I had to clean up at least 3 Saint Bernard-sized messes from the floor every
day.  I know how to housebreak a dog, but after 3 weeks of mess, the Saint
had to go back too.
>  This stuff goes on my permanent record, so I'll never be allowed to adopt
a dog in this county.

   Utterly ridiculous!  OTOH look at it as a way to sift out the shelters.
That's one you'll never have to do business with again because you already
know what they're like.  It's just a hassle to go further away to adopt some
doggie who could sure use a good home, and find someone who'll actually let
you give it one.