What is Open Housing?
We believe that dogs were not meant to live in cages. Therefore, whenever possible, we do not keep our dogs in cages.
Yes, the dogs of Second Chance are allowed to run, play, eat and sleep together. Dogs that are sick or dogs that are aggressive to other dogs are kept in cages for the safety of all the dogs. We carefully monitor health and any disturbances between the dogs. The dogs with any problems are then caged individually.
Open Housing requires more work and keeping a very close eye on the dogs. We watch for any signs of parasites or diseases that can be spread through the group. Feces must be checked and picked up quickly. Though we realize that health and behavior problems are a risk, we also believe that the beneifts of dogs living openly together outweigh the risks. We reason that people live openly, spread illness and have problems with aggression. Yet we do not lock them up unless those problems have accelerated to a point of hospitalization or jail. Dogs too should have the freedom to socialize together, to cuddle when they want, to play together.and to spend quality time with all of us.
To our knowledge there is only one other shelter in the United States that practices open housing on a daily basis. We are very proud to be one of two and hope that someday all shelters and rescues will see the enormous benefits and find the mental health of the dogs to be important enough to take that extra step and provide open housing.
Our Iowa Department of Agriculture feels that dogs need to be caged at shelters and rescues. We have been arguing that point with them and continue our battle to keep dogs cage free when it is possible.