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Oregon Humane Society worries about safety of biking adopted pets home

Posted by on April 30th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Our family cat “Dusty” on the way to the vet.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

On Tuesday, Portlander Sonia Connolly went to adopt a cat at the Oregon Human Society. Unfortunately, because she planned to take it home by bike, she was informed that she couldn’t complete the adoption.

Connolly then shared her experience on a local email list and on Twitter. She claimed OHS policy required that all animals must be brought home in a car. Someone who read Connolly’s email contacted OHS to inquire about the policy and received the following email from a customer service rep:

“Yes, this is true. We require you take the animal home in a car. If you do not have a car, you will either need to arrange for a ride or call a taxi. This is not only for the animal’s safety but also many forms of public transportation will not allow animals. Also, Columbia is a very busy road so we are extra cautious for the animal’s safety and the safest way for them to leave here is in a car. Thank you.”

“We look at it from the pet’s perspective… They don’t love the car ride and I can only imagine how they’d respond to a bicycle ride.”
— Barbara Baugnon, Oregon Human Society

Connolly was disappointed in the policy, which she said wasn’t explained anywhere on their website. “I shouldn’t have to hide that I ride a bike,” she shared with us via email, “and OHS shouldn’t have covert policies that discriminate against some adopters… My opinion is that it’s none of their business how I choose to transport myself and my dependents, even if newly adopted.”

We contacted OHS public affairs department and spoke about the situation with Communications Director Barbara Baugnon. She explained that their organization is very bike-friendly, that many OHS employees ride bikes and they have a bike rack in front of the business.

When I asked if their policy prohibits adopters from taking pets home by bike she said it’s a discretionary decision that can be made on a case-by-case basis. “We look at it from the pet’s perspective,” she said. “With a cat specifically, they’re notoriously bad travelers. They don’t love the car ride and I can only imagine how they’d respond to a bicycle ride.”

If someone doesn’t have access to a car and wants to adopt a pet, Baugnon suggested they could plan ahead. “It’s the same as if you want to move a couch. How would you plan for that? It’s an extension of responsible pet ownership. Maybe it’s asking a friend to drive you. Or, if you came here on a bike and fell in love with a cat, you could put it on hold while you wait for transportation.”

A billboard ad from OHS shows a dog in a pedicab.
(Photo: Sent in by a reader)

Baugnon went on to explain that their philosophy is that the adoption process officially ends at the car. They walk dogs and cats out an adopter’s car to make sure it gets securely fastened for a safe ride home. “Our last gift to that pet is getting it into that car.”

Bike parking at Oregon Humane Society-2
The bike rack at OHS.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Until this morning, Baugnon didn’t even realize pet adoption by bike was an issue. “I didn’t give it too much thought, but it sounds like, from a pet’s perspective, that would be incredibly scary and could possibly mean getting the adoption off on the wrong foot.” A car is a better choice than a bicycle for a newly adopted cat, she explained, because a car ride would feel more enclosed (without fresh air blowing in), it would have fewer vibrations, and it would be quieter — all things cats prefer.

Baugnon also expressed concerns that a cat could claw through a cardboard crate, and then even escape from a bike trailer. The thought of that made her very nervous. “They finally got their golden lottery ticket to get home… And I just want them to get home.”

A major element in OHS’s concerns are that they are unfortunately located on Columbia Blvd, a major arterial full of fast cars and semi-trucks and with no bike lanes or even a shoulder. The closest bus stop is 1/2 mile away. “This isn’t even about the bike vs. the car, it’s about the location of OHS. It’s not like we’re on Belmont or Hawthorne, it’s a treacherous road. It’s treacherous to even walk on.”

As I explained the bicycling perspective to Baugnon, and offered my opinion on why some people might not be thrilled with their existing policy, she was open-minded and genuinely interested in taking proactive steps to improve the situation. She said they plan to explicitly address the bicycling question on their adoption web page. We shared ideas on how best to do that, including some tips on how to ensure the best experience for those who want to bike a pet home (like borrowing a cargo bike and bringing a few blankets to drape over the crate).

Another possibility Baugnon seemed to like would be to partner with a taxi cab company and offer free rides home for bike-riding adopters.

This is a new issue for OHS and they seem more than willing to address it. It’s clear to me they want to make the experience of adoption as positive as possible — regardless of whether the pet gets home in a car or on a bike. “I’m sure bikers would provide a wonderful home for pets, we just want to make sure the pets get home safely.”

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  • Chris I April 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I can somewhat understand this for cats, but this is absolutely ridiculous for dogs. My dogs love riding in the buckets on my Big Dummy. “Fresh air” is a good thing…

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    • David Amiton April 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      On the flipside, my rescue dog is absolutely terrified of his doggie-specific bike trailer. We gave it a try after I’d had him for a year and a half and it was the most frightened I’ve ever seen him. I can only imagine what his reaction would have been had I tried to transport him in the trailer within just an hour of having met him!

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      • dan April 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        Same here, though in our case it’s more “quite nervous” than “terrified”. He’s been down the block a few times and I’m hoping that over time he’ll get used to it enough that we can bike places together. I wonder if bakfiets setup would be preferable for him, but I’m not really ready to drop $3k on a doggie chariot just to experiment.

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    • L April 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      You’d take a dog that has been stressed at the shelter and is now going to have to get used to you, bonded to you and your home and life and transport him “home” on a bike? Your dogs love it because they are bonded to you, they trust you and they trust the situation. You’d be a fool to do this with a dog you don’t really even know yet and he/she hasn’t learned to trust you yet.

