General Question

janbb's avatar

Would you respond to this?

Asked by janbb (51063points) April 25th, 2014

As most of you know, I’ve had to surrender my dear biting Frodo to the foster home where I got him. She was willing to take him back but does not work with the rescue organization that had placed him there. She does rescue for another organization now and seems to be in a vendetta with the old one. For some reason, she told the original one that I was bringing Frodo back and they have been writing or calling daily and harassing me that I have to deal with them. I wrote an e-mail to them in response to phone call messages saying what I was doing and why and they are continuing to contact me. I did not sign a contract them.

Got another e-mail today from the rescue org lady saying she can’t believe I dumped the dog without talking to her and that she had told me not to do that.

My question is: I am tempted to write a nasty note back saying “guess you don’t control the whole world” or should I just not engage as I had told her I wouldn’t?

This is making a very sad situation much worse.

Sorry for the long maisa.

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47 Answers

hominid's avatar

I would likely just set a gmail filter to dump emails from her directly into the trash.

@janbb: “Got another e-mail today from the rescue org lady saying she can’t believe I dumped the dog without talking to her and that she had told me not to do that.”

But I have been known to approach things like in the past by responding like this…

“It sounds like you are having a difficult time right now. When things don’t go the way we would like them to, it can be difficult to let go and realize that we have little control over our surroundings and other people. It might help to get a nice glass of water, sit and relax. Have you ever experimented with breathing exercises or progressive relaxation? Things will get better. Good luck!”

You might be surprised by her response. Or her harassing emails could just stop.

syz's avatar

Unfortunately, the rescue world, by and large, is full of egos, politics, back-biting, crazies, and name calling (ad lots of well intentioned people).

If it were me, I’d compose a very succinct, non-emotional email and send it to everyone involved.

Something like “On “x” date, I adopted (fostered?) “x” dog from x organization/person. Due to behavioral issues and after “x” attempts (list steps you’ve taken), I determined that I was no longer able to provide a safe environment for this pet. Without clear guidelines (and without a contract), I took action in the way that seemed most responsible based on my interactions and returned the pet to the foster from which I attained him. I am very sad to have to had to take this step, and I hope that “x” finds a suitable home. Please be advised that I consider this issue now closed and will no longer respond to what I consider harassing behavior from various parties. Thank you and good luck.”

LuckyGuy's avatar

@syz Nailed it.
I’m sorry this is turning out so badly. It is making a tough time even tougher.

canidmajor's avatar

I had a similar level of harassment for a very different circumstance once. I wish I had had the excellent template presented by @syz. I, rather clumsily, attempted a similar communication.
The point of this being, when the harassment continued I sent a brief note informing the party that I would be referring this matter to my attorney.
They stopped contacting me. I was relieved, as I would then have had to acquire an attorney.

I am so sorry you are having this rough time exacerbated by a dispute that should not even involve you.

GloPro's avatar

This may sound silly, but maybe you should have a friend pretend to be this lady and just let it all out, appropriate or not. Vent all of your anger verbally. Then maybe you can let it go.
Complain about her organization on yelp. List her by name as being less than helpful and harassing you.

jca's avatar

I would also explain, in addition to what @syz recommends (and despite the fact that you are not obligated to explain) I would explain that you loved him, he showed aggression, you worked with him extensively and yet, despite that, he bit (one person, two people?). The second time was an attack, you cannot risk this liability and have your friends and guests in fear. It was very hard to give him up, etc.

jca's avatar

@syz also makes a good point that you should cc everyone who received the email.

If she continues, mentioning the attorney or something along the lines of reporting her for harassment might be good wording to use.

GloPro's avatar

If you’re going to express all of this I’d just call her and get it over with. If there was no contract you don’t really have to document anything in writing.

gailcalled's avatar

Jan; What an unnecessary nuisance. I too vote to use @syz‘s sample letter. Personally, I would not mention anything about attornies. Just don’t respond to any further inquiries.

turtlesandbox's avatar

Syz is right. The rescue world is full of fanatics. You will only make the situation worse if you display any type of anger. I also had a terrible experience once that I should have ignored. It left me in tears.

