Pet vetting: how do shelters know who not to adopt to?

Valley News Live) - A Moorhead man charged with torturing and killing three animals last year was thought to have been sighted recently at an animal shelter in South Dakota.

Twenty-four-year-old, Jalan Greer, was recently accused of breaking parole by trying to adopt an animal.

Sturgis, S.D. police chief Geody VanDewater now says he thinks it was a case of mistaken identity. He says that though the two men could have been twins, there were some slight differences in build, piercings and tatoos.

Greer had just finished serving a two month jail sentence, and has two years of supervised probation, during which time, he's not allowed to possess any animals.

Meanwhile, this case had us wondering: what’s the vetting process, when shelters adopt out to potential owners?

Over at Gate City Bank in Moorhead, a local pet rescue crew tries to encourage adoption.

But as much as they want to see their animals in permanent homes, Diamond in the Rough Pet Rescue director, Robert Ross, says the foster-furries can't just go anywhere.

"Our adoption process we go through is very stingent and very strenuous...they fill out a questionnaire...about their animal preference, where they live, how big the house is," Ross said.
The shelter also vets previous pets.

"What kind of animals they have,” he said, “are they spayed, neutered, vaccinated, how many animals have you returned, put down in the past, things like that."

Ross says after all that, they verify the info with the owners' veterinarians. But that's not all.

"We'll then go into a home visit with the family to make sure they were able to follow up with all the information they gave us,” he said. “And also gives us a chance to walk through and see if there's other hazards we hadn't seen before."

And in Fargo, Homeward Animal Shelter’s Heather Klefstad says the workers don't necessarily visit homes—but they have their own way of vetting potential adopters.

"Just wanting to make sure these animals go to a good home and that they're gonna be cared for and loved and taken care of," Klefstad said.

Manager, Heather Clyde, says the shelter has its own long list of requirements to fulfill.

"We listen to what people say,” Clyde said, “and sometimes what they say and what they write down on the application or what their reference says doesn't match up."

Clyde says she trains her workers to read between the lines: like one time years ago, when someone was looking at a beagle.

"When I mentioned, you know, ‘She does tend to bark a lot,’ he mentioned, ‘Well, if she barks a lot, I'm just gonna tape her mouth shut,’” Clyde said. “So instantly, red flag."

Clyde and Klefstad tell us they keep a “do not adopt” list—which recent animal offender, Jalan Greer is on.

"We're always watching out for those things,” Clyde said, “and trying to keep up to date with any news stories about cruelty or abuse, and making sure those people do not get an animal from our facility."

Though, Clyde tells us, some people are put on the list for minor issues—like living in a non-pet-friendly home—and depending on circumstances, they can be removed from the list.