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      • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        I’d rather they get to know my lifestyle the minute I pick them up…

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        • David Amiton April 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm

          Congratulations, you found the quickest way to a dog bite!

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          • Jayson May 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

            I couldn’t agree more. I tried so hard to get my dog to sit in a bike trailer that I specifically fitted for her. She loves car rides, so I thought it would be just as fun for her. Nope, my super sweet dog bit me, and even broke through the trailer’s cloth to get out. Lesson learned!

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        • Aaronf April 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          Why not carefully tie kitty’s cardboard box onto the back of a Harley and hop on the freeway? I mean, if that’s how I roll, right? It’s not dangerous…

          You seem inconsiderate, at least towards animals. I accept that some people are not very compassionate towards animals. I bet those folks at the shelter would feel worst of all about a scared animal being unnessecarily scared even more, or escaping, and I’m glad that they’re the ones who set the policy.

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        • Oregon Mamacita May 6, 2014 at 11:30 am

          This whole discussion speaks volumes about the cycling communities in PDX. Bike evangelists cannot conceive of a situation where their utopian vision could give way to the needs of a canine, with its own opinions and frames of reference. Other folks are more balanced. Bikes are good, but you need a car to pick up a rescue cat.

          I have a rescue animal, and my little guy needed a calm transition from the rescue family to my foster home. Perhaps after I read Shoup and Jane Jacobs to him, he will ask to go on a bike ride on Columbia Blvd.

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          • Andres May 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

            Ooh, let’s play the replace-bike-with-car game!

            “This whole discussion speaks volumes about the motoring communities in PDX. Car evangelists cannot conceive of a situation where their utopian vision could give way to the needs of a canine, with its own opinions and frames of reference. Other folks are more balanced. Cars are good, but you need a bike to pick up a rescue cat.”

            For some reason, folks in a car-centric mindset can’t seem to fathom that a cat might be MORE terrified and traumatized being transported in a car than on a bike. What do you think is a more soothing way to travel for an animal who is not accustomed to being moved around in a box: traveling in a big metal/glass box, with no outside airflow, and no ability to see anything, but noises, humming, roaring, weird smells, and G-forces indicating travel at faster speeds than they’d ever normally travel? Or do you think it might be on a quiet (or maybe slighly squeaky) machine, where there’s outside air flow, normal outside smells, the ability to see their surroundings, and the feeling of traveling around speeds (15mph) that they might normally sprint? Sure, it could be frightening on a busy street, but there’s a quiet, calm neighborhood street RIGHT THERE.

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      • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:15 am

        It depends on the dog, and the setup on the bike. My setup is very safe, with restraints for the dogs, and very little exposure. Perhaps the OHS can make recommendations on transportation, instead of a hard rule?

        Do they let people with small cab pickups take dogs and cats home in the pickup bed? That would be more stressful than a slow pedal through north Portland…

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    • K May 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      But, Chris, there is no way to know if a NEWLY ADOPTED animal would also like to ride in the buckets on your bike. This is common sense. We are not entitled to transport an animal any way we see fit without taking into consideration the needs of the animal.

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  • Sigma April 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Anyone this myopic and self centered has no business being a pet owner. Has this woman ever met a cat?

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    • Terry D April 30, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      My cats prefer a bike trip than a car trip…ALL FOUR, reared separately (3 of 4) and even Jack the rescue kitty from OHS does not mind so much(though I have never taken him in a car…see my comment below) They HATE the car, but do not mind being in the carrier on the bike trailer. It is because we use residential roads and they can watch and smell the scenery…in a car they FREAK. Cars are scary and dangerous to them and I would prefer them to think that way. I wonder if you have ever taken your cat to the vet on a bike in a proper carrier/trailer?

      I do however make sure the weather is good…..if it is raining, then it would have to be car-share.

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      • Andres May 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

        Ditto. My cat is terrified of the car, she freaks out. I have a backpack cat carrier for riding with her. She doesn’t love it, but she still is much less scared when she’s on my back. She only gets really upset when a really loud truck passes me.

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  • Alan 1.0 April 30, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    If avoiding Columbia Blvd is a major stopping point, maybe OHS could arrange for adopted pets to be transported to more bike-friendly locations for pick-up. Both PetSmart and PetCo routinely have adoptable pets in their stores, so they’d just need to coordinate between their in-store volunteers, the animals they bring for the day, and the new owner.

    OHS could require crates harder than cardboard for the trip home, and offer loaners for a deposit. I’d require a minimum of three bungies, too.

    While I’ve seen animals which have been successfully accustomed to being transported by bike (and had one myself), I agree with Baugnon that it’s generally more stressful for them, and adoption with all its turmoil is highly stressful for them already. If I had another option, I’d use it.

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    • davemess April 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      The non-profit adoption agencies we’ve worked with for our dogs actually drive the pet to your house.

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  • Austin April 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    These animals have already had some upset to their lives, some of them many times over, I’m sure. To be taken out of a place that has become home and thrust into the, honestly, insane traffic on Columbia, just seems like irresponsible pet ownership to me.

    Out of the riding I’ve done in Portland, it is absolutely the worst road I’ve dealt with. The freight trucks are fast and LOUD, people routinely drive at speeds above the speed limit. I have no doubt that the animal could be kept safe on bicycle on Columbia, but there is a difference of BEING safe and FEELING safe, and at the end of the day, you want your animal to FEEL safe. You can’t talk sense into a dog or cat.

