With TMZ breaking the news early Saturday that President Obama was planning on adopting a White House dog from a kennel instead of an animal shelter as promised, we could only hope that this was some classic form of gossip. Alas, it’s now true that the first dog will come from a breeder in Texas — and sentiments across the web have echoed disappointment in the choice.
“This is a missed opportunity to set a pet-adoption trend among Americans,” says Abbie Moore, executive director of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “With pet relinquishment up 20 to 30 percent due to the poor economy, pets in shelters can use all the help they can get.”
As an obvious preemptive counter to the growing chorus of people chanting “Bummer!”, the Obama family have pledged a donation the United States Humane Society in Washington D.C. (Actually, there’s some debate as to what Humane Society might benefit. From what we can tell, it will either be the Washington Humane Society or a branch of the HSUS. TBD. From the organization’s website,
The Humane Society of the United States congratulates the Obamas on bringing a new dog, Bo, into their family, and thanks them for taking in a second-chance dog. Bo is a Portuguese water dog who was apparently returned by the family that originally purchased him. “Americans can follow this positive example by visiting their local animal shelter or breed rescue group, and giving another dog or cat a second chance at a loving home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.
“And President Obama can do even more for animal protection through the policies of federal agencies that deal with the welfare of millions of pets, helping us enforce existing animal welfare laws and cracking down on the national shame of rampant puppy mills in America.”
At the very least, we thank President Obama for drawing attention to the plight of shelter dogs — and for making a donation to the Humane Society. We’re sure Bo will have a most-loving family and equally beautiful life at the White House. Obviously, we wish that the pup could have come from a shelter, but hope the promotion and support of animal rescue shelters and organizations around the country continues to be a part of this administration.
But seriously — what a bummer.
[UPDATE: PETA's response....]
[UPDATE 2: We've collected some comments from around the animal world here...]