Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

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Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:36 am

I am posting this to clarify (hopefully once and for all) the true facts about our rehoming service and specifically the reason we require you to a) be a member when applying and b) remain a member while adopting.

The prime reason is that when we take in animals from members of the public, we give a promise that these animals will only ever be placed with knowledgeable members. We also give a promise that they will remain the legal property of the Tortoise Trust (backed up by the Jill Martin Fund in addition). This is the only legal avenue by which we can lawfully and in perpetuity prevent them being sold on or passed to unsuitable third parties. Any organisation that rehomes without such an clause in effect cannot do this, as title will pass to the new owner and there is nothing on this earth that the organisation can then do to prevent them ending up on sale or being passed to a completely unsuitable third, fourth, or fifth party.

People need to be aware of this when placing animals for adoption. If they rehome to anyone who then passes on title, all control over that animal's future is lost. It is as simple as that, which is why we have always insisted on doing things in such a way that avoids this possibility.

We are the first to admit that no system is perfect. People can (and have) lied. People can (and sadly sometimes do) try to "cheat the system" by breaking the covenants that they have given. Sadly, one cannot totally exclude the worst sides of human nature surfacing, even in animal rehoming. Fortunately, this is quite rare. Most people are honest and are fundamentally decent enough to recognise that having voluntarily made an agreement the honourable thing to do is to abide by it.

I have seen the requirement to remain a member described as a "hidden charge". That is absolutely absurd. There is nothing "hidden" about it. It is clear, prominently displayed and is totally upfront. You agree to remain a member while adopting. This is to provide long-term security for the animals involved (see above). If you can no longer care for them, they can be placed with another member. This fact is clearly stated on the website adoption information pages (http://www.tortoisetrust.org/activities/adoption.htm) an is also on all of the adoption papers. This has been the case ever since we started, and is well understood, for exactly the reasons stated above.

If someone who is adopting does not wish to remain a member, you can cease at any time. In order for us not to breach our undertaking to the person who placed the animals, you must then place them back with us, however. We will then rehome to another member.

If you do not like these terms, or change your mind, do not apply to adopt or notify us that you wish to cease adopting.

Regarding any veterinary costs of animals you are fostering, provided we are notified in advance, we do offer to cover these. What we cannot do is cover the veterinary costs if we are NOT consulted in advance (save in extreme emergencies). Part of the formal agreement states that we MUST be notified and consulted if the animal becomes ill (or dies). We will then discuss the options with you. This may involve receiving treatment from one of the Tortoise Trust vets, or it may involve us in covering treatment with your own vet. This, again, is one of the reasons why we run the system as we do. It does allow us to authorise treatment and to meet costs. Very few other organisations (I am not aware of any, in fact) in the UK can or will do this.

The requirement for continued membership has two further critical advantages:

1) It means we can easily contact you to keep you informed by means of the Newsletter, or privately, if new husbandry information is available, or if there is any problem with other animals that may have been in contact with the one being fostered. It also allows us to know where these animals are. From time to time we do ask for reports.

2) It allows us to lawfully authorise veterinary treatment. It also means that vets can disclose information about and discuss the case with us - again, this would be impossible if title was with a third party as this could breach client confidentiality. It also allows our own vets to have oversight of ALL animals under our care. This can have important implications should there be any contagious disease outbreak, for example.

That is, in brief, why we run the system in this way.

I also take this opportunity to correct some further misinformation.

There is NO prohibition on breeding from fostered animals, unless it is for health reasons (elderly female, for example).

Any offspring belong to the fosterer. Not to us. If you do wish to breed, you will be responsible for any microchipping costs or attendant veterinary costs resulting from breeding activity. We do expect proper humane and welfare conditions in respect of captive breeding activities to be met, and we also require you to comply fully with CITES legislation (if applicable).

The last thing we ever want do do is remove tortoises from good homes. However, having that available is important if things go badly wrong. Unfortunately, this has happened, though thankfully, very rarely. Those who think this is excessive should ask themselves "If I ever had to rehome my tortoises, would I want to place them with an organisation that has no powers, and no ability, to recover them and remove them to a place of safety if the original new home went horribly wrong?". I think the answer from most people would be a resounding "No". This is simply a safety measure to be used as a means of last resort. It is rarely needed, but if the circumstances justify it, we WILL enforce it.

