Resolved Hope for Animals / Adoption CenterPet adoption


On Thursday, June 19, 2008, an adoption application for a calico cat named Gidget was completed by me at the PetSmart Location in Manalapan, New Jersey. On Saturday, June 21st I hadn't heard back about my application, returned to PetSmart and was provided a phone number to call. Eileen, the owner, finally returned my call and I was informed that their criteria for adoption was essentially based solely upon veterinarian history which is why I hadn't received a call back. No references were taken or checked, no employment history, educational history, questioning about current or past pets. No credit report was taken or question about home atmosphere. The biases and adoption placement decision was essentially based "solely" upon medical/veterinarian history rather than locating an appropriate, loving home environment.

After much discussion, I invited Eileen to visit my home to see the home environment in which Gidget would be residing. I have been an animals rights activist in the 80's and have rescued many pets, including the ones I currently have. Additionally, I have owned cats since I am 5 years old. Upon her arrival and further discussion it was revealed that Gidget, the cat I wish to adopt, had already been unsuccessfully placed in two previous homes, obviously placed based upon poor selection policies and interviewing criteria. The cat in question has been at Petsmart in Manalapan longer than any other cat - 4 months or longer.

Also, it appeared as if Eileen maintained poor decision making as well as interpersonal skills.

Eileen finally agreed that Gidget would find a good home here in my home. Adoption was set to take place on Friday, June 27, 2008, originally some time after PetSmart closed. A call from Eileen was received by me at 8pm to confirm the adoption that evening. I live less than 3 minutes down the block from Petsmart. Rather than deliver Gidget to me first (they would not permit me to pick her up myself), spare her further anxiety being caged for undue time, particularly because of the high humidity and heat temperatures (the heat index that day was appx 92), her age and past adoption traumas, she was caged and dragged around in a car, in the heat for more than 3 hours while kittens were delivered to another home. By 10pm I had not received a call from Eileen nor delivery of the cat.

When I phoned Eileen at 10pm, 2 hours later, to ask when she would arrive since I hadn't heard from her in 2 hours, she stated "the people decided to adopt two kittens instead of one and I knew you stayed up late". I questioned where Gidget was during this 2 hour process in the heat and Eileen mentioned that since Petsmart closed she had to take her along for the other adoption. I stated again that I live 3 minutes down the road and she should have been taken to me first to spare her the trauma of a long car ride in the heat as well as the practicality of it. I could have picked her up as well. She wouldn't hear of it.

At 10pm I phoned asked when she would arrive that I was tired and wanted to spend time with the cat before having to go to bed. My daughter was disappointed and was also waiting for her new pet. She reiterated that she knew I stayed up late as if my staying up late gave carte blanch to arrive at any hour, without phoning and leave the frightened cat in the pet carrier for hours. I stated that this adoption process is tedious and I was concerned and reasonably upset about Gidget having to experience further trauma and anxiety in a cage, in the heat and humidity for the past 2 hours when she could have been here. Cats don't like to be driven in cars and become quite anxious and fearful especially when they are older. In my opinion, this is abusive to the animal and poor decision making.

At 10pm, I was hung up on by Eileen! I was shocked. I immediately phoned back. When an attempt was made to speak, Eileen stated there would be no adoption tonight and hung up on me again! I phoned back and left a long message, much of which has been stated here. I have received no phone call back from her at all. I was expecting an apology for her rude and unprofessional behavior and for the wasted time I spent waiting on a Friday night as well as the distress caused to my daughter who was also waiting around for her new kitty.

At this juncture, I will no longer be donating money and food as I have been to Home for Animals as the biases and adoption process is not in the best interest of the animals. In fact, if I didn't know better, it appears as if there is little desire to actually place these helpless animals in good homes. Since then two of my personal friends contacts Hope for Animals seeking adoption. No calls have been returned in a 4 day period to date.

I sent an e-mail to [protected] and received a response from the Treasurer, Diane who wrote a soliloquy of paragraphs about Eileen's hectic schedule and how she has little assistance or volunteers to help. Yet, when I offered assistance to pick up the cat directly, my assistance was denied, even in light of my past rescue experience and experience as a pet owner.

During her home inspection, we noticed that she is very obsessive and controlling telling me exactly how I should care for the pet even though I am and have been a pet owner for 45 years. The hang up phone calls only serve to confirm that this pet adoption owner has serious issues that impede her ability to adequately care for and place these pets in homes.

I stated in my e-mail to her organization, that if an effort is not made to complete the adoption of Gidget by Saturday, June 28, 2008, a complaint will be filed with the Better Business Bureau as well as Consumer Affairs. PETA will also be notified about the adoption process and abusive treatment of Gidget on June 27, 2008.