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    • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      …at least for the 1/2 block you have to travel to get to a cross-street and off of Columbia…

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      • Terry D April 30, 2014 at 8:49 pm

        Exactly…we crossed the street and took the greenway system all the way home. Jack did meow the entire way, but he has acclimated to our household very well.

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  • TonyT April 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I imagine she said “move a couch” not a “coach,” although those also would be heavy.

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  • Oliver April 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I’m going to side with OHS on this.

    I’m not opposed to moving pets by bicycle per se; we recently adopted a puppy and I am currently shopping for a trailer to take him around in. I wouldn’t put either of my cats on a bicycle, (as indoor cats they have led really sheltered lives) though I have seen people (pictures and video anyway) of people riding with their well trained cats.

    But I wouldn’t want to subject a pet in transition to the trauma of being transported via bike or the risk of what might become of them if they should escape en-route.

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    • Gibbs April 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Even more than that, Columbia Blvd is a nightmare, and getting off of it by bike is terrible even without a freaked out cat. I used to commute past OHS and I’m so with them. It’s totally inappropriate and not good pet-stewardship to try to haul your new pet home by Columbia. I’m guessing the potential adoptor doesn’t actually know where OHS is or understand the limitations of the location, because I can’t imagine anyone having this tantrum if they had a clue.

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      • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 12:52 am

        My “tantrum”, which convinced them to “make an exception” was not due to ignorance. We are not stupid, we mapped out the entire rotue ahead of time and knew exactly how to get home on quiet residential roads. I have a 19 year old plus two 13 years olds and know how to keep them safe.

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  • christy April 30, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    If I were staff or a volunteer at the shelter I would have offered to drive the cat to his/her new home. Or is the bureaucratic mire so sticky that this isn’t possible. Let us believe that the cat knows nothing of her botched rescue.

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    • L April 30, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Do you have any idea how many adoptions happen at that shelter each year? 13,000 or so. The staff at OHS is there to facilitate adoptions – not drive your animal home because you won’t get a friend or family member to help you out or pay for a taxi ride.

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      • Mij April 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        Did Christy suggest that this becomes policy? Nope. I would probably do the same if I worked/volunteered there and had a car in the off chance someone showed up on a bike to take an animal home. Not sure what 13,000 adoptions/year has to do with that. How many are being made by people who would otherwise do it by bike? Impossible to know, probably small, and few enough for anyone to take upon themselves to go the extra mile without your incredulousness or becoming a free-service expected to be offered by OHS. I have no idea why you take issue with someone helping someone else out in this one instance. Perhaps you read way more into it?

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        • David Amiton April 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

          I think you’re missing the point.

          OHS is a busy place. The staff there are busy. They need to spend their time doing their job, which is working at OHS. If instead they spent their time transporting adopted cats in their personal vehicles, then they wouldn’t be spending their time doing their job.

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        • L April 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm

          Have you ever been to OHS? Do you know how busy the place is and how many adoptions are in stages going on all day long? There’s no way the staff could drive animals home for people who just won’t figure out another way to, this one time, get the animal home other than on a bike. When you volunteer there or when you work there your job is not to travel all over the metro area delivering animals to homes. Your job is to match humans and animals and help figure out the best match. It’s a huge job in and of itself never mind caring for the animals, cleaning cages, walking dogs.

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      • K May 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        Right on! People need to stop whining and feeling entitled to do whatever they want. OHS works hard and does an incredible job with facilitating adoptions. The world can’t always bend to your will.

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  • Elly April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    My cat is not trained in any way at all. He freaks out in his carrier in the car—it’s completely stressful. He is relaxed and engaged in his carrier on the bike. I’m sure not every cat is like this, but that’s all I got. Our dog (adopted from OHS!!) had to be trained to ride on the bike without being in a crate, but does fine now.

    At any rate, how great would it be to invite the OHS folks on a cargo bike ride to see for themselves? I think there’s a Kidical Mass coming up… maybe folks with pets who bike would want to join this one.

    PS I’m not sure how I’d move a couch with a car. Is that even possible? On the roof maybe? Seems dangerous. But most big furniture fits fine on my big bike trailer.

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    • Nathan April 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      I think you strap the couch to the windshield…

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    • GlowBoy April 30, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      As someone who has almost always owned a small wagon of some sort, I have transported couches many, many times. Never had one not fit. Many hatchbacks can do it too, let alone nearly all SUVs. This is why I’ve never understood sedans.

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    • davemess May 1, 2014 at 10:32 am

      I see many people trying to bring their own personal pets’ ability to ride on/with their bike as justification that a completely strange, new pet, who probably is a little shaken/angry/confused will be able to handle it just fine (Terry, I see that this worked out for you, which is great). I don’t think these arguments are very relative to this specific situation. My dog took a number of times before we could actually get here to sit in a bike trailer (once she tried to jump out on Division), and this was a dog we had had for over a year and hopefully built up some trust with. A new adoption is completely different. Cats are maybe a little different because they can fit in a carrier (kennel) just fine on a bike, but trying to rationalize that a scared, nervous newly adopted pet will be fine just because your long-term pet loves to ride with you on your bike is not very logical.

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    • wsbob May 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

      “…PS I’m not sure how I’d move a couch with a car. …” Elly

      You don’t, or shouldn’t. If you want to move big things like couches with personal vehicles, that’s what you borrow a friend’s big ol’ F-150 pickup for.

