Best Practices: Comparison of Rescues and Shelters

Read these notes with the understanding that I’ve never worked in a shelter and my experience with them is limited. I hope those of you who have worked in shelters can ring in on my assumptions about shelters. This is simply based on what I have heard from other rescuers and what I’ve gather from the stories about adopted dogs I’ve edited.

I also don’t know much about how rescues work with animal control, so please set me straight on that point, too. I look forward to your input.

Comparison of Rescues and Shelters

Both rescues and shelters have an interest in animal welfare, however they generally operate very differently.

Here are some generalizations about shelters:

  • City-run or city-sponsored
  • Take in any dog or cat breed, bunnies, rodents, reptiles, birds, etc. (Some shelters limit the types of animals they take in)
  • Segregated into “high-kill” and “no-kill” or “open admission” and “limited admission” (will add these definitions in the introduction)
  • Staffed by a combination of paid employees and volunteers

o   Core employees are generally paid but rely on a network of volunteers for dog walking, care of special-needs dogs in foster homes, some fundraising functions, some special events staffing

  • House animals in a centralized location, with minimal use of foster homes only for desperate cases
  • On-site veterinary care

o   All animals are spayed/neutered and brought up to date on shots

o   Dogs with major medical concerns are often turned away or euthanized

  • Expedited adoption process: Potential adopters meet dogs, fill out an application, and go home with dog on the same day
  • Limited support for adopters: Some shelters offer discount obedience classes but usually don’t follow up after animals are adopted

Here are some generalizations about rescues:

  • Founded by an individual and run by that individual or a small board or directors
    • Often breed-specific or at least oriented  toward a specific type of animal
    • Known to take in animals conforming to their specified “type” in any condition and to only euthanize in extreme cases of incurable behavior issues or illness
    • Usually staffed only by volunteers
    • Both centralized and decentralized models exist, but rescues most commonly lack a centralized facility and instead rely on foster homes to care for adoptable dogs
    • Depend on discount relationships with local vets for veterinary care

o   All animals are spayed/neutered and brought up to date on shots

o   Major medical issues are taken care of

  • Comprehensive adoption process requiring an application, home visit, interview, and various other checks

o   On-the-spot adoptions are rarely or never allowed

  • Comprehensive support for adopters: foster parents or specialized volunteers follow up with adopters for “tech support”

Relationship between Shelters and Rescues

Shelters and rescues often work together to save animals. Shelters have relationships with local rescue organizations, which they call upon when they get a dog in the fits a specific rescue’s “type.” This helps them thin out their “inventory” and ensure more personalized care for dogs who are scared, ill, old, or “less adoptable” for behavioral reasons.

Many rescues call on volunteers to regularly walk shelters and “pull” (take) dogs who fit the rescue’s mission. To pull a dog, most shelters require rescues to be 501(c)3 non-profit entities, though some non-501(c)3 rescuers partner with registered rescues to get dogs. However, many feel uncomfortable pulling dogs for others because of liability reasons.

The degree that shelters and rescues work together is highly variable. Some shelters regularly utilize and clearly appreciate their rescue partners, whereas others almost seem to step in the way of rescues that want to help their dogs.

The Relationship between Rescues and Local Law Enforcement

Rescues do not normally interact with animal control officers, as the officers usually work directly with shelters. However, by ensuring your local shelters have your rescues name and number on file, you can indirectly work with animal control officers by taking in dogs from abuse cases via the shelter.

Practical Advice: Working With Shelters

If you are interested in working with your local shelter, the first thing to do is to contact their program director and provide your proof of 501(c)3 status. The next step is to politely discuss their process and ensure that they have your name and phone number on file when they get your specific type of dog in.

Post to Twitter

This entry was posted in rescue best practices manual and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Best Practices: Comparison of Rescues and Shelters

  1. I would not make the blanked statement that animals are always spayed or neutered before being adopted out from shelters as I know of at least one in Minnesota that doesn’t operate that way. Maybe re-wording it to “generally” instead of “always”. Also, sadly, many rescues do not address major medical concerns and expect adopters to handle that. Even things like dentals and pulling rotten teeth are routinely left to adopters (at least in Minnesota). Small Dog Rescue makes sure that dogs have been fully vetted before being adopted out, which means dentals if needed, biopsies of suspicious masses, luxating patella surgery if needed, etc. Our adoption fees are higher than many other rescues in our area because of this, and we still spend more money on vetting most of the dogs that we re-coup from the adoption fees and have to rely heavily on fundraising to make up the difference.