I saved all written correspondence. As of today, Tuesday, July 1st, 2008, I have no cat, and no phone call back as well as no apology. I visited Petsmart and spoke with the store manager Justin and informed him of what transpired. He said that he would notify the store owner.

At this juncture, we are heartbroken about not adopting Gigid and it is difficult to find homes for adult cats. We were treated unfairly and unprofessionally. Eileen obviously has difficulty dealing with people and making decisions in the best interest of the pets. The cat we were to adopt is still homeless and had to endure hours of trauma and ended up with no home due to the reckless decision making and maltreatment by this owner Eileen.

In addition, friends and acquaintances have informed me of their difficulties in dealing with Eileen and in their inability to adopt through her organization. It's as if she doesn't really want to find homes for these pets and operates with prejudice and personal bias and has little experience dealing with the public.

If you require additional information, do not hesitate to call me at [protected].

Thank you so much for your time.

Lorraine Valente.


  • St
    Stunned Jul 03, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have also been trying to adopt a pet and have met with similar difficulties. I get the idea that some of these shelters and rescues don't really want to part with the animals, that the people/volunteers involved have their identities wrapped up so much in what they do...that they get a bit...odd.

    I spent four days e-mailing back and forth with a woman over a kitten that the rescue/shelter had posted on line. I asked to schedule a visit, and she said she had a few questions, which I was happy to answer. She took my responses in the most paranoid manner possible.

    When I said that eventually I hoped the cat would be indoor/outdoor, she said she couldn't possibly adopt the kitten to me because it was too young to be forced to live outdoors. I responded that I would never let a kitten outdoors, that it would be fully indoors for at least nine months and then visit in our yard with us, supervised.

    Then she requested personal and vet references...which I provided. And she said she couldn't possibly adopt a kitten to me because when she spoke to my vet they said one of our dogs is a chow mix, which means it is vicious.

    Whether or not it is part chow is all speculation..he has fuzzy hair, but looks more sheltie than anything, and he is NOT vicious. He lives with a cat and rabbits, whom he has never tried to hurt.

    Then she said she wouldn't adopt out of county anyway.

    Lots of wasted time and effort. Several other agencies that I contacted about animals they posted on line...simply don't respond.

    And, I know a woman just like Eileen. She is involved with local animal rescue, one year when she went away for Thanksgiving she asked me to feed her pets. She had three greyhounds she "rescued" and fosters german shepards. You can smell the stink about 60 ft away from the house and your eyes smart when you enter. The floor is crusted with feces and the rugs soaked with urine. The shepards are chained in the yard in small runs. And she had a small child as well. One of her fostered shepards ended up having to be put down because she didn't keep up it's hearworm money.

    I have heard of several cases of animal "rescue" people actually being hoarders. They identify themselves with their animals and can't bear to see them go, and assume that no one else is capable of providing a good home and love for them.

    This is by no means the norm, most are good hearted people who sincerely want the best for the pets, but there is a definite problem with this in the system. They lord their "power" over people who want to adopt the pets, acting just as you described, and then, when you show your justified anger and frustration...come back with "well, an unstable impatient person like you shouldn't be a pet owner anyway, you just showed your true colors."

    Or..."if you really loved pets, you'd take in any animal that needed a home, and wouldn't be so picky and demand THIS one"...they use the fact that you chose a specific animal against you and try to get you to take something else.

    This is, unfortunately, a common problem in this type of organization.

    I am very sorry for you. I know how much emotion and expectation goes into this sort of thing. We just went through the trauma of adopting a kitten, making several trips to see it, preparing a home for it, waiting while it finished it's meds, being told to come for it...and then getting there, seeing the kitten and being told they'd adopted it to someone else that morning. yes, they had all our info and application on record, yes, they'd called and said come...but someone upfront mistakenly adopted the kitten to someone else that morning...and even though the kitten was still at the shelter, they refused to call the second family and tell them the kitten already belonged to us.

    Then they ignored my phone messages and e-mails for several days.

    I have long been a believer in supporting adoption centers and rescues, but my recent experiences are making me wonder. And, after having my own sad experiences, I have been finding out about so many others...these are NOT isolated cases, but a sad trend. Several people have spoken of paying high adoption fees, (2 or 3 hundred) signing contracts that agree that if they do not take proper care, the pet can be taken back, and then being visited and losing the pet two weeks or a month later. Some places are using this to scam people out of money over and over again...using the same pet!

    Some of the applications I have been asked to fill out are over the top. While I understand they want a good home for the animals, I honestly don't know anyone who would qualify, based on some of the made you promise you'd never be away from home more than four hours...ever!

    I hope they find enough independently wealthy pet owners, with no other pets, no kids, a huge entirely pet safe home, who plan to do nothing ever for the next 20 years but stay home and entertain a cat, in their county, because those are the only people some will release a pet to.

