We've all told our share of lies. Some people lie more than others, and some claim not to lie at all; of course, they're lying. I try not to lie for two reasons: you don't have to worry about what other people know if you don't try to hide anything, and the truth is usually much more offensive.
Working in animal welfare bears a similarity to being a social worker or a police officer in that you spend a lot of time being lied to, usually by people who would benefit if they just told the truth. At the very least, it would make my job easier if I didn't have to scrutinize every word spoken to me, and while I'm on the subject of making my job easier, I wouldn't mind not dealing with rednecks anymore.
There are people I like dealing with - usually people from other rescue organizations who understand what I do and are serious about helping me do it more effectively. They've read the placement guidelines on my website, which include things like "Please don't try to entice us by telling us how wonderful the dog is, or how much money it is worth - if it was so wonderful, you'd be keeping it, and if it was so valuable, you'd be able to sell it." Or this one: "We're very good at figuring out the truth, and you'll only end up being caught in your lie - that doesn't mean we won't take the dog, it just means we'll think you're an idiot."
Unfortunately, the locals I deal with don't get online much, and they haven't read my guidelines. They think they're dealing with the same kind of naïve, trusting person they've met at other rescues. They're morons. On rare occasions, an individual places a dog with me and I'm not completely repulsed; I've even liked a few of them. But most of them make me physically ill. Whenever I take in a dog, I try to spend some time talking to the person placing the animal with me, despite my overwhelming urge not to do so. The longer I talk to them, the more they slip up, and the more I find out.
One trick to knowing when people are lying is to pay attention to the choices they make; I don't ask people if they beat their dogs, but if they make a point of telling me they don't, I know they probably do. I let them decide what I need to know about the animals they're handing over to me, and that gives me a list of doubts to work from before I've even seen the dog's behavior - it's very helpful, even if it's not as helpful as the truth would have been.
It's also good to see the person interact with the dog; a few weeks ago a local couple brought a dog to the Sanctuary, and instead of taking him right away, I sat and talked to them for about ten minutes while the woman held the dog's leash. At one point, out of nowhere, she started screaming at the dog to sit, and jerking as hard as she could on his leash. That was all I needed to know, so I took the leash and sent the people on their way, with instructions to drop off a copy of his rabies certificate; they said they would, but I knew they were lying. Today I saw them at the grocery store and asked them again for the rabies certificate; the woman's daughter was there as well - apparently it was her dog. She didn't know who I was or that I had taken the dog, and when she found out, she said, "I want to see him before he goes to Alaska." I asked, "Who's going to Alaska?" The girl turned to her mom and yelled, "You lied to me!" What a surprise.