Rescue is always right, right? Not necessarily. We have learned that sometimes a group will call itself an animal rescue when in fact it is a backyard breeding operation, pure and simple. And dog- and cat-breeding is the last thing we would ever want to support!
For the first several years of Rescue Chocolate’s existence, we prided ourselves on supporting any rescue group that came to our attention. If the group wished to partner with us on fundraising, we were happy to oblige. We offered $1 back for each product purchased by their members on our website. We also sold our products in bulk to them at below-wholesale rates for Girl Scout cookie-type drives. We didn’t ask for proof of 5013(c) status—the Internal Revenue Service’s benchmark for a non-profit organization. Instead, we trusted that animal rescuers were good-hearted souls, with or without the legal paperwork.
But we changed our policy when we learned how easy it is for conniving people to christen themselves with a cute animal-oriented moniker and then sell to the unsuspecting public their “rescued” kittens and puppies—animals which they purposely bred in often inhumane conditions, á la puppy mills. This deviousness runs counter to everything we believe!
Now we are careful to insure that the groups we support are legitimate rescues. The 501c(3) status is helpful. We also investigate how long the group has been around, what its website looks like, how active it is on social media, and the strength of its track record in placing truly homeless animals. We still want to be able to assist small, grassroots groups. But we know our customers want the assurance that we are only donating to animal heroes, not animal exploiters.
We hope that when you are ready to adopt, you will do your homework as well. Make sure the group from which you are acquiring your new best friend is in fact the rescue that it purports to be. If there is a ragtag bunch of puppies in crates on a street corner, and a rough “Cutie’s Rescue” sign tacked up somewhere nearby, be suspicious. When the clues are not quite that obvious, it is important to do due diligence.
The quickest way to put unscrupulous breeders out of business is not to patronize them. That’s one more strategy in our arsenal for achieving no-kill status nationwide!