    I believe rescues ought to address major health issues, but many rescues feel that doing so would be prohibitively costly, so they either turn away dogs who suffer from illness or ailments that would mean high vet bills for the rescue and longer time spent in valuable foster homes. SDR gets a lot of criticism for taking these dogs in, even from our own volunteers at times. It’s a tough call, we know. But I would say that many, if not most, rescues do not address major health concerns – or their way of addressing them is to deny that dog admission into their program.

    Otherwise, I think this is a lovely post.

  2. I agree that assuming all shelters spay/neuter is not an accurate statement. I’d guess the majority of shelters we work with do NOT have a regular vet on staff. Many of the shelter employees are trained to administer vaccines (not Rabies as that has to be administered by a vet in Texas) and low level medications like antibiotics or pain meds, but having an actual vet on staff is not the norm. Most, if not all, of our shelters do adoptions with a spay/neuter requirement, but it is the adopters responsibility to make, and keep, the appts. Often discounted costs for altering are associated with adoption at the various animal clinics in the Metroplex. Follow up on spay/neuter contracts to adopters are rare, so who knows how many are actually being done? The larger shelters in our area do have vets on staff, and most pets are altered before being allowed to go home from the shelter with their new families, but the number of those shelters is comparatively small. For instance, we work with approximately 91 shelters in N. Texas, but only 10-20 of those would fall into the categary of having a full time vet on staff.

    Legacy Boxer Rescue (LBR) pulls all boxers in need if we have a foster home regardless of age, health issues, etc. If they need us, and we have a place for them, we pull them. LBR does the following for all animals. Initial vaccines, spay/neuter, HW tests, Fecals/Worming. Further, we treat any known ailment(s) prior to adoption, including, but not limited to, heartworm treatment, dentals, broken bones, cruciate ligament repairs (TPLO) and lumpectomies. To expand on the lumpectomies, we remove all lumps and bumps, since cancer is so prevelant in the breed, we could not do otherwise. We perform diagnostic testing as needed for our boxers. Basically, our boxers are 100% vetted and healthy prior to adoption, to the best of our (and our vets) abilities.

    Our average veterinary cost, per boxer in 2009, was $406.00. 75-80% of our boxers are treated for heartworms.

  3. This is great feedback. Do you have any suggestions on a better working definition of shelters and rescues? Karen from NBCR also suggested including a definition of brokers, but my understanding of brokers is that they sell puppy mill dogs to pet shops. She suggested the following: “A broker is a “rescue” that finds a dog for someone and usually has it placed into it’s new home within 48 hours. A shelter would be a facility where the dogs are housed in kennels until adopted and a rescue would be an organization that utilized foster homes and the dogs live in the foster homes until adopted.”

    Any input on this?

  4. I wouldn’t use the term “broker” for the exact reason you stated – however, the role Karen describes is an important one. I call those people “independent rescuers”. Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota works with a few of these women. Generally they live in poor rural areas with high kill shelters. They will pull dogs from the pound or shelter and hold them until a spot in a proper rescue is secured, then help arrange transport for the dogs to said rescue. We have two in Missouri we work with regularly and if it were not for them, dozens of dogs would otherwise die every year. These people are not usually a non-profit or incorporated, or even have a name for their operation – they just do it as an individual and generally pay for food out of their pocket. Some of them have relationships with vets who will give discounted vetting, and most of the time the receiving rescue will pay for that vetting, either directly or through reimbursement upon receipt of the bill/invoice.

    Note that all dogs traveling across state lines need to have a health certificate and rabies shots, so the payment arrangements for those things are worked out between the independent rescuer and the rescue.

  5. I volunteered in a no-kill shelter for a number of years. They have as many good points as they have bad and will elaborate more on that subject if you would like. After many disasterous adoptions, however, they finally looked at all the paid and unpaid workers who were doing adoptions and selected only the very best screeners to approve adoptions. It worked very well.

