The Vanderhorst family wanted to adopt a cat since their last cat had passed away two years ago. They went to a shelter, Friends of Strays, and decided to adopt a cat named Sunshine. Except the manager of the shelter said that they couldn’t adopt the cat because of their son, Matthew. The son has been diagnosed with mental retardation and is developmentally delayed. The manager was afraid for the safety of Sunshine when she heard Matthew screaming. Friends of Stray says that since it is a private, non profit organization, it is able to have stricter policies and says they can deny anyone an adoption.
The family says that the shelter passed judgment too quickly and even a spokesperson for the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities agrees. The spokesperson said that: “they should have investigated the circumstances before they summarily denied the family a pet.”
The Vanderhorsts already have two dogs and a cat, and they ended up adopting another cat from a SPCA facility after they were denied adoption at Friends of Strays. Matthew’s parents said that their pets have had an important and significant impact on Matthew’s life.