GARD, as seems the norm for their organization, fails miserably at the execution phase of a plan. While watching the “rescue” of the 200-some-odd Pomeranians I noticed GARD suddenly began charging a $10 “application fee”/”donation” (depending on the post) for all their animals. I’m not sure of the precise date on which this change was implemented—sometime between March 1 and April 27th—but by April 26th they were bringing in the cash.
For example, these five Dachshund puppies for which GARD charged $500 each.
Rescue organization application fees aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Requiring an applicant to demonstrate honest intent by investing money in taking the first step is an excellent method of weeding out the insomniac who fills out an application on a whim. Typically an application fee is subtracted from the adoption fee or refunded to a rejected applicant.
When an organization uses this method, excellent record-keeping and punctual data updates are absolutely required to prevent overlapping applications for the same animals. Even the most punctual webmaster can’t prevent the occasional multiple applications for an animal but that’s not the norm and when it does occur, the organization refunds the erroneous fees following documented processes.
So let’s calculate the income if all 120 of their on-site dogs (GA Dept of Agriculture 07/23/2020, notes) received the same proportion of applications.
Surely that calculation isn’t accurate as not every dog was splashed all over Facebook but the money adds up quickly. For the five Dachshunds above, GARD made $3,500 for nothing, not even a guarantee they would open the emailed appli—uh, is it a “donation” when they decide to delete the email unopened, or is it still an “application fee?” Add the $500 sale price per pup and it’s a cool $6,000.
GARD’s complete failure to deal with complications any reasonably intelligent adult could predict ought not surprise me but it does. What happens when system glitches/user errors/ misunderstandings occur? GARD’s response is, “you did it, tough luck.”
In the non-retail rescue world such behavior would have state and/or federal regulators knocking at a business’ door.
I’m guessing Victor Tetreault, a long time GARD board member and Savannah attorney, learned of the application fiasco and told them to shut it down since without explanation, the application fee disappeared from GARD’s recent Facebook posts. Or maybe someone else warned them of the civil and regulatory consequences. Whichever the case, everyone who sent that $10 “application fee/donation” should open a PayPal dispute for services not rendered.
I was mistaken. GARD has not rescinded the fee/donation/whatever despite the lack of mention in their comments, posts and those of others commenting on the page. Mea maxima culpa.