      Interesting to read the vast range of reaction people describe their pets having to various modes of travel. All animals are different, with their own temperament, and their response to a strange experience may be one a new owner can’t easily anticipate. Right out the gate, some pets may take to being confined in a pet carrier attached to a bike, or in a motor vehicle, and others won’t. A little trial run on one or the other before leaving the grounds may be one idea for the society to consider. The OHS gal’s words definitely convey great compassion and concern for adopted pets well being.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    This OHS adoption transport policy is an interesting disjoint to OHS’s regional [often environmental] campaign to promote a pet in every home, especially their billboard showing a ex-pet-less person riding with their new pet in a pedicab…to its new home.

    http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1.0-0/c2.0.957.638/s720x720/544058_343695512395765_1880873127_n.jpg
    Photo from the site: Free The Billboards

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    • Todd Hudson April 30, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      It’s a *CARTOON*. Dogs cannot smile either.

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    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

      That looks like false advertising.

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  • Dave April 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    As someone who is a ten-time sucker over many years at animal shelters……hell, there’s just times when you’ve got to get over it and use a f**** car. The animals are worth it, aren’t they?

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    • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      so far nothing has been “worth it” enough to make me use a car…

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  • John Lascurettes April 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    It’s unfortunate in so many ways that OHS is located where it is.

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    • L April 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      Real estate costs being what they are, the size of OHS being what it is, it’s not a surprise at all that it is located where it is. Remember: this incredible shelter, one of the nation’s very best with soaring adoption rates for cats and dogs, operates without any federal or state handouts. In other words, throw OHS a bone here. Pun intended. Additionally: not everyone who adopts a cat at OHS shows up with their own hard-sided carrier. Many, many new animal guardians leave OHS with their new feline family member in one of the shelter’s cardboard carriers.

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      • John Lascurettes April 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

        I understand why it is where it is. It’s just unfortunate.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        A note about their location. They’ve been at that same spot since 1918… and back then it was nothing but cow pastures. Seriously.

        I would love to see OHS throw some weight around and get ODOT/PBOT to make Columbia less insane.

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        • Charley April 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm

          Wow. Awesome bit of historical context here!

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          • Alan 1.0 April 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

            Not to mention a commendable idea for making lemonade from lemons!

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  • Joseph E April 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    “Columbia is a very busy road so we are extra cautious for the animal’s safety and the safest way for them to leave here is in a car. Thank you.”

    If you are leaving by bike or on foot, or even by bus, you aren’t going to walk or bike on Columbia. Google maps suggests you will cross it at 11th right in front of their building at the legal cross-walk, and head south from there to go to almost any point in the city. The only danger is in crossing the street. The crosswalk is unmarked, but drivers have the legal responsibility to stop for a human (plus pet) on foot.

    FYI, cats and dogs (and other pets?) are allowed on Trimet, if they are in a closed carrier.

    Map of route by bike: http://goo.gl/maps/8jHNx
    By bus: http://goo.gl/maps/Sd8a7

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    • Gibbs April 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      I am very familiar with Columbia, and that…is just not realistic. It is a trucking route, and a major route for industrial traffic for light and heavy industry in the area. Drivers won’t stop (and honestly speed quite a bit). OHS isn’t being stodgy bureaucratic jerkfaces here, they’re being realistic about their geographic location.

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      • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

        Apparently we are unable to wait for gaps in traffic to safely cross a street now…

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    • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      the recently posted Strava heat map agrees with you… lots of activity at OHS and many people seem to be using 11th…

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  • Shoemaker April 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I can hardly believe I’m reading this story. I had to check the calendar. Nope, not April 1. No apparent irony here either.

    Well ok then. This is obviously the same problem of misguided thinking that we see in the well meaning people involved in the 20s bikeway. The most unsafe mode of travel is still the automobile. See NHTSA: www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812016.pdf

    Seriously, we all know that there were animals on the planet before the automobile. How did they get around? I simply can’t imagine. To think of the trauma they must have experienced being chased around by other animals, risking their necks just to get across the valley. Little could they guess that the biggest threat was yet to come – the bicycle.

    Now that they can travel safely by car, they can get to the day spa, the gym and other destinations near and dear to their hearts. OMG

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  • Dave Thomson April 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    We will be redirecting our donations that previously went to OHS to more forward-looking organizations.

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    • L April 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      OHS is more forward looking than any other shelter in the country. Bringing animals to Portland from all over the west coast and other locations so they have a chance at a life here with a loving family, reducing adoption costs, giving seniors a break on adoption fees, sponsoring spay/neuter clinics for folks who can’t afford it for their animals. OHS is one of the best shelters in the country for adoption rates. I’ve been a volunteer there and it’s an incredible place to give my time to.

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      • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

        Full disclosure: do you work for OHS?

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        • L May 1, 2014 at 9:53 am

          I already fully disclosed saying I have been a volunteer there.

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    • annefi May 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

      Oh come on, Dave! OHS is responsibly looking out for the good of the animals. As many posters have stated, a newly adopted cat suddenly thrust on the back of a bike would undergo intense trauma – hardly a favorable beginning to its new life.

      Once it got to the new home the traumatized behavior displayed during the next hours would be very different from the personality traits the adopter observed in the “get acquainted” rooms at the shelter.

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      • dr2chase May 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

        “a newly adopted cat suddenly thrust on the back of a bike would undergo intense trauma”

        What reason do you have for believing this, and what reason do you have for believe that the cat’s trauma, if any, would be any different from the trauma that they experience riding in a car?

        I think the entire reason that you and others who side with OHS in this are getting such a strong reaction is because your objections are entirely faith-based — even though we all know that most cats object to riding in cars (in my experience, ALL cats are unhappy in cars), you and others assume, on the basis of zero experience, that the bike would be worse.