Syz’s sample letter is perfect.

jca's avatar

I disagree that you should call her. It might be an emotional phone call. I also like the idea of email because then things are documented. If she writes something crazy, you have it documented.

Cruiser's avatar

IMO no need to be nasty…just tell her that you are merely dealing with the Foster home that you got her from and if she has any continuing concern about the dog to contact that Foster home.

janbb's avatar

@syz Here is what I sent to her a few days ago in response to her hectoring phone calls:


I am too sad to talk on the phone. Raynor, whom I call Frodo, has been exhibiting aggression and resource guarding for some time. I have been working with a trainer but he is still biting so I have decided I need to give him up.

I cannot drive into NYC so I am returning him to Robin’s soon. Any further discussions about him can be had with her.


Here’s what she sent to me this morning:

“I can’t believe you didn’t even talk to me before you dumped the dog at Robin’s house.

I told you not to do that.”

Was I not clear enough in my first e-mail? Do you still think I need to respond again? I will if you think it is wise.

gailcalled's avatar

Do not respond. She is just baiting you. She also sounds unstable. “I told you not to do this”?

Close the door.

marinelife's avatar

Did you sign something? The papers we signed when we adopted Kobe said that if we had to give him up we would give him back to the rescue organization.

Why are you so opposed to them wanting him back?

Love syz’s letter!

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @syz wholeheartedly. All of my experiences with rescues have involved neurotic, control freak, militant, co-dependent egos. As tempting as it is to want to to tell these fruitcakes to piss off and that you do not owe them any explanations, I would just delete all further contact. Really, you don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of being heard or understood, let alone supported in your tough, but responsible decision to re-surrender Frodo.

While I am all for rescues in many ways, the simple FACT of the matter is, that not every animal can be rehabbed and find a good home fit.
Do NOT let these militant lunatics lay any guilt trips on you.
Only communicate with those that show respect and compassion for your very difficult situation.

janbb's avatar

@marinelife Because she is nasty and and bullying also because I had the relationship with the foster person and knew the setting. And they are in NYC – that is the main reason and I had to make the break quickly for both of us.

I had all his papers and there was no signed contract. Neither the foster mother or the rescue org has said anything about a contract in any case, which I’m sure they would have raised if there were one.

The foster mother has said the rescue org could pick him up there if they want him back but there is a real nasty catfight going on between them.

janbb's avatar

Can some of you read my post in which I copied what I wrote to her and see if I have to explain anything more?

marinelife's avatar

@janbb No contract, no standing. I would stay out of it unless you want to send and all email along the lines the syz suggested. Otherwise, wash your hands of her.

GloPro's avatar

Block her email :-)

gailcalled's avatar

Again, I think you are completely off the hook. The fact that she is also fighting with the foster mom is a warning paradigm. Do not respond ever again in any way.

kritiper's avatar

Don’t say anything, just let it go. You don’t have to get in the last word!

janbb's avatar

How do I block her e-mails? I’m on gmail.

But I would like to hear from @syz again when she gets a chance.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I wouldn’t answer at all. When you took that dog, he became yours. There was no contract, as you said, and therefore no obligation to tell the rescue shelter anything that went on with that animal. If you wanted to give him away to a friend because you’d suddenly moved somewhere that didn’t allow dogs, would they be up in arms about that? Probably not, and their bad feelings about the lady you gave the dog to is none of your business, so I’d just ignore all of their emails.

GloPro's avatar

Just mark her address as spam and it will put them in the trash. I’m sure there is a way to reject them, too, but I don’t know how on gmail.

jca's avatar

“I told you not to do that” like she’s your boss or your mother. That would piss me off.