    These are some of the same people who spay feral cats and release them...not sure how MY home, shelter, food, vet care, love and safety are a worse home than none, but apparently it is.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    janice2348 Apr 21, 2009

    We just lost our cat to kidney failure(and another two years ago to the same thing), and are hoping to adopt two more soon from Petsmart. I noticed that what you say is true, that some of these organizations are fanatical in the questions they ask, and if you give one wrong answer, you will not get your cat. It makes me wonder why when there are so many cats who need good homes. The fees are also ridiculous. No wonder these cats never get adopted, when they charge so much and play games. I have decided not to go online, but directly to Petsmart where we know someone who works there. I understand there are bad people out there, but don't punish the rest of us, or the cats. I feel your pain, and hope you get some recourse with PETA and the BBB. Good luck to you.

    -1 Votes
  • Da
    Danica Duensing Jun 12, 2009

    I live in California and have jumped through the same hoops with a similar local rescue agency. I was heartbroken.

    We ended up getting a couple kittens from a woman who had a bunch of kittens living in her garage.

    Later, we had the chance to go to a local branch of the county's animal shelter, "the pound" basically. They put down dozens of animals every week, and for better or worse (depending on the people adopting) they basically ask no questions, and let people adopt freely. For $30 and no hoops, we got a wonderful Siamese cat who we love dearly.

    It'll be the shelter from now on for us!

    0 Votes
  • Er
    Eric B. - GA Sep 13, 2010

    A friend found 2 kittens abandoned a her door. She asked me to foster them because she lives in a small place, and has 3 cats of her own. After treating them for fleas, tape worms and ring worms, and finally getting them healthy, they were put through the adoption program from Hope at Petsmart. After the first day spent in a cage at the local Petsmart, the kittens caught the mange, and infected my friend. Hope also decided to cancel the adoption contract thinking we would abandon the kittens. It cost $200 in Vet visit and medicine. Thank you Hope for your clean cages and your wonderful volunteers.

    0 Votes
  • Br
    Bruce Rosenblum Oct 07, 2013

    I had 2 Kittens that I adopted 7 years ago from Petsmart in NJ from a so called "adoption agency" called. "HOPE FOR ANIMALS" in Manalapan NJ in a Petsmart store. After 7 years, I reached out to Ms.Eileen McDonnell the "President" of this Org. She offered financial aid for my male cat for surgery to remove bladder stones as a courtesy. Since I am unemployed and disabled I reached out to Eileen McDonnell for help. After that her Vet. said they both needed dental work, which again I needed help in paying for. Eileen offered me help if I paid her $100.00 with the agreement that I make an effort to pay $10.00 per month to pay H.F.A. for the dental care, I agreed to her agreement & when I brought my 2 cats (Brother & Sister) to "her vet", she was waiting for them & told me that her "contract" states that she can take them back if I couldn't care for them & several other terms (Not part of Petsmarts contract) She took them against my will & her agreement. She refused to honor her agreement for payment & took the only reason I have to live for away leaving me in tears, begging her not to do take them. This caused severe health problems for me & after several attempts to get them back, Ms. McDonnell agreed to return them if I paid a total of $1, 537.90 which included the surgery she agreed would be a courtesy. If not, she told me, "I would never see them again".
    She made many crude jokes about my disability and put them up for adoption and placed them on "Face Book" which broke my heart again. She knew my financial situation and although I paid $100.00 and agreed to her terms she still refused to return my Cats.

    I loved them & took better care of them than I did for myself. With regular Vet visits and the best food, but when it came to my boy urinating blood, I had to get help & thought Ms. McDonnell was a kind hearted person, but she betrayed that trust & killed my heart! For 7 years I was their only owner which taking them as she did, I 'm sure affected them too as they were screaming & crying as she dumped them out of my carrier onto the floor in the Vet's office & put them into her van and drove off.

    As much as I know there are many homeless pets out there I just can't think of replacing them as I could not replace a child that died. I HOPE that your organization can warn others about this person's "Adoption agency" and avoid others from having their hearts

    Bruce Rosenblum
    Like · · September 19 at 12:45am ·

    Bruce Rosenblum
    Sebastian and Tory are not her's to adopt out. They belong to Bruce Rosenblum who adopted them when they were small kittens and after 7 years they were taken by Eileen from Mr. Rosenblum illegally. There is an adoption contract between her and Bruce and she voided this contract by illegally taking these cats from their owner. DO NOT PAY this lady for cats that do not belong to her. This is NOT the first time she has done this, Her Hope for Animals is not a responsible adoption center. This company has changed names several times due to issues re: illegally taking cat's from owners for no legal reason. This video makes it seem how nice she treats them but we know better, we can all show love on video but the true story is much different. She is in it for the money, NOT the best interest of the animals. I am a dog rescuer and I would NEVER take dogs I adopted out back unless if there was serious evidence of abuse to the animal. These cats were taken from their owner strictly because of a personal vendetta that she had against Mr. Rosenblum. They must be returned to their original adoptive owner. If you agree with this please contact Petsmart where she shows her adoptive cat's and make the store aware she has a history of this behavior and Petsmart should no longer allow her to use their location to adopt out cat's more than once without cause. These cats need to go home to Bruce, that is what is best for these 2 siblings. SHAME ON YOU " HOPE FOR ANIMALS"