        Compare your assumption here with the assumption that, say, some randomly selected woman could not work in package delivery because “men are stronger than women”. That would be really offensive, wouldn’t it? But in fact, we have more reason to believe that (statistically speaking men are somewhat stronger, we owe it all to steroids) than we do to believe that riding a bike would be traumatic for cats. Do you find that remark about women and strength annoying? If so, excellent, I have made my point. We’re annoyed right back at you, and are wondering when y’all will get a clue and apologize.

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  • Mike April 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I just hope my recently adopted 14 year old pit bull doesn’t sh*t himself while I take the lane on Sandy on my way to the dog park

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  • captainkarma April 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    There are always cats up for adoption elsewhere.

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  • Ted Buehler April 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    OHS is on the corner of NE 11th and Columbia. 11th is very bike-friendly, and has superb connections to all the Neighborhood Greenways, via a traffic-light controlled crossing of Lombard, then a neighborhood connection to the Bryant, Dekum, Holman and Williams Bike Blvds.

    http://goo.gl/maps/erBb8

    All they need is a decent pedestrian crossing at 11th and Columbia, and they’d be just fine. One of those new rapid-flash beacons would do the job just fine.

    Ted Buehler
    who moved his cat by bike…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      I shared with Ms. Baugnon that no one actually bikes on Columbia and that 11th is a good place to cross and it’s relatively safe and easy to get into the n’hoods from there. I told her that me and my kids have ridden to OHS without issue several times. She was happy to hear it.

      Again folks, this is about educating OHS and making them aware of the bicycling perspective. I personally feel no ill will toward their policy because they simply haven’t thought about these issues. Now that they do know about it, we can assess their progress and how they handle it from here on out.

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      • BIKELEPTIC April 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        (I bike on Columbia lots. Sometimes on my tall bike. But not with animals and generally just to get down and across it in the summer and/or at night to get to, err… super secret northerly destination spots)

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      • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 12:21 am

        I explained this exact thing to their manager last august. He did let me take him, but I made it a point to let him know that they needed to review their policy or a story like this would get writen at some point. Maybe this IS a revision since they told us a flat no and I forced the issue to management who then looked at the trailer facilities and “made an execption.” If their policy is now “look at the carrier bike system” before making a decision it is a step forward.

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      • Michael M. May 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

        I used to volunteer at OHS, in the cattery mostly (and occasional dog walking), and mostly got there by bike, usually crossing Columbia Blvd at 11th. Depending upon the time of day, I sometimes found that a bit nerve-wracking and certainly inhospitable, but doable. No one ever mentioned a policy about how you should or shouldn’t transport newly adopted animals. When I did adopt a cat through OHS, I took him home on the bus, with no problems.

        I helped plenty of people who arrived by means other than a private automobile. But as a volunteer, you don’t actually process the adoption — staff does that — so I suppose it is possible some folks who decided to adopt may have run into issues I didn’t hear about.

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  • Ted Buehler April 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I have another beef with OHS, a bit off topic, I’m airing this just to raise awareness —

    They will do nothing to try to return untagged lost pets to their homes.

    Their mission statement says nothing about returning lost pets to their owners, and they don’t have staff that will do a thing to help you if your cat has gone AWOL.

    The policy is clearly backed by a big, blank spot in their mission statement. Not a peep about helping lost pets get returned to their homes.

    “To foster an environment of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals through education, legislation, and leadership. To care for the homeless, to defend the abused, and to fight with unrelenting diligence for recognition of the integrity of all animals.”

    http://www.oregonhumane.org/about_us/about_ohs.asp

    Ted Buehler
    airing an unrelated gripe, made a mistake, and still miss my cat.

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    • BIKELEPTIC April 30, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      I agree with you, Ted. I had a “situation” in Utah with the UHS with a dog that I had and my exhusband relinquished him; but wasn’t his to do that. So I was trying to get him back and they wouldn’t give me any regarding where the dog was, etc. But they wouldn’t let me get him back.

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  • MaxD April 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    OHS is THE WORST! They are a living, breathing Portlandia episode in a bad way. Go to the Pixie Project if you don’t want to deal with insane people who believe everything about animals that they happen to make up. It is completely against the personality of a cat to be locked in a box, and put in a car or a bike, and travel around at high speeds. The person at OHS has stuffed a cat in a box and stuck that box i a car so that makes it ok (which it is). It is also ok to stuff a cat in a box and SECURELY bring them home on a bike. The important thing is the cat out of their and into a home. Most cats do not like being transported, but it is a pretty minor affair. They get over it and go on to have completely happy and completely unproductive lives.

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    • annefi May 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

      MaxD,
      Have you actually been inside the OHS in the past couple of years? The place is amazing. Go in and tour both the cat and dog sections. You will be impressed at the accomodations and the visible contentment of the animals. If you go on a weekend, you will see long lines of people waiting to adopt. We have an exceptional Humane Society in Portland and when people badmouth it I can only assume they lack actual experience with the facilities and knowledge of its impressively high adoption rates.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Jessica Horning April 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Will they let you walk home with a dog if you only live a mile or 2 away from the shelter? I was actually wondering about this issue a couple weeks ago as I locked up to that huge cat rack in front of OHS.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

    • Ted Buehler April 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      BTW, Kudos to ODOT for their bike friendly and ped friendly crossing of Lombard at 11th. PBOT needs to get with the program and put in a similar facility at Columbia and 11th.

