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Complaints & Bad Reviews

Our Response 

It is unfortunate to receive a poor rating of our charity (especially if you have not tried to talk to us privately first).


However, we are certain that should you make an effort to understand our perspective, you will find it unnecessary and frankly, extremely detrimental to animals in desperate need to leave it up.

We can only hope you choose to consider what you truly intend by speaking out against our charity for anything other than that of a seriously egregious offense of misconduct, negligence or abuse.


The reason for our being a mission is bigger than you. The voices of animals speak much louder than any individual unhappy with us- because the animals speak through our 5 star ratings, while disgruntled people (often, extremely unjustifiably so) speak through the 1 star ones.

The reality is we'd have no 5 star reviews if we were really doing 1 star work. 

We have zero 1 star ratings from adopters...from the people who have our animals now- which speaks volumes. 

This is because those are people got out of their own way and let us help them find the companion of their dreams- even if that animal was “everything they never knew they always wanted”. 


But how many times do people really know what they need or want? Or how often are they willing to be patient for that to happen? Nowadays the answer to that is almost never. 

Patience, tolerance, resilience and respect are at all time lows…

And animals in need are at an all time high for the same reasons. 

But this doesn’t mean we can abandon our principles and reason for being to just hand out animals that people don’t actually want- even if they demand, complain and review us poorly.


Charities have a mission, an underlying purpose and problem to solve. In animal welfare it's to save lives by making animals healthy and adoptable (by investing in veterinary care and training)- and then to find them homes. 

Our mission is not to serve people- unless it's by serving the animal best...and first.

This means that sometimes people get angry…but not because we’ve done anything differently than we did for a 5 star adopter…it’s because they are not interested in what we have to offer or how we provide it. Many people just want an animal today- and that’s it…and even if it’s not that simple/ urgent, they still miss the point of what we’re doing…and the limitations of what is possible in terms of how we provide.

Charities operate at a loss, the gaps filled by donations…donations from people who get absolutely nothing from us at all in exchange (except a thank you and good feels). They don’t even get an animal- and they give their hard earned money because we do indeed serve the animals well.


Is it ironic then that the people who actually could benefit by going home with an animal are so often the hardest to please (before even meeting an animal)- and are the only outspoken and angry people we deal with? 


The rule of charities is this: 

If a charity fails to do something (or do it well) it is always because of a lack of resources to attend to that “weakness” (as a for-profit would). In short, we lack someone to do “it” volunteer- or the funding to pay someone to staff “that”. 

Charities always continue to operate and function, despite the lack of humans and funding truly needed to thrive. We are expected to do everything and then some with less than is reasonable or feasible…but we still do it. 

Every day a charity stays in business is a miracle…and yet Motley Zoo still thrives. The 5 star reviews show that. 

We succeed despite being up against all odds- especially those that dictate what “good” customer service looks like…the most prominent being we have one of any animal and many vying for them- and we can’t process applications any faster than we do. 

And we can’t just hire people or produce more animals as a for-profit would…so we continue to operate as we must, doing more with less day in and day out- and indeed making people happy if they let us.

However, sometimes people don’t like the process of getting served by us. 

They don’t want to invest time or effort into the application. They don’t like how long it takes to review it and thoroughly assess the compatible matches we have for their needs. They don’t want to cooperate with us…and this is where things can quickly go downhill.

If they don’t want to answer questions, they will be unhappy. If they want us to just give them a dog already, they will be unhappy. If they want us to do it in a time frame of their choosing they will be unhappy. If they want a dog we KNOW will not succeed in their life (lifestyle, dwelling type, activity level, etc) and we won’t give it to them, they will be unhappy. 

Many people come to us thinking they can and should direct the process, which will make them unhappy. They cut off the process- usually with rudeness and vitriol- and write a 1 star review.

However those that go with the flow, and get to meeting (and 99% of the time, adopting) the animal that has been carefully selected for them- even if it’s not the first one they saw; even if it’s not in whatever timeframe they preferred- wind up happy. 

They get what they need because they don’t try to control something they have no control over. They don’t blame people who are working hard for them (unpaid) for all of their frustrations from that day (or week, or month). They don’t berate us for doing what they came to us to do…they respect that in order to end up with success for them, they have to “tolerate” a process we have perfected over many years.

And it isn’t just 5 star ratings that show that. Our adoption return rate is less than 2%- whereas that of a shelter is at higher than 50% (especially right now). Paired with a live release rate of 99%+ for our entire existence, we are not just serving animals well- we are indeed serving people well…when they let us.

Let us help you and you will be happy. But this takes time- and not just for lack of resources.

Finding your dream house- or the spouse you wanted to marry- didn’t happen overnight (nevermind there is paperwork and formalities to tackle to get there).


People understand and expect this when it comes to those aspects…to apply with extensive mortgage applications (sometimes more than once). They expect to apply and wait for a marriage license (after the extensive time it likely took to find the person to marry)...

