This info actually came from a yahoo group (Pit-Bull-Crusaders) that we are a member of, but we thought it was great info to share with with anyone looking to place a dog with a rescue, looking to adopt from a rescue or even those people interested in volunteering a the rescue.
If the rescue hesitates to provide references, ask yourself, "Why?"
What to Ask For?:
1) Vet Reference(s)-----> Is this a new vet for them? If so, ask for the name of the one they used before. Some people move because of bad rescue practices which could indicate substandard veterinarian care for their animals.
2) Have they filed paperwork with their local government to be recognized as a non-profit organization? Verify it.
3) Local Shelter reference and number
4) Local Animal Control and number
5) At least (2) adoptive homes that the rescue has adopted to
6) Local rescue group(s) that they have worked with on any level
There are many more things you can ask about beyond this list. What is important to you? Who might have that answer? How well does the rescue know their chosen breed? Are the animals handled and placed appropriately? We've heard some pretty disheartening stories regarding the outcome of animals who were not managed appropriately and were set up to fail.
Keep in mind too that sometimes a rescue's references may not tell the whole story about who they are as a group. We've heard stories about people who are engaging in unethical treatment of their animals, but they are good friends with Animal Control who overlooks it. We've also heard of another rescue that is notorious for abandoning animals in their foster home. I don't know WHY any rescue would want to treat a foster home that way, but it happens!
You can call a vet to see if they see their animals, but do you have proof that ALL of their animals are being seen there? (I'm of the personal opinion that a dog should at least be seen by the primary vet for a health checkup, even if all the procedures were done at a separate location). I've heard stories from people about adopting a dog only to realize it had NEVER seen a vet while in the rescue's care. That's absolutely frightening! Get those vet records BEFORE you adopt!
The point to all of this is to not settle for one good answer. Get as many answers and opinions as possible!
And yes, we are inviting any of you to check us out :) You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have thing else you think is pertinent to this blog post, let us know that too!
Thank you everyone!