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To provide for the rescue of Kerry Blue Terriers in areas of the country where there is no Chapter Club rescue service available, to coordinate and assist Chapter Club rescue efforts, to assist members who breed in recovering and re-homing their dogs, and to provide rescue liaison with other clubs and organizations.


Rescue Dogs
Kerries requiring rescue from shelters or from similar, potentially life-threatening situations, including stray dogs, owner-relinquishments, dogs abandoned at a vet or boarding kennel, and dogs whose owners are dead or disabled. The United States Kerry Blue Terrier Charitable Funds may cover all expenses involved in rescuing these dogs; however, no funds can be used to purchase dogs from pet stores, puppy mills, brokers, or from their breeders or owners.

Individual Rescue Dogs
Kerries recovered by individuals, normally USKBTC club members, who wish to foster the dogs and place them on their own. USKBTC Rescue Funds may be used to reimburse individual rescuers for some or all of the expenses involved in the rescue, provided that the individuals follow all USKBTC procedures for placing these dogs.

Individual Placement
The placement of Kerries in need of new homes who reside with their owners or are being re-homed by their breeders. These dogs are not “rescue dogs,” since they do not require rescue as defined in this document. The owner or breeder assumes the responsibility of caring for and placing the dog. While the USKBTC may offer assistance in finding homes, there are no Rescue funds designated for these dogs under normal circumstances. However, in cases where the owner or breeder indicates their intention to relinquish the dog, a Rescue volunteer may take possession of the dog, and the Kerry will then be treated as a rescue dog and evaluated as such to determine the best course of action.

The person(s) responsible for originally producing and/or placing the dog, normally the person(s) listed as the breeder/co-breeder of record including the owner/co-owner or lessee(s)of a dam who takes a puppy from a litter as part of a contractual obligation or in lieu of payment.

Stud Dog Owner/Co-owner
The owner(s) or lessee(s) of the Stud Dog (sire) of a litter on the date of mating which produced a litter including any owner/co-owner who takes a puppy back as part of a contractual obligation or in lieu of payment.

The Owner/Co-Owner or lessee(s) as reflected on the dog or bitch’s record of registration, including any Owner/Co-Owner who places a dog after retiring it from showing or breeding.

If a breeder, Stud Dog Owner, Owner/Co-owner or lessee or other responsible party is a USKBTC member, they assume lifelong responsibility for the dog, including taking the dog back as needed.

USKBTC members who have volunteered or who are asked to assist with any aspect of rescue. Efforts are coordinated and controlled by a National Rescue Coordinator appointed by the board of governors of the USKBTC. The USKBTC Rescue Coordinator will keep the most current version of the USKBTC Rescue Policy on file, and shall make it available to all volunteers and other interested parties.



Kerry Blues Found in Shelters
Because the USKBTC has no claim to these dogs prior to their release, no mention of the location or existence of a Kerry in a shelter is to be made to anyone not directly involved in the rescue, particularly to someone inquiring about obtaining a rescue Kerry, until the dog has left the shelter. A Rescue Coordinator may direct breeders to make discreet inquiries to past puppy buyers concerning the current status of their Kerries, if they believe they can identify the dog or its owner.

As soon as a Rescue Coordinator is notified, arrangements should be made for a Rescue Committee member or another breed knowledgeable person to visit the shelter and confirm whether or not the dog is actually a Kerry. If the dog is a Kerry, an information packet should be left with shelter personnel in the event that the dog is claimed by its owner or adopted by another party. A Rescue Coordinator should obtain all the information necessary to claim the dog, including when it will be available for adoption and what the shelter’s policy is in the event that more than one party wishes to adopt the dog. Provisions should then be made for grooming, veterinary care (including spaying or neutering, if needed), and foster care.

If the dog has not been claimed, at least two Rescue Committee volunteers, if possible, should be at the shelter as soon as it opens on the first day the dog is made available for adoption. If another party is considering the dog, a Rescue Committee member talk to the party about their interest in the dog, offer the USKBTC ‘s assistance, which may include allowing the party adopt the dog through USKBTC Rescue, and try to obtain their name and address. In the best interest of the breed and the rescue, all shelter rescues and encounters with other rescue organizations or individuals should be polite and non-confrontational. Unless a Rescue Committee member has a very good reason to suspect that the party is not there for legitimate reasons (such as a dog collector, backyard breeder, or broker), the party will be permitted to adopt the dog with our blessings. If the Rescue Committee member can provide evidence of their suspicion, it should be provided to the shelter or the authorities. Regardless of whether Rescue claims the dog or not, a thank-you note should be sent to the people who contacted Rescue about the animal.

