cause we let the pets run free!! She did not have an answer, so she asked about the next question, why did I not let the dogs live in the house with me, my response was how does she think they can watch over the property/livestock from inside the house and I can’t put a dog door into the house cause I prefer to keep raccoons and skunks out! (which I do have video of a raccoon going into the porch via the dog door to get the cat food!) She said so another words at no point is the dogs in the house with me when I am watching TV or sleeping with me, what about when it is cold out. My response which at this time my cackles are starting to get up… my dogs and cats are very well looked after (some of the cats are indoor house cats), I have the vet bills and feed bills to prove it, I buy wet and dry food that doesn’t contain by-products ($$$$), the porch has a huge couch to lay on, it is heated in the winter, in the summer they have a kiddies pool filled with water to cool off in, they get plenty of play time with me cause the yard is filled with lots of toys, they get lots of brushing cause like God intended most outdoor dogs to be born with, their coat is thick with down and long guard hairs, which sadly enough Huskys, Sheppards and many other dogs that are born to live outdoor but are cooped up inside a house do not grow their natural coat!!! She had no response other than sorry we do not adopt to farms, you will have to try the ones that do! So I hung up and gave up and rescued a pup from a backyard breeder, why I say rescue is I don’t have the big bucks it would take to buy from a purebred breeder so I had to look to others for sale and the place I bought from should not be in the breeding business cause they wean the pups when they are only 4 weeks old and the dogs are so inbred some pups had deformities! I paid $150 for a male that had a growth on his head cause I felt sorry for him but my heart sank leaving behind a female with a deformed leg not knowing what her outcome would be!! I later had the vet successfully remove the growth and Duke to this day is doing well!! So thanks to SOME shelters/ rescue groups because of your policies not to adopt out to EVERY caring forever home you are keeping these backyard breeders in business!!!!!
    SO now with my rant done here is some FACTS (cause so many comments are saying it is just assumption and not facts being stated and research done!)
    FACT:There is plenty of neglectful/irresponsible urban dwellers as there is neglectful/irresponsible farmer/country dwellers
    ie: I have seen plenty of obese city dogs out walking with their owners… could they be obese cause the dog isn’t getting enough exercise, I don’t know but that is a sign of neglect if it is the reason!!!
    FACT: There is plenty of responsible/loving urban dwellers as there is responsible/loving farmer/country dwellers
    FACT: There is plenty of good shelter/rescue groups as well as not so much as bad ones but self-opinionated ones(their heart is in the right direction but their mind or opinion isn’t)
    FACT: Plenty of pets die early in life due to unforeseen circumstances NO MATTER where it is raised urban or country!!
    FACT: There is plenty of mix breed dogs do as good as a job as purebreds!! (Tasha is proof!)
    FACT: There is plenty of short hair dogs adapt and live long happy lives outdoor with proper shelter (even if it is just a heated doghouse)
    FACT: There is plenty of long hair breeds do well indoors because they also adapt (don’t grow a naturally thick coat)!!!
    FACT: Some people think it is fine to dress their pet up and treat it like a human whereas some people do not think it is fine (personal preferences…. bottom line is: Is the basic NEEDS of the animal being met… food, water and shelter!! Oh by the way the comment referring to wolves, foxes and coyotes surviving in the wild, they have shelters, it is called a den that is below freezing levels in the ground so it is warm there!!!
    FACT: Animals are not an object/piece of property/piece of equipment that does not have feelings….they love/care/grieve/feel pain, etc. as well as humans do!!! (we just had a case where someone set an illegal leg trap (with teeth) in Saskatoon and a cat got caught in it, kind-hearted people tried to rescue the cat but he managed to escape cause it was scared, they figure it has a broken leg, so the SPCA as well as others are trying to find the cat to tend to the wounds and find who set the trap!!)
    There is endless facts but the most important fact is as long as you have some people that do not have compassion for animals you WILL have abuse and neglect, so lets ALL work together and help the ones truly in need… the abundance of animals in shelters/rescue groups or ANY that are neglected or abused!! EVERY pet owner needs to be responsible for the animals in their care because they are a live creatures that can feel love as well as pain!! EVERY shelter/rescue groups has to put the NEED of the animal first (food/water/shelter/no abuse or neglect) not what they THINK or what their OPINION is that the animal should have!!!
    Sorry for the rant but this touched a raw nerve with me, I am only 44 yrs. old and have seen or heard of TOO MUCH suffering of any kind of animals that does not need to be!! Animals (not only dogs) can do so much for humans, ie: search and rescue, detech things or diseases, companionship/love unconditionally, be as good if not better than a hired hand, the list goes on!! SO PLEASE everyone treat each one no matter if it is a dog, cat, cow, pig, horse etc. treat them with RESPECT they deserve it!!!! The End!!

