Should pet owners who give their pets to a shelter be put on a Do Not Adopt list?
I say there should be a Do Not Adopt list, but relinquishing an animal to a shelter should not be sufficient to qualify for it.
Sometimes a pet owner can no longer have as many animals as before. Perhaps the female cat did not get spayed in time, and there are more kittens than can be adequately cared for. Perhaps the city passed a new ordinance limiting the number of pets that may live in one home, and the petowner has to find a new home for the third cat. Perhaps there was a house fire and the petowner can only find housing where the cat cannot come along, and the cat needs intensive veterinary treatment. Perhaps the person is moving to another state and has more pets than they can take with them.
So how does one get rid of an animal that he simply cannot care for anymore? He could give it to friends that need one. The Clintons gave Socks to a staffer when they moved out of the White House in 2001. But if that does not happen, then what? He could dump it in the woods and let it fend for itself. He could drown it or shoot it. He could go where there are people and try to hawk them to customers. But if he wants the animal to have a chance at a good life, he's likely to look for some people who know how to give animals good homes -- and shelters typically come to mind. Some shelters do a better job of finding new homes for their intake animals than others. But animals in a shelter have a better chance of being adopted into homes than animals on the street.
A catlover should not be barred from future ownership simply for relinquishing the animal to what he believes to be the best chance at new home. It's painful enough to have to give up the little furball -- how much worse if it means that person can never have another !
Yes, the best option to prevent animals that need loving homes is to fix the previous generation before they have kittens. But that does not always happen. Low-cost spay clinics are sometimes hard to find and farther away than is convenient, and not always well-publicized. Sometimes the colony has more cats than there are spaces available at the clinic.
Should there be a Do Not Adopt list? Yes... for animal abusers. Those who dump their cats in the woods when the cats don't know how to hunt their own food. Those who dump cats on busy highways. Those who feed kittens to their snakes or dogs. Those who have far more cats than they can feed and are not trying to find good homes for them. Those who train dogs to fight other dogs. But not for those who are simply trying to do the right thing for their pets.