    Regarding Texas spay/neuter laws, I’ve had alot of experience with that requirement lately. The law is not well written at all and it is very easy for organizations to get around it. One thing I heard alot is that there is no penalty in the law for not following it. There is no entity that has jusidiction over enforcement. You have to rely on the establishment that has possession of the animal to make sure it gets spayed or neutered or it generally does not happen. One local shelter puts it’s animals in permanent foster homes without being altered. As long as the pet is not officially adopted, they can skirt the law. But they do not tell the person who is taking the animal they are their permanent foster home; the people think they are adopting it. The bill needs so much work and those in Austin feel they have better things to work on than than.

    We recently took in an 8 month old puppy that was adopted as a baby and then turned in to the SPCA, adopted out, then given away, turned into CAP, adopted out, then given away and thankfully turned over to us. Shelters do not screen adopters – any good rescue screens carefully.

  6. More thoughts – our adoption fee is $200. Our average cost per dog is $300-$400. The vast majority of our dogs are HW+ which we treat them for. I do know of many rescue groups that prescribe Heartgard only no matter how severe the HW is.

  7. Heidi Eckers says:

    I think there are a lot of truths here and I like the wording. I think something should be said about the continued need for shelters and rescues to try and work together. In MN it seems to be a struggle and I have heard of countless “behavioral” and “dogs with health issues” being euthanized in shelters that our group would have been happy to help with. Even when contacted to help with specific dogs, some shelters won’t release to rescue groups, with our without a 501c3 status.

    The wording reguarding rescues and on the spot adoptions is far from the truth. I’m appalled at how many foster based rescue group do same day adoptions, or find ways around home visits, reference checks, etc… even if it’s in the by-laws for that group.

  8. Legacy Boxer Rescue (LBR) works very hard to maintain wonderful working relationships with the 90+ shelters we work with. Rescues need to remember that in no way are shelters obligated to work with any rescues. They do so, because like the rescuers, they want to see the animals leave through the front door. More and more I see rescue groups attacking shelters for some perceived oversight, usually the incident involves an animal being euthanized that may have been tagged for rescue prior to euthanasia. I see a TON of this in North Texas. My guess is the fault in these instances can be directly related to a breakdown in commincation, though I have no idea where that breakdown occurs. It has never happened to LBR though we have come close to it with one dog tagged for rescue.

    No, shelters are not perfectly run, in most cases, but rescues need to understand that that is usually not the fault of any one person, and if it is, it isn’t usually going to end up being with a person that is involved with the rescue process. It’s usually much further up the food chain and almost always an administrator type person that truly hasn’t a clue what’s going on inside the actual shelter itself. Shelter workers are overworked and underpaid, and in most cases, they do the best they can.

    Shelters provide entire communities with services related to animal welfare, this is no small task and their efforts, in most cases are to be commended. Imagine if your rescue was tasked with taking in ALL animals in need for your community, you had to take them, no matter what, like city shelters have to do. Could you do it without mistakes? Could you do it without euthanizing animals? I know my answer to both those questions is no, I could not.

    When LBR is made aware of a boxer in a shelter, we immediately make contact with the shelter. We then send a volunteer in the area to properly evaluate the animal for potential rescue. After the evaluation is complete, and we deem the boxer a candidate for rescue, that boxer is assigned a BIN #. BIN stands for Boxer In Need. We track ALL BIN’s we’re made aware of, from start to outcome.

    Until the animals is rescued, we maintain constant contact with the shelter so that they’re aware of our interest in the animal. STRONG and constant communication is KEY to successful shelter relationships. I have seen our communications skills with the shelters grow with the years, and I know the shelters we work with appreciate our intake committee’s dedication and professionalism when working with them.

    LBR also printed magnets for our shelters. Each magnet has pictures to represent the boxer breed, featuring a fawn, brindle and white version of the breed. It states “Got BOXERS?” and lists our contact information including our toll free number and intake email addy. Just another way to help make sure that BIN’s don’t fall through cracks in a system full of nooks, cracks and crannies.

    I have never heard the term “broker” used for an independent rescuer and it certainly isn’t the word I would use. When I think of broker, I think of puppy mill sales guy. We work with some independent rescuers in rural areas, but in most cases we prefer to work directly with the shelter that serves the community if one exists.