If Rescue adopts the dog, the dog will be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible, and before being exposed to other dogs or taken into foster care. The dog’s general health and age will be assessed, and the dog will receive all recommended vaccinations, fecal exam, a complete blood chemistry panel to include tests for heartworm, thyroid (T3), leptospirosis, and brucellosis, and any recommended treatment and medications. The dog will be checked for the presence of a microchip or tattoo, bathed, and groomed as soon as possible. Tattooing or microchipping the dog for permanent identification purposes will be done prior to placement. The dog will be assessed both physically and for temperament before being placed. Every effort will be made to identify and locate the breeder and/or owner. If the breeder or owner can be positively identified, he/she will be asked to reimburse any costs, such as shelter fees and veterinary care, related to the rescue. If the breeder is a member of the USKBTC, our Code of Ethics requires that he/she will accept responsibility. The owner of the sire may also be contacted and offered the opportunity to take possession of the dog or otherwise assist in the placement. The USKBTC takes great pride in the fact that the majority of its breeders abide by our Code of Ethics and will re-home dogs they have bred. Unfortunately some don’t. Therefore, after Board review, any person who refuses to accept responsibility for a dog that they bred/co-bred or placed (e.g., stud fee puppy or puppy back) will have the dog’s name and registration number, if known, published in Blueprints and on the Club’s website. The breeder or other responsible party, if a Club member, will no longer be able to list puppies or mature dogs for sale on the USKBTC web site. If the breeder of the dog is a USKBTC or Chapter Club member, and can be identified, the dog will not be released for adoption until the breeder is notified and given the opportunity to take the dog back themselves or make other arrangements for its care and placement. Breeders who are not members of the USKBTC or a Chapter Club may be notified and offered their dogs back at the discretion of the Rescue Coordinator; however, this is not required. If the breeder cannot be identified during the evaluation period, the dog will be assumed to be bred by someone who is not a US or Chapter Club member, and will be spayed or neutered prior to placement through Rescue.

Owner Relinquishment
If an owner contacts Rescue about giving up their Kerry, every effort will be made to talk to the owner and find out exactly what the problem is. The owner will be advised to try contacting the breeder, but if the breeder is unable or unwilling to help, reasonable assistance will be offered to resolve problems with training, health issues, or grooming to try and keep the dog out of rescue. If the owner insists that he/she is unable to keep the dog even long enough to locate a new home, or threatens to leave the dog at a shelter or have an adoptable animal destroyed, arrangements should be made to obtain the dog, along with its registration papers and health records. The owner or a person representing the owner should be asked to sign a surrender agreement, acknowledging that they are giving up all rights to the dog, before Rescue accepts possession of the dog. A donation to Rescue may be requested from the owner to offset the cost of fostering and placing the dog, but should not be a condition for accepting the dog. The breeder, if different than the owner, should be notified as soon as possible and the dog will be treated as a Rescue dog.

Kerry Blues Surrendered or Abandoned Due to Owner’s Death or Disability
Rescue should obtain registration papers and health records, if available, from the owner or next of kin and contact the breeder. All other procedures are similar to those for shelter or owner-relinquished Kerries.

Stray Kerry Blues
If USKBTC Rescue is contacted about a suspected Kerry that is running loose, Rescue should try to send at least one person familiar with Kerries to the area as quickly as possible to try to capture the animal. If somebody has already confined the dog, arrangements should be made to pick up the dog at the convenience of the person who has the dog. Every effort should be made to locate the animal’s owner, including checking local newspapers, placing an ad, checking with nearby shelters and veterinarians, and notifying breeders. The dog should be checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible and groomed as stated for a shelter Kerry; however, spaying/neutering and placement should be delayed for 30 days in order to give the owner a reasonable period of time to claim the dog.

Kerry Blues Abandoned at Veterinarians or Boarding Kennels
Rescue should try to contact the owners of the dog to find out why the dog was abandoned, to ask that they contribute to the costs incurred, and to request that they turn over registration papers and health records to Rescue. The dog’s breeder, if known, will also be contacted. It is recommended that Rescue obtains the owner’s (or his agent’s) signature on a release form. If this is not possible, the dog should be held for 30 days from the date it was originally abandoned or surrendered, before it is placed. Once the dog has been obtained by Rescue, treatment is similar to that of a shelter Kerry except that some veterinary tests, particularly brucellosis, may be omitted if the dog is healthy and its background, or medical records are known.