    1 Votes
  • Re
    RescueVolunteer Dec 10, 2013

    This is in response to Mr. Rosenblum’s complaint above:

    HFA sympathizes with Mr. Rosenblum and has no doubt he feels the loss of his two cats. However, his account of events is less than accurate.

    Mr. Rosenblum had adopted Tory and Sebastian 8 years ago, and indeed, HFA offered to help him out financially when Sebastian first had a health problem (in and around the end of 2012). At that time, HFA’s vet noted that Sebastian needed dental care as well. Mr. Rosenblum responded, “what portion of the bill would I be responsible to pay for?” In reality, he is responsible for all of it but HFA agreed to help if he agreed to pay them back in installments. (HFA, a 501c3 charity and made up of entirely unpaid volunteers, does NOT make any profit and is in fact, in debt for own vet bills). Mr. Rosenblum said his financial difficulties worsened when his family cut him off. HFA graciously offered the discounted services of their own vet, and even had one of their own volunteers pick up Sebastian from his home for the vet appointment. The day of the appointment, the volunteers and the vet had set aside time and effort for Sebastian only to discover Mr. Rosenblum cancelled the appointment, in favor of driving himself to upstate New York for a weekend getaway. He would be leaving both Tory and Sebastian home alone. HFA asked him how he could afford the vacation after claiming he was in such dire straits, and he answered that it “wouldn’t cost anything.” Yet, in truth, the car, gas and lodging would come from Mr. Rosenblum’s own personal resources. HFA grew concerned that the cats’ health was not a priority (which is, in fact, stated in the contract with HFA) and urged Mr. Rosenblum to reschedule the appointment and have both Tory and Sebastian examined.

    The vet found that both cats had severe periodontal disease and were in a great deal of discomfort. Although Mr. Rosenblum claims he brought his cats in for routine visits, he neglects to mention that he didn’t follow through with medical advice. HFA learned that several years ago, his vet told him that Tory needed dental work, and Mr. Rosenblum never provided it, resulting in a severe condition requiring surgery. If dental cleanings are avoided, often infection, abscess and tooth loss are the result. Mr. Rosenblum seemed “shocked” that HFA expected him to pay for the high cost of the surgery for his two cats, yet seems to be oblivious that the cost, and the medical care underlying it, was caused by his prior neglect. Further, HFA grew very concerned learning that Mr. Rosenblum would have left them alone all weekend to eat dry food, causing pain, instead of providing a caretaker to supply soft foods.

    The President did not make disparaging remarks about Mr. Rosenblum’s disability status. HFA often works with the disabled and the elderly, to provide foster homes to homeless cats. Instead, when Mr. Rosenblum lamented that he didn’t have any money to care his “children”, Eileen suggested that he could do some work at the computer (which clearly he can do since he posts complaints) or since he could drive, by delivery service or even cat sitting. These were not meant to insult Mr. Rosenblum, but was friendly advice in response to his self-admitted financial woes. Mr. Rosenblum dismissed these suggestions and had an expectation that HFA would provide the vet care and financial assistance he needed so that he could keep his cats.

    HFA took control of Tory and Sebastian’s dental needs including the slow recovery process which involved the care of a loving foster home. In that time, Mr. Rosenblum did not inquire as to their health, but rather complained about HFA on the internet, and still refused to contribute to the financial cost of their care. It does not benefit HFA to arbitrarily remove adopted pets from their home, and urged Mr. Rosenblum to please take them back and work out a workable payment plan. HFA did not say he “wouldn’t see them again” but rather asked him to choose to be responsible for them or relinquish ownership. Mr. Rosenblum did NOT choose to take his cats back and HFA was forced to pay their full medical bills and the challenge of finding them a new home.

    HFA understands that Mr. Rosenblum is not happy at the loss of Tory and Sebastian, but he made certain choices which put their health at risk, and then chose again not to take them back unless someone else footed the bill for him. HFA is saddened that Tory and Sebastian suffered through such consequences, but their care is HFA’s highest commitment and it is confident they will be placed in a home that not only values their companionship, but takes responsibility for their well-being.

    0 Votes

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