By Candice Knight
There is often misconstruing information about animal shelters and animal rescue groups. An animal shelter is an organization or establishment that supplies strays and other homeless pets with a temporary place to stay, food, and possible care. Animal shelters can also be known as high kill shelters, animal control, and no-kill shelters. Once animals are abandoned, strayed, seized, or surrendered; they end up at the animal shelter where the outcome of their life depends solely on whether they can be put up for adoption (if anyone is willing to adopt them) or if a animal rescue group is willing to save/pull some of the animals. In most counties and states, the widely judged and negatively stereotyped “bully breeds” (pit bulls, pit mixes, am staffs, bulldogs, etc) are NOT allowed to be adopted once they come into the animal shelter. They often end up being put to sleep just because of their “breed” and ONLY approved animal rescue groups are allowed to actually “pull” them from the shelter.
Animal rescue groups are NOT the animal control or animal shelter. Rescue groups that pull from certain shelters have to be licensed and approved and are non-profit, meaning they operate purely on donations, low cost vaccine clinics and other animal events to raise monies. Some animal rescue groups pull only certain breeds that do not stand a chance, like pit bull terriers, German shepherds, or other wrongfully accused breeds; senior animals; special needs/cases; or they pull any animal that stands a good chance in becoming adopted. If a person is interested in adopting a pit bull type dog from an animal shelter, they must contact a local or approved animal rescue group in order to pull the dog. But in most cases, the potential adopter must fill out proper paperwork, application, and home check before the animal is pulled or even put on hold. Animal rescue groups are started and ran by people that actually want to give the death row animals a second chance with hopes of placing them into a forever, loving home.
Rescue groups follow proper protocol, care for the animals out of pocket, train, temperament test, observe, expose, and only accepts “forever” homes where the animal will have a loving and wonderful experience. Most rescue groups actually have the animal altered (neutered and spayed), heartworm tested and treated, medicated, and fully vaccinated before adopted, which is a big part of the reason for their adoption fees. Animal shelters typically just provide shelter, feed, and minimum care depending on facility, location, workers/volunteers and funds. Shelters generally do not temperament test or even expose to other dogs, kids, or cats, nor provide vet care. Basically, what you see is what you get. You do not know if they are heartworm negative, if they have ever been around cats, children, or other pets, if they have certain aggressions, or if they are house trained. Usually for a small surrendering fee, people can just go dump their ‘once called family member’ at the animal shelter with just a few questions asked. You CANNOT dump your animal with the animal rescue groups and they will inform you on how you originally committed to providing a forever home for this animal.
Rescue groups focus on the severe and death row animals and are not funded nor equipped to take in all of the animals that people decide one day is an inconvenience or nuisance because they failed to do their research. Rescue groups and rescuers are driven by care, love, and the passion to help save these forgotten, abused, neglected, and unloved animals. They are not paid, compensated, and sometimes not even noticed for their hard work in saving animals. They go around to businesses asking for donations, old towels for beds, donated feeds, and supplies. They organize events and chip-ins to raise money for the homeless animals and their constant care. Some animals come with severe problems such as: heartworms, skin infections, injured, pregnant, blind, deaf or worse. Sometimes the rescue groups are aware of the health issue and other times they do not know about the underlying problem until after vet examination… yet they still have to gather donations to treat and medicate the animal.
Sadly, there are people that are quick to spend their extra money on gossip magazines, shopping, or movie rentals instead of donating just $1 or $5 to a local rescue group that could definitely benefit from any contribution. You do not have to donate $50; any contribution is greatly needed and appreciated. Cannot donate money? Then ask the group if they need any used towels or blankets for beds, unused leashes, or volunteer to help walk dogs and clean kennels. People do not realize the lack of funds and help at rescue centers. They only have people willing to volunteer to help with events, animals, and cleaning and do not have paid staff like people often think. They do not have free vet care nor receive all free food and supplies. If they do not receive donated supplies, money, adoption fees are not being met, and discounted vet care; then they either have to pay out of their pocket or the animal just has to wait on their medical treatment until all of the funds are raised.
On another note, popular discussions among people are that of the adoption fees from rescue groups. Some people actually complain on the so called “high” adoption prices and claim that is why they buy from cheap or free ‘backyard breeders’. If you have properly researched those adoption fees, they typically include, but are not subject to: an altered pet (spayed or neutered), vaccinations, heartworm tested if not also treated, given heart worm and/or flea prevention, dewormed, socialized, cared for daily, AND the funds go to help another homeless animal. Yet ask the backyard breeder what comes with their buying or “free” price and you often get a wormy puppy, heartworm positive, malnourished, flea ridden, never vaccinated, inbred, UNALTERED, and often never received socialization resulting in an aggressive animal and fueling stereotypes and media coverage. If you are lucky enough, you may even receive an animal that is already pregnant by the neighborhood dog or even by its own father. A lot of times people also end up with high vet bills for “parvo” or their new pet ends up dying from lack of proper care from the breeders. So, I ask and beg of you, the next time you have a spare ten dollar bill, donate it to a local rescue group or simply ask how you could help.
AND REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T BUY! Support the animal shelters and rescue groups, NOT the back yard breeders or puppy mills! Every animal deserves a warm bed and a loving home, do your research, and SPAY or NEUTER your pets!
#ADOPT #donate #VOLUNTEER #SPAY #neuter