      Ted Buehler

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Ted Buehler April 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        Or, make that bike friendly, ped friendly, and PET friendly crossing of Lombard…

        Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Jane April 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I love cats.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • dan April 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Funny, when Mitt Romney did this, it made him unelectable.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • q`Tzal April 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Huh?

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • dan April 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm
        • bendite April 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm

          A dog on the roof for 12 hours is the same as a cat in a bike trailer?
          There were also a few other factors that made him unelectable.

          Recommended Thumb up 2

          • dan May 1, 2014 at 10:28 am

            I didn’t throw in a tag, but that post was meant as humor.

            Recommended Thumb up 3

        • bendite April 30, 2014 at 7:32 pm

          This quote pretty much sums it up: “I can only imagine how they’d respond to a bicycle ride.” So you made a policy decision based on only your imagination?

          Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 12:40 am

      We had a half hour ride at 15 MPH, much different I would think than 12 hours at 60 MPH, but hey…it is only wind and time.

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  • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I can only imagine how they’d respond to a bicycle ride.

    she openly admits her ignorance of her own policy…

    It’s the same as if you want to move a couch. How would you plan for that?

    I’d post it on the SHIFT bicycle list so that somebody with a large trailer can help me move my couch via bicycle…

    the safest way for them to leave here is in a car.

    how does she know this? this sounds like another uninformed assumption on her part…

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Laura April 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Lost and Found animals is the jurisdiction of your County Animal Services.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • BIKELEPTIC April 30, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    “Baugnon went on to explain that their philosophy is that the adoption process officially ends at the car. They walk dogs and cats out an adopter’s car to make sure it gets securely fastened for a safe ride home. “Our last gift to that pet is getting it into that car.””

    THAT IS BS!

    I have personally adopted 2 cats from the OHS on Columbia June 2013 and December 2013 and neither time did they “walk us out to the car” – they shook our hands in the office and left us in the atrium. We could have thrown the cats on top of a wheel barrow or gotten on the bus, hitched it to a cat pulled idiorod sleigh for all they know. They’re so full of it.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

  • Sue April 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I think there may be enough people in Portland now to support my ridiculous idea of bicycle ambulances and firetrucks.

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  • dr2chase April 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Given that they’ve got zero data on animal safety or comfort, I don’t see how they can justify this policy. I’ve never taken a cat on a bike, but they sure don’t like riding in cars, that’s for darn sure.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Spiffy April 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    the problem with the policy seems to be that they don’t have a policy…

    the original SHIFT email thread went back and forth and eventually an answer from OHS was that if the cat is in a secure carrier and securely fastened to the bike trailer then it would be ok…

    however, that’s exactly the setup that the originator had when they went to OHS and were denied…

    so it seems a lot like the Walgreens drive-thru issue where some people allowed it and some didn’t until there was an actual policy set forth by the company…

    their current stance via Twitter is “Okay everyone. OHS does NOT have a policy that no pets can ever be taken home by bicycle. (ctd.)”

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Todd Hudson April 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Listening to people insist that they’re more enlightened about animal welfare than the actual animal welfare people themselves is deafening.

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    • Aaronf April 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      The article isn’t framed to be about animal welfare either, unfortunately. It’s about how a person on a bicycle was denied something that someone with a car would have been allowed. Serious injustice at bp. No real discussion of how the animal might be more afraid on a bike besides “See, I did it to my cat and he’s ok.”

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      • dr2chase April 30, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        Why would the cat be more afraid on a bike? That’s what busted — the assumption that obviously, the bike would be worse, based on nothing at all except their default assumptions. We actually have data about cars and cats — I’ve never, ever met a cat that liked riding in a car, not even a little bit. There’s a chance that the bike might be better, not worse.

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        • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 12:28 am

          It is better. Bravo and Schmaug, my 19 year old, seem to even enjoy the ride in the carrier on our cargo trailer. She HATES car rides and I do whatever I can to keep her stress levels low…being she is about 95 in human years.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

        • Todd Hudson May 1, 2014 at 8:22 am

          Okay then, let’s do an experiment. When you have your next kid, take him/her straight from the maternity ward to the kid carrier on your Big Dummy. Be sure to tell the hospital personnel. Ride your newborne, whose neck can’t even support his/her own head, back home. Let us know how long it takes Child Services to show up at your house.

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • dr2chase May 1, 2014 at 8:30 am

            Care to explain why you think this is relevant at all? A cat is not an infant, not even close.

            Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:36 am

      What about pickup trucks? Does OHS deny adoptions to people with pickups?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Terry D April 30, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Last August we adopted Jack from Oregon Humane Society over on Columbia BL. We have a bike cargo trailer that we use for hauling which we had strapped our cat carrier to.

    Initially they told my partner that they would not let us take him, this is after we did all the paperwork, unless we took a cab. I said….oh, no…then I went back inside, told them if traveling by bike is safe and legal for children, it is fine for cats. Actually, my cats prefer the bike trailer over autos for vet trips. We do it all the time.

    I even threatened to contact….ah, bikeportland.org…and let them know that they may need to do a story about how NOT bike friendly they were and that if I had to call a cab to take us across the street then I was going to write a letter in protest.

    The manager came out, inspected our trailer and we rode off with our dear Jack….who is now very happy. Obviously they have not reviewed their policy like I suggested they do last summer.

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    • Racer X April 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Pwerhaaaps Radio Cab will step in and discount the ride home if the OHS pays for the “mandatory” non bike trip for all new adoptees. Perhaps a good Bike Month/ Pedalpalooza promo special?!