Individual Rescue Dogs
Rescue may offer assistance to the rescuer in the form of (1) financial reimbursement for the rescue if all USKBTC Rescue procedures concerning screening and placement are followed, (2) a list of prospective homes-both screened and unscreened (with the understanding that the person placing the dog will do the screening), (3) a placement questionnaire for screening, and (4) an adoption contract. If the rescuer is cooperative, he/she acts as a Rescue volunteer, but wishes to retain some control over the dog’s fate by doing the fostering and making the ultimate placement decision. Correct procedure depends on the circumstances of rescue.

Individual Placement
Rescue may assist USKBTC members with placement referrals for adoptable older pups and adults. No liability may be assumed; USKBTC Rescue paperwork will not be used in these cases; placement and responsibility lie with the breeder and/or owner. This is not a referral service for breeders looking to sell young puppies or show prospects; these dogs must be spayed/neutered before placement. A donation may be requested from the breeder/owner for successful placements.

Pet Store Puppies
Under no circumstances will Rescue “rescue” puppies from a pet store by purchasing them. Buying the puppies could motivate the store to try to obtain more. A Rescue volunteer may leave information packets at the pet store, one for each puppy, which include phone numbers of people who can assist. The packets are to be given to people who buy the puppies. The Rescue volunteer should try to see the puppies’ registration papers, and note the name of the breeder. Periodic calls or visits to the pet store may be made to check on the puppies’ status. All contacts with the store should be friendly, polite, and non-confrontational; however, no offer or agreement should be made to groom, trim, set ears, or do anything else that would make the puppies more appealing and therefore easier to sell. Under no circumstances will Rescue funds be used to purchase Kerry Blue Terriers from pet stores, auctions, or directly from their owners or breeders.

Advertised Dogs
Rescue should scan ads in area newspapers, community bulletin boards, and other public places, as well as ads appearing in magazines such as Dog World, when possible, to determine if the advertiser of a Kerry is a USKBTC or Chapter Club member. Although many responsible breeders advertise litters, it’s the backyard and commercial breeders’ puppies that typically end up in rescue. Any information that can be obtained about these breeders and their dogs will be kept on file and the breeders of the litter’s sire and dam, and the owner of the sire (if different from the breeder) will be notified if they are USKBTC or Chapter Club members. Counter-ads may be placed and paid for out of Rescue funds at the discretion of the USKBTC Rescue Coordinator or local Chapter Club.

Special Cases
1. Mistaken Identity

Homeless dogs, particularly those picked up as strays, are sometimes misidentified as purebred Kerry Blue Terriers, usually by well-meaning volunteers who are unfamiliar with the breed, and sometimes by Rescue volunteers who are initially confused by the dog’s shaved or matted coat and only realize their mistake after they have taken the dog. These situations need to be handled carefully, since we do not want to alienate shelter workers or other rescue volunteers and discourage them from contacting us in the future. If a Rescue volunteer determines that a dog is not a purebred Kerry before we accept possession of the dog, the people who have the dog should be politely informed of their mistake and perhaps a more suitable identity can be suggested. However, if a Rescue volunteer realizes a dog is not a purebred Kerry until after we have it, the USKBTC Rescue Coordinator will determine whether we place the dog ourselves, turn the dog over to another breed rescue, or take another course of action. Under no circumstances will a dog be returned to a “kill” shelter.

2. Boarding Owners’ Dogs
Rescue is occasionally contacted by people looking for someone to keep their dog for them while they are moving, on vacation, experiencing family problems, etc. Due to a shortage of qualified foster homes and the fact that these situations usually require someone to keep the dog for several weeks or longer, or even indefinitely, we will not keep dogs for their owners, or help with boarding expenses. Rescue volunteers may suggest that the owner check out local boarding kennels or petsitters for discounted long term rates, or contact the dog’s breeder for assistance. If this is not possible, the owner may relinquish the dog to Rescue for fostering and placement.


To ensure that dogs handled by Rescue are appropriately placed in responsible, permanent homes, and to protect the USKBTC from any liability in the event a dog with health or temperament problems is placed, a formal screening and adoption process must be followed.

A minimum two-week foster period is required in order to objectively evaluate a rescue Kerry’s temperament and health, and to determine the most suitable placement. The USKBTC considers fostering and adoption to be two separate processes and does not encourage “foster to adopt” arrangements. Potential adopters should be advised that fostering is normally done by USKBTC members who are familiar with the breed, and is not a way to expedite an adoption. A copy of the current Foster Agreement should be signed by the foster family and kept on file by the USKBTC Rescue Coordinator.

Adoption Application
All parties expressing interest in adopting a Kerry through Rescue need to submit a completed adoption application. References will be checked by a Rescue volunteer and a home visit will be conducted before a prospective adopter is approved. An adoption application can be downloaded off the Club website or mailed to the interested party, with an information packet,(if they have never owned Kerries).