  21. It’s unfortunate that rescue shelters feel that they have to post and strictly follow the guidelines above. I know from personal experience that a dog on the farm typically (depends on the farm/adopter) spends more time with people as work typically occurs at home. I also find it unfortunate that a dog being kept inside a home all day while the adopter typically works out of the home is considered healthier than a farm environment.

    I realize that it is recommended to keep a dog in the home for transitioning them to the new environment. However, this can be done in any appropriate setting other than inside a home and is more dependent on the adopters skills with pets.

    Each potential adopter should be interviewed in depth before being denied based on ridiculous generalized assumptions of how a dog will be treated based on where they live. Essentially we’re looking for a good fit home, not someone with a compatible checklist. Match the characteristics of the dog with the suitability of the owner and home/farm.

    Also, rather than place the blame on the volunteer it is up to the management dictating the adoption recommendations to their volunteers/employees to ensure it is followed in a proper manner.

  22. TJ is it? Short for “lacks courage to post full name”?
    You can shoot dogs, cats, pigs, whatever animal you want that doesn’t offend me at all, by all means be trigger happy.
    I guess I was right about the hateful and angry comments, you sound like you could use a drink or 2 or 5. I don’t recall making any remarks about dogs being human nor did I say humans should/are treated less than dogs. You are right about one thing, the land I am from is full of fantasies
    ,though am no sure about the psychotic part I’ll report back on that one in case a run into a psycho.
    Assumptions are just that so feel free assume anything you want.
    I don’t play the victim as no ones has done anything to hurt me. Here are a few fun facts for you;
    I dont belong to MMDR or any other rescue.
    I don’t love all animals I have no problem on killing them and having them for lunch or dinner on a daily basis.

    I’m not really sure what your point was on the last paragraph. Basically you are saying , if someone loves animals “beyond a healthy” standard are raging feminists who never have kids of their own?? What does that have to do with the original post??
    Maybe you can tell your therapist about this amazing feminist theory you got going on,

  23. My sister in law had a similar experience with a shelter in Ontario. This is definitely not just a Manitoba issue. The shelter was at the University of Guelph where you would think having an agriculture program there they would understand the rural aspect. My sister in law works at her family farm supply business and lives 50 feet from her work place. The puppy she ended up getting for herself after being denied the rescue dog has spent every day all day with her, and every night in her house. What upset her the most was the shelter allowed her to play with and bond with the dog she wanted to adopt before denying her. It was a very heartbreaking experience for her and really did colour her viewpoint on shelters. Every case is different, just thought I would share the experience.

  24. People who have large dogs indoors (labs shepards etc) are bieng selfish pet owners inmy opinion. These dogs were never bread to be inside , they go for a walk couple times a day is very sad. As far as dogs sleeping out side, our family farm has had at least 1 or two dogs on it for 60 years and it is a fact that they stayed out side in a box of a dog house with some straw in it. I asked my grandmother how long the dogs lived and she had it written down that not one of them lived less then 9 years and the oldest 15 years . They are pets they are animals treat them as such.

  25. I was also denied adoption of a dog from the Ontario SPCA. This was very disheartening tho me since I know that there are dogs in cages that would love to spend time with 2 kids, dozens and sheep and all the acres they could run on. The reason we were denied was also since the dog would not sleep inside every night, and we also have a insulated mud room it would sleep in. If anyone wants to defend SPCA or want to comment on anything I have said please feel free to respond.

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