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  • Hazel April 30, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I have taken three different cats across town to the vet with them in a carrier on my Xtracycle which is incredibly secure. All three of them have preferred it(based on the lack of howling/crying) versus the car. I would imagine moving at slower speed and closer to the ground is a little less traumatic than being in the car. I could understand this being on a case by case basis if someone didn’t have a good way to secure the animal but this is a silly rule.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • dwainedibbly April 30, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Hopefully the light on this subject will result in some productive discussions and improvements all around, like when that woman tried going through the burger joint drive through a couple a years ago. Discussions ensued, and, if I recall correctly, they changed their policy. The fact that OHS is genuinely concerned about the animals and is talking about partnering with a taxi company leads me to believe that the outcome here will be positive.

    You don’t know how any given animal will react. Best to get them safely home, let them get established, then, when they’ve had time to adjust, try them on a short ride. If they like it, great! If they don’t, then at least you haven’t traumatized the pet at the time when it is feeling vulnerable. It would be pretty bad to adopt a new pet, discover that it is very afraid of the bike ride, and get the new housing situation off to a bad start.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • bendite April 30, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      The response comes from car centric thinking, though. If the cat goes nuts in the car when they pick it up, I guess the thinking is ‘oh well, that’s just how it has to be’. But somehow, a cat losing it in the bike trailer just isn’t acceptable and you need to find other options.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

  • PomPilot April 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Being on my second rescue cat, all I can say is that each cat is different. My first kitten, did not mind riding in a carrier attached to the front luggage rack of a bike. The current cat, on the other hand does not like travelling by two wheels, or in a closed carrier in a car. If I leave the carrier open on the other hand, she does not mind the car ride.

    My Pomeranian is another matter all together, as you can see from my avatar. She is 11 1/2 years old, and has been riding with me since she was six months old. It did take a couple of months of short (15 minutes or less) rides before she got used to riding.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Itgoesbothways April 30, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I wonder how many people on this site took their new born baby home from the hospital after it was born.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Pets are not people. I just want to make that clear. AAP does not recommend transporting children under the age of 12 months by bike for several good reasons.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Spiffy May 1, 2014 at 8:11 am

      not me, but only because I still had a car at the time and it was my main mode of transport…

      I’d take the bus these days…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 10:59 am

      I wonder how many people on this site took their new born baby home from the hospital after it was born.

      All of them, I hope, and condolences to any who didn’t.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • KillMoto May 1, 2014 at 11:08 am

      OHS lets people take puppies and kittens home only a few days after they are born? Probably not (such a thing would not be ‘humane’). But that’s what you are implying.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 1, 2014 at 11:40 am

      FWIW I didn’t. I only go to the hospital when I’m really sick or injured. My wife was pregnant, which is neither of those conditions, so we had our three babies at home. ;-).

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Haha! I didn’t consider that case. Very nice! :)

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Glenn April 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I think I’ll stick with getting kittens from a kid with a cardboard box full of them outside the grocery store. No fees, no bureaucracy and Caveat your own darn Emptor!

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Elle Emme April 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    FWIW, I adopted a cat from OHS in 2003 without a car. Walked the half mile down Columbia to MLK to catch the #6 bus back home. They didn’t even blink an eye.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • reader April 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    @TerryD: Reminds me of the time they wouldn’t let me leave the ER unless I had a ride, in a car. I called Radio Cab and had them drive me across the street to the MAX station.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 8:24 am

      I had that happen to me once as well. I think it is standard policy due to liability reasons….

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • megawonk April 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    this is such a portlandia skit waiting to happen. also, what ***word deleted by moderator*** shows up on a bicycle to try and adopt a pet? OHS is on columbia blvd. like big ass semi trucks and 55 mph traffic. do your new doggy or kitty buddy a favor and get a ride with somebody! k thanks…

    —— megawonk, Please be sensitive with word choice. Something that might be common jargon or a joke to you might be a hurtful insult to others. Thanks. — Jonathan

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 12:36 am

      My bike with cargo trailer is 13 feet long and had a hauling capacity of 600 pounds. We take it to lumber yards, costco and the vet all the time. I also, on the other hand, will not insult you except to point out that you can haul anything by bike safely if you have the proper facilities. I also think I know how to cross a street, even if it is columbia bl.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 7:48 am

      What kind of ***word deleted by moderator*** (your word, not mine) drives with an unrestrained pet in a car? Just look how deadly they are:
      https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pets-in-vehicles.aspx

      —— Chris, just because one commenter used an inappropriate word doesn’t make it right to use. Please be sensitive with word choice. Something that might be common jargon or a joke to you might be a hurtful insult to others. Thanks. — Jonathan

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 8:34 am

        Sorry. I was re-using the word (which I do find offensive) to make a point. I should have just pointed out the misuse of the word instead.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Grandpa May 1, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Bike Snob NY Please come to the white courtesy phone

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Terry D May 1, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Here is how we brought Jack home by bike last august…I knew I had a pick of it somewhere.

    https://scontent-b-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/v/t35.0-12/1090496_10200971076313486_1164631136_o.jpg?oh=6bde82fda7a98dd1434ae165df14bc09&oe=536433E7

    Needless to say he is doing great. He was an emaciated 9.5 Maine Coon when we broke him out of jail. He had had repeated UTI’s due to stress and poor diet at his last home. Now he is 15.5 pounds, is doing great and even has been pulled off his prescription diet as it is unneeded now (according to our vet which we took him also by bike, like we do all out cats).

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Aha! A Masi…that explains why OHS let that cat go on a bike! :)

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Robert Burchett May 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

        It appears that the trailer is attached to the bike behind the Masi, unless perhaps it’s a rare left side drive train Masi!

