Hannah is not as humane as you may have thought


KGW Photo

By Ally Grimaldi, Copy Editor

Hannah the Pet Society’s Pet Parenthood. Redefined. is right—try a RENT-A-DOG service exceeding the price tag of $20,000 in the animal’s lifetime, and all this for a dog you don’t even truly own! But wait, there’s more! The company reserves all rights to take whatever medical liberties they choose, including euthanasia, with or without the adopted owner’s consent. Sounds like a bargain! If interested, you can reach Hannah at 555-KILLINGDOGSISFUN, or at their local pet hospital located on The-price-of-your-college-tuition Drive. Hope to see you there!

All jabs at classy infomercials aside, Hannah the Pet Society, a local pet adoption service, does offer pretty unique services to animal lovers. For the “low monthly fee” of $129 base price, Hannah provides “pet insurance” for animals adopted from their company. This includes servicing food for the animal and medical expenses like veterinary visits, vaccines, dental care, and parasite control. The company alleges that they make “pet parenthood” more affordable because they pay for unexpected health scares, but there is little evidence to support this claim. This plan might sound all good and dandy, but Hannah’s adoption model does not come without a cost (figurative, in this case, but their program is also priced exponentially higher than it should be). By signing a contract with Hannah, you are relinquishing all rights to ownership of the animal you are “adopting.” There’s a reason why the company calls it “Pet Parenthood”—because it is not actually ownership. Moreover, an adoption legally authorizes Hannah to make final life decisions for your pet, which includes euthanizing the animal if they so choose, with or without your permission. However, this aspect of their business is not something Hannah advertises; the corporation represents itself as a “No-Kill” shelter.

Their alleged policy on euthanasia is one of the reasons why the Humane Society had been partnered with them since 2011, and had majorly bolstered their business as one where a pet could find a good home. That is, until recently, when the story of Hannah’s unnecessary euthanasia on three dogs broke out. Pip, Kelso, and Charlie Bear, a Terrier mix, Black Lab, and Chihuahua mix respectively were the victims of Hannah’s false advertising. Accused of aggressive tendencies, the dogs were euthanized by the agency without giving the former owners notice or returning the dogs to the original partner shelter, a provision upon which Hannah and the Humane Society had agreed. Upon hearing the news, the Humane Society dropped Hannah faster than Fido can wag his tail at dinner time, and who could blame them?

However, this is not your typical “dangerous dogs” case, as Hannah displays it. In all claims, the dogs never exhibited aggressive tendencies, and according to the Humane Society, the former caretaker of the dogs, they never should have been euthanized. “These dogs were fine,” said Lori Furman, board president at the Humane Society. “One was a puppy. [Hannah’s] assertions that they were aggressive were nonsense.”

While the events were tragic and clearly unnecessary, Hannah the Pet Society was within its rights to euthanize the animals. Under Oregon law, an owner can kill their pet for any reason they want to, as long as the death is humane. Since the dogs were technically property of Hannah the Pet Society, the euthanasia was legal. Furthermore, Hannah is still authorized to keep the “No-Kill” title; as long as the euthanasia stays below a certain percentage, the corporation is in the clear.

This is only one of the ways that Hannah the Pet Society manages to deceive the public behind closed doors. Since 2010, Hannah has been served with two lawsuits and 10 complaints filed with the Department of Justice. These complaints include miscommunications with explaining the ownership model, not providing proper care for pets, and charging more than originally quoted. All of these claims were dismissed after having been categorized as “misunderstandings”—things that owners hadn’t realized they had signed off on. The deceptive legal jargon within the contracts is likely the cause for this confusion, and the company’s sneaky measures serve as a true testament to their business. “I had never heard anything good from them,” said Tina Stewart, founder of Tender Care Animal Rescue in Vancouver. “I just don’t believe in renting a pet. If you want to rent something, rent a car… It’s just about money. There’s no regard for the animal. It’s like they don’t have feelings.”

Looking into the sweet, gentle eyes of Pip, Kelso, and Charlie Bear, it’s difficult to imagine what kind of human would have had the hatred within his heart to kill them. According to all accounts, the dogs had never shown signs of aggression, even in the slightest sense of the term. Furthermore, is euthanasia based on minor aggressiveness morally right? Sometimes I get a little snappy on others, especially when they’re asking for it. Does that mean that I need to be euthanized? No, of course not. So why do we treat animals differently? Aren’t animals deserving of the same respect and care that we treat humans with?

We do not kill grumpy or violent humans, and our pets deserve the same. Euthanasia is there in order to help creatures who are suffering and are in extreme pain; we don’t kill animals who are unpleasant or just because we can. That logic is just about as ethical as the idea of renting a dog.