People expect a “process” when it comes to other “big” things in life…so why is it different for a pet? 

Why is it so often expected that the process of finding your dream pet will be easy, quick and fast when the rest of life is so rarely like that? 

And are we as an organization really to blame because you put that impossible expectation on our shoulders?

The process is all that much more critical to you and your happiness too if your pet is to be family and forever, such as we intend and strive for. 

We don’t want to see our animals again- and therefore, our process reflects that. People who are unhappy with that often had something else in mind…something we could never offer.

Many people don’t want what we offer- and have said so…but that doesn’t mean we have failed to provide good (or even, great) service to them…or the animals.

Ultimately dissatisfaction typically  comes down to the fact that they wanted something from us- often something that was impossible to achieve in the first place such as serving them as a shelter would when we’re a rescue. 

People often have very unrealistic expectations of what we can do at all, never mind what we do well or not.

Please see our web page: on the differences and how this affects your selection of an animal organization to adopt from and your potential satisfaction.


Organizations are not corporations without thoughts, opinions or feelings- they are a team of volunteers with real feelings...people who would be extremely upset to read what some disgruntled people have said about their commitment and effort to the animals.

Such criticism is enough to make volunteers want to quit- which is never going to make an organization better or solve the problems you say we have so many of. The reality is the only ones who will be impacted significantly and negatively are the animals.

And if we can’t do our job to save animals and place them with compatible people who allow the process to happen, then animals will die. 

Is your opinion truly more valuable than the life of an animal? Do you really want us to stop saving lives because you are unhappy?

Clearly some people think so! But we implore you to please ask yourself, what is your goal for publicly speaking out against an organization like ours working around the clock, unpaid, which is trying to make the world a better place- for innocent animals and people alike? 

Do you want to be right or would you like to solve a problem? We’d like to solve a problem if you have one and we can…but that will never be accomplished by not coming to us first.

We understand that what we do and how we do it is not universal knowledge, but if you don’t know, maybe just go with the flow? Trying to go against the grain, to dictate, demand and belittle- or flat out slander- our volunteers and organization accomplishes nothing good…however, it can indeed harm.


Hurt feelings can heal but euthanization is permanent. 


A charity should be rated based on its mission and how well that is accomplished. ​And what really are you reviewing if you came to us and won’t let us do our job because you can’t get out of your own way to allow that? ​

The fact is the animals’ needs are always crystal clear, in black and white…yet so rarely is this true for people. Trying to navigate the human condition while trying to do good in the world is an extremely thankless job- and it is harder when people cannot stop to think of the bigger picture before they are quick to judge.

We find it unfortunate that we can’t serve every person in the way they want, but this is the intrinsic nature of trying to find matches for the animals over just “finding homes”. 

Frankly few would be happy if we were just finding homes. It’s because we care more than just giving people surprises and incompatible animals that we open ourselves up to criticism.

But it’s also because we care about so much more than criticism that we keep serving the animals- who are always happy in the end.

The extent to which we go to ensure the animals are matched properly may be a detriment in someone’s eyes, but we know all too well it is the only option for us in terms of the animals’ best interest- and ultimately making those great matches with few returns is the true gauge of that effort…not someone’s opinion.

We doubt malice is intentional, but you are not making the world better for any animals when you complain about the very fiber of a rescue’s operation, functionality and processes that simply have to be this way to solve the problem we set out to when we established this mission.

If you are that bothered by the process of adoption, we encourage you to consider volunteering or fostering to understand how the people who are tirelessly and thanklessly doing the work feel- and how that is what we focus on over a stranger’s outbursts. 

Invest yourself into trying to make the process better, easier, more fun- as this is exactly why we broke off from other organizations to start Motley Zoo in 2009.

Motley Zoo was the response to a broken system, inefficient processes and for missions driven by feelings and ego.

We sleep well at night knowing we are doing what the animals need- and that for many people, we are exactly the answer they want and are willing to work with to find their pet.

While we are always willing to truly accept and fix our mistakes, the majority of the 1 stars are not that. You can see by our responses we desire to resolve conflict, especially if we are at fault (which is certainly never intentional).

We are also always constantly reimagining our process and trying to make things simpler, easier and more fun- never sitting back on our laurels to say “this is how it is”. 

We are not asking you to accept a broken system- we are asking you to reconsider what broken is in your mind. 

Perhaps the very thing you feel is broken is the key to your success with an animal placement. Perhaps what you think isn’t working is how we’ve placed more than 4,500 animals (many of them special or medically needy) with people who still have them more than a decade later.

We’re simply saying that there is a process for a reason- and it’s not just Motley Zoo’s process. The process is rescue…one you may not understand or appreciate, but it’s one that works as well as it can when all odds are against us to start.

If you truly take umbrage with us, at least talk to us.


Or consider joining us and help be the one to fix or improve the issues you didn’t like- because that is literally the only way your voice truly counts.

Words will do nothing to create a positive change here- but they can hurt animals and cause their death unnecessarily.

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