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Terry D May 3, 2014 at 9:41 am

          Correct, mine is the bianchi axis, my partner’s bike is the Masi. He rode behind me while I took Jack. That way any, admittedly minimal risk since we were on residential greenways, Jack was then sa

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spiffy May 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

    if it’s a common concern that a cat will claw through their provided cardboard carriers then why would they let you take it home in a car where it can get in the way of your controls and cause you to crash and kill people?

    is the pet’s welfare more important than the lives of those around me?

    cars kill way more animals everything than bicycles do…

    I can just imagine the lawsuit after a cyclist is denied and begrudgingly borrows a car only for the animal to get loose and cause them to crash…

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Sue May 1, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Meanwhile, it’s still a nightmare to ride a bike in east Portland.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Bin May 1, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Since over 25,000 people die each year in automobile collisions in America, it’s not exactly clear that driving your pet home in your car is a safe proposition. Bikes belong.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • KillMoto May 1, 2014 at 10:52 am

    “Baugnon also expressed concerns that a cat could claw through a cardboard crate, and then even escape from a bike trailer.”

    So instead the cat escapes into a fast moving car, climbs up the driver’s face making him swerve into oncoming traffic and kill a bus full of people. Do they require cats be transported in the trunk?

    “it would have fewer vibrations, and it would be quieter”
    Nope. It *could* have fewer vibrations, and it “could” be quieter. But some drivers have high powered music systems with massive subwoofers that shake buildings a block away when they drive by. Does OHS check that drivers aren’t going to blast music on their way home?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • kate May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    “With a cat specifically, they’re notoriously bad travelers. They don’t love the car ride and I can only imagine how they’d respond to a bicycle ride.”

    This is an example of a perfectly reasonable conclusion, but with absolutely NO science to back it up, because I was personally surprised AS HELL when my cat complained way LESS when transported by bike vs in the car (which traumatizes him). I initially thought he would hate the bike worse than the car because of the lack of shock absorption, but he was much calmer traveling (slowly, of course) via bike. In fact, I think it might be preferable to carry cats by bike because cats HATE car noises and the fact that they can’t see anything because they are moving so fast.

    I’d seriously like to see a study on this.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Chris I May 1, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      I have a very anxious, high-energy blue heeler. He does not travel well in cars. He barks like a maniac at everything going by, paces, pants, etc. When I haul him on my big dummy, he just chills in the bucket and sniffs/watches the world go by. It’s amazing, and quite unexpected.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Alan 1.0 May 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      I’d seriously like to see a study on this.

      It wouldn’t be hard to do. Ten or so cats, a crate with secure attachment to a bike, a car, a video cam, and a few hours (~10 to 20min ride per cat).

      It’s tempting to try it with my two cats but that wouldn’t be statistically significant, it would under-estimate the stress of shelter cats, and I don’t have a cam. Still, I may well try it for their next vet visit. FWIW, they handle car travel just fine.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Ted Buehler May 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    On recollection, I recall that my single move-cat-by-bike was done without complaint by Gypsy, my then 8 yr old cat.

    The many move-cat-by-car trips have usually been accompanied by the sounds of a distraught kitty. And, recently, vet trips by car.

    I’m going to do an experiment — next time one has to go to the vet, we’ll go by bike and see how they handle it. Then we can compare notes and report back to OHS, if folks are so inclined.

    How about a follow- up post in 6 months, Jonathan, to compare notes?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Ted Buehler May 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Has anyone pulled the crash data for cars entering and exiting the OHS parking lot onto Columbia? I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been a few injury-causing crashes there.

    It may be safer to acess the OHS facility on foot at the 11th ave crosswalk than making a left turn in or out by car.

    Just sayin,

    Ted Buehler

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ted Buehler May 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Though, checking google street view, I don’t see a marked crosswalk. Somehow I thought someone had mentioned that there was one there.

      Still, its no picnic in a car on an average weekday unless you right-turn in and right-turn out.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kevin Love May 2, 2014 at 3:41 am

    What kind of ***word deleted by moderator*** launches a lethal cancer poison attack against animals and human beings by driving a car in a city?

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Trek 3900 May 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Sounds like OHS is just looking out for the pets. If the street is fairly unsafe they are doing the right thing.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Chris I May 2, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Yep. It’s better to euthanize the cat than to let someone take it home by bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • L May 3, 2014 at 2:41 am

        The cat wont’ be euthanized because this person didn’t adopt it. Check OHS’s feline adoption rates and their policy about no timelines for adoptable animals.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Andres May 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      No. If the street is fairly unsafe, the right thing to do is convince the city, county, or state to FIX THE STREET. Not rocket science. Otherwise, you’re just penalizing one user mode over another, without solving any problems. People are still going to get into collisions on the street (with the pets in their car suffering) if no one is allowed to bike, but the street remains unsafe.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Liz May 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I agree with the shelter. Cats hate noise, cars whizzing by and a transport that they are not accustomed to. I would not transport a dog by bike, either. The more distractions you have on your bike, the less safe it could be.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • voline May 3, 2014 at 5:57 am

    “Baugnon went on to explain that their philosophy is that the adoption process officially ends at the car. They walk dogs and cats out an adopter’s car to make sure it gets securely fastened for a safe ride home. “Our last gift to that pet is getting it into that car.”

    I adopted two cats on separate occasions from OHS in 2011. Neither time did anyone walk us out to the car with them.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • jim May 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

    If she rode a unicycle, would she have to hide that?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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