Coloma's avatar

@jca No kidding, ugh..I love self appointed authoritarians. Gah!

janbb's avatar

Oh – it did, it did. I wrote back a nasty e-mail saying saying “I guess you don’t control the world” but I didn’t send it.

gailcalled's avatar

Jan; Draft a few of the nastiest most vitriolic replies you can think of and post them here. Then delete them, go for a walk and eat a hot fudge sundae.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Based on the correspondence that you quote here, I would not respond at all. You have stated your reasons and your concerns, and they are being ignored. I agree with @syz‘s assessment of animal rescue people; in my own dealings with them, I have found them to be obsessive, shrill, and very unprofessional. There isn’t going to be a “win” here.

And I would certainly not consider travelling to NYC after that letter, either.

There’s no way to technically “block” specific senders on gmail, but you can either (1) mark them as spam – this will send the emails to your spam folder where you will have to delete them later, or (2) set up a filter to move these emails directly to the Trash. To do this, go to:

Gear wheel > Settings > Filters tab > Create a new filter (bottom of page)

Put the sender’s address in the From field, then click “Create filter with this search”. From the options provided, click “Delete it”, then “Create filter.”

Coloma's avatar

Here ya go @janbb


Please be advised that I am well aware of your obvious dysfunction and unprofessional manifestation in this situation.
Clearly, you are in dire need of some serious psychological intervention.
You will, as of this very moment, cease and desist from your harassment of me and know that I will do everything in my power to warn others of your extremely inappropriate conduct.

Bless the beasts and the children that find themselves conjoined with your demented ideals. May you have your lips torn off and your tongue consumed by one of your aggressive canines and spare others the trauma you have inflicted on me during this extremely sad time.

Growlingly yours,

Jan B.

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma; It’s a promising start.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar


This is very sad. I am really very sorry you are experiencing this harassment. It’s uncalled for.

Your quoted letter to the harassing person is sufficient. Mark all future emails from this person as spam. When you get an email from this person, do not open it, put a check mark in the box by the sender’s name, and a stop-sign emblem will appear at the top of the page. Click the stop sign. That marks it as spam. All future emails from that address should go directly to your spam folder, and you won’t even know.

You have received correct suggestions. You should no longer engage with the harasser. She is behaving unstably.

Process your sadness and anger in any way that enables you to feel good about yourself. You worked hard at making the relationship with Frodo work. For whatever reason, he was unable to stop biting, and that is completely unacceptable. You are a good person and a responsible pet owner.

Hugs to you.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would just add that it’s a good idea for everyone to check their spam folder from time to time, because gmail sometimes throws false positives in there. This is why I’d opt for filtering over spam in a case like this – so that you really don’t have to look at the emails ever again.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@dappled_leaves What is filtering and how do you do it on Gmail?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I gave detailed instructions above. :)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@dappled_leaves Thank you. Got it. I’m sorry I missed that.

syz's avatar

I think your response was perfectly reasonable, and if she wasn’t smart enough to create an adoption contract, then she has no leeway. Just ignore or block her.

(Oh, and I’m sure you’ve thought of this already, but I sure wouldn’t look to anyone associated with the group for future adoptions.)

janbb's avatar

Ok. Thanks for all the support everyone! It really has helped me clarify my own thinking.

I just moved her e-mail to Spam, but should probably do the filtering too. I will if I get another from her. Or maybe will try it also.

janbb's avatar

Just created the filter too. Very empowering.

(I am so fucking empowered lately! When does the fun start?)

dappled_leaves's avatar

Just remember to use your power for good, and not for evil, @janbb.

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Methinks it is time for the Penguin to morph into a Tigress. Do I see some stripes I under those feathers and some claws on those those flappy feet ;-)

janbb's avatar

@Coloma Indeed, I think it is happening!

Coloma's avatar

@janbb Yay…rowrrrr!

CWOTUS's avatar

I should hire @syz to write all of my letters.

LostInParadise's avatar

I like @syz‘s letter, but it may have been a bit too polite. I would end it by saying that the matter had been referred to your attorney, who advised you to press harassment charges if this behavior continues.

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