I hope this clarifies the matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us.

Andy Highfield
Tortoise Trust
 
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Vicky » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:57 am

All seems fair to me. I'm hoping to adopt a tortoise/s from the TT at some point so Im glad you posted these.

Oh the only thing you havent mentioned is if there is a adoption fee.
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby JimQ » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:59 am

Hi Vicky,

I think I'm right in saying that Customs and Excise charge the £10.00 fee to the trust. And the C & E Fee is passed on to the person adoting. It's not a TT fee.
Jim.
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:08 am

There is NO FEE for normal adoptions whatsoever.

In the very specific case of customs animals, C&E charge us £10.00 per animal (unless we can get this waived). We simply ask those taking the animals to cover this fee at the same rate as otherwise, we would frankly not be able to afford to take in large seizures in the first place. Given the poor health of the hingebacks in particular, I am writing to them about these as I personally feel that we should not be facing a £10 per animal fee where they are in this condition.

The Tortoise Trust itself charges ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for rehoming either to the people handing animals in, or to those providing homes.

Andy
Tortoise Trust
 
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Location: Almeria, Spain

Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Vicky » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:18 am

Oh right, yeah I knew about the C&E fee but thought there would be an adoption fee as well.

I guess you welcome donations though :P
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:28 am

We actually do not - and never have - asked for or in any other way solicited donations in respect of rehoming. The two are totally unconnected. No-one has EVER been asked to donate a single penny either when handing animals in, or when fostering them. It has always been our strict policy that rehoming has nothing to do with money or ability to pay at all. It is something we have always been at pains to keep 100% separate.

Suitability for rehoming is assessed on the quality of care you can provide and not on ability to "donate".

Andy
Tortoise Trust
 
Posts: 8866
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:07 pm
Location: Almeria, Spain

Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Vicky » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:49 am

Dont get me wrong I wasnt saying in the hope that it would make me a better candidate for adopting, I just wondered if I wanted to make a donation of some sort if it would be acceptable thats all.

I know how hard rescue work can be, was just an idea.
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Evie » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:55 am

Is your on-line husbandry course a requirement before you consider an applicant for rehoming?

Initially when you give a tortoise up for adoption they have had a health check - if anyone takes on a tortoise that has been identified with a problem then it seems fair enough that you help cover the vets costs . Unless soon after the adoption an underlying problem occurs surely people do not expect to have the vets bill paid for the duration by a charitable organisation - does that not slightly defeat the object of taking a tortoise on!

Anne
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Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby Tortoise Trust » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:27 pm

Anne,

No, it is not a requirement. We do need to know that anyone taking animals on does have a very good, basic level of knowledge, however. That can be demonstrated in any number of ways: having taken courses, or simply having a lot of experience and being able to show that you have an excellent set-up, etc.

We place many animals with people who have not taken the course - these people are simply known to be good, experienced keepers.

Regarding vets fees, we know that many prefer to cover the costs of routine treatment themselves, however, we are there in the event that something serious arises. As stated, though, we do need to be consulted if a fostered animal becomes ill.

I would also point out that if we did not retain title (legal ownership) of the animals we COULD NOT legally authorise any form of invasive veterinary treatment for them. Only the "owner" can do that. This is another reason why we have the system set up the way it is. We believe the advantages of doing it this way vastly outweighs the drawbacks.

Andy
Tortoise Trust
 
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:07 pm
Location: Almeria, Spain

Re: Tortoise Trust Rehoming Policies

Postby lynn c » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:27 pm

This all seems very fair.I would want to know my torts were being cared for properly if they ever needed rehoming.
I to would like to rehome a tort one day. I feel I need to get more experience first as I am fairly new to this. I am taking the TT course to help me learn about all types of tortoise not just meds like mine.
The TT does a great job and I feel acts very responsibly in its approach to rehoming.

Lynn
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