Any person fostering a rescue Kerry, will do their best to assess the dog’s temperament and personality, and determine what kind of a situation that particular dog would do best in. Possible adoption applicants can then be contacted. While some preference will be given to people who live in the same state/region as the foster home, have been on the placement waiting list longer than others, or have expressed extreme interest in a particular dog, the dog’s best interests must always come first. The USKBTC Rescue Coordinator will make the final decision on who gets a rescue dog. In cases of individual placements and individual rescues, the owner, breeder, or individual rescuer will make the final decision. A “cool down” period of a least one week is recommended between the times that the potential placement is first contacted about the Kerry or has met the dog and the time that they are allowed to take it home.

Adoption Contracts
Adoption contracts for all rescue dogs must be filled out and signed before the new owners can take possession of the dog. A Rescue volunteer will review the contract with the dog’s adopters, emphasizing that the dog must be returned to Rescue in the event they no longer wish to keep it. Any known health or behavior problems that the dog might have will be listed on the contract. A donation to the USKBTC Rescue Fund through the US Kerry Blue Terrier Charitable Fund is normally required, although a Rescue Coordinator may allow an exception in certain cases. The actual amount of the donation depends on the overall adoptability of the dog; i.e., a higher donation will be requested for young, healthy dogs than for dogs whose age, health, or other issues make them less desirable as pets. Adopted dogs should go to their new homes with at least one week’s supply of the dog’s regular food, a leash and collar, and any toys, bedding, medications, etc. that belong to them. Adopters will also receive any health records on the dog, but are not to be told any information about the dog’s pedigree, or the identity of the breeder or previous owner(s). Any registration papers will be returned to the AKC, marked “VOID, dog placed through United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club Rescue.”

Euthanasia Policy
Euthanasia may be required in certain cases where, due to health or temperament problems, a dog is un-adoptable. Generally, the only cases where euthanasia will be considered are when the dog has a history of biting, exhibits aggressive behavior indicating that it will bite, or has health or temperament problems that make it un-adoptable or that profoundly affect its quality of life. Advanced age alone is not a justifiable reason to euthanize a dog. If a dog is considered a candidate for euthanasia, the option will be discussed between the foster family and the Rescue Coordinator. A veterinarian or other professional, such as a dog trainer, should be consulted before a final decision is made. A consensus between the foster family and the USKBTC Rescue Coordinator must be reached before the dog can be euthanized. If a consensus cannot be reached, the issue will be brought up for a vote with the board of the USKBTC.

Rescue Volunteer Responsibilities
It is understood that Rescue volunteers and Coordinators will fully cooperate with the USKBTC and participating Chapter Clubs in sharing information about rescue dogs and the names of potential adopters, offering any other assistance when requested, and requesting assistance if needed, to facilitate the rescue and placement of Kerries anywhere in the United States. It is also understood that when a conflict occurs between another organization’s rescue policy and the USKBTC’s Rescue Policy when dealing with a Kerry Blue Terrier, members of the USKBTC are required to adhere to the USKBTC Rescue Policy. Chapter Clubs are expected to deal with rescue situations within their territories, as defined in their by-laws, and are encouraged to assist in adjacent areas as they are able. Each Chapter Club is encouraged to designate one or more members as its Rescue Coordinator, and provide this person’s contact information to the USKBTC Rescue Coordinator to be included on the USKBTC website. In the event that a Chapter Club does not designate a Rescue Coordinator, the Chapter Club president’s contact information will be listed instead. Any USKBTC member who has any knowledge whatsoever of a Kerry in need of rescue or re-homing, whose breeder is also a USKBTC or Chapter Club member, is encouraged to notify that breeder of the dog’s situation, and support and supply reasonable assistance to the breeder, so that the breeder’s obligation can be fulfilled.

The USKBTC Rescue Coordinator shall maintain a list of USKBTC members who are willing to serve as Rescue volunteers, as well as the names of Chapter Club rescue coordinators. Chapter Club Rescue Coordinators are encouraged to coordinate their own Club’s Rescue efforts with those of the USKBTC and to follow USKBTC Rescue policy.

In addition to adhering to all portions of this Rescue Policy and assuming all responsibilities stated in the policy, the USKBTC Coordinator shall be responsible for keeping an up-to-date file on rescue cases, the current whereabouts of placed rescue dogs, and a list of screened potential homes. The Rescue Coordinator shall also be responsible for seeing that follow-up calls are made to all adopters to ensure that the placement is working and to troubleshoot any problems that may develop. Calls placed at one or two weeks, one or two months, and six months after adoption are recommended.

Any USKBTC members volunteering to assist with Rescue are expected to follow this policy.

Rescue Contact List


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