  9. This is a great post that outlines basic similarities & differences between rescues and shelters and I especially like that it has opened up communication, questions & situations to think about too. I’ve worked with several rescues over the years & there are differences between rescues too, just like between shelters and rescues. I’ve found that the vetting, spay/neuter, etc varies by state, sometimes even by county. In CO, reputable rescues abide by the law that requires shelters & rescues to spay/neuter ALL dogs unless there is a health reason that would make it more dangerous to sedate the dog, or collect a deposit if a dog is not spayed/neutered prior to adoption(as with a puppy or hw+ dog). If the dog is s/n within the set timeframe, the deposit is returned to the adopter. If the s/n is not done the deposit goes to the State Rescue Fund. I guess that kind of gets into the s/n subject more but just one example of how things vary between states & rescues. Since I don’t know that much about shelters, does anyone know what determines the shelter to be a “no kill” vs “high kill”. Is it determined by who runs it?

  10. I agree, the term “broker” to me refers to a back yard breeder. I know a few people in outlying areas of CO that privately rescue dogs & work with rescue groups to rehome them. As far as I know, they pay for food, vetting, etc out of their own pockets. They’ve learned which rescues will work with them, after all, it’s for the DOGS!

  11. Vicky Mazyn says:

    First there are several rescues, like ours, that are all breed. We have even taken in cats in need even though we are a dog rescue. It doesn’t matter to us if they are a Chihuahua or Mastiff (we currently have both up for adoption), even all bully breeds are accepted in to our program. The only time we turn down a rescue is when we simply are overfull and have no more space at any of our foster homes. But even then, we give the person with the dog, the option to release the dog to us and foster for us until we can make room.

    We do work with Animal Control Officers. When a dog is picked up that is a special case, usually broken leg or sick, the officer will call us to notify us that they are bringing them in so we have a chance to pull them quickly to get them needed vet care. We even receive calls from county deputies and sheriffs stating they had found an injured dog or puppy and could we meet them and take them in to our program.

    We have also found that shelters who are willing to save the animals will either have an employee or volunteer to help coordinate with rescues.

    Another difference in shelters and rescues is that the rescues I know all take their adopted dogs back if anything should ever happen that the family can no longer take care of them.

    The law in Texas is actually very clear on spay/neuter requirements. Granted as far as I know there is no one to make sure it is followed. It is a Class C Misdemeanor for any rescue animal to not be fixed. It is our policy that any dog over 14 weeks be spayed/neutered prior to adoption. This is the age our vet has stated is safe for surgery due to lung development and the acceptable age for Rabies vaccine (required to be given by a vet in Texas) so they are completed at the same time. The only exception is if the dog is too sick to handle surgery. In this case, the dog is not available for adoption until it is complete. We will accept applications for pre-approval though. With puppies under 14 weeks, we collect a refundable deposit and have the adopting family sign a separate Sterilization Contract that states if they do not have the dog fixed by the specified date, we will confiscate the dog. Although in Texas this is extremely difficult to confiscate an animal, we do have a couple of officers who are willing to go with us to make sure nothing goes bad. They can not force the person to give us the dog but just them being there usually does the trick because they have already been informed that it is a Class C Misdemeanor.

  12. Helen LaBuda says:

    Our rescue covers all health problems including back surgery, we just did surgery on a dog whose kneecaps were on the side and she could not walk. The average back surgery for Dachshunds is about $4000.00 We just adopted a dog who had back surgery, his adoption fee was $250.00. We use specialty vets all the time, fistulas, cancer, enucleations and heartworm treatment. We are a very small rescue and depend on fundraisers aand doantions. All of the dogs coming in get dentals, spay or neuter, all vaccines, full bloodwork if they need it and treatment for any disease. Cushing, diabetis, vasculitis, you name it, broken bones, amputations, those are just the more common. So making a statement that rescues don’t address major health problems is not correct. We are the ones the shelter call all the time, if a dog needs a dental they consider him unadoptable and will euthanize him, if we don’t take him.

  13. Unfortunately I know a rescue that is 501c3 and licensed. They push dogs through rather rapidly, within 48 hours in most cases. They will do medical on extreme cases but mostly they appear to be interested in numbers
    When I asked them about rehabilitating their dogs, I was told their dogs don’t have problems.
    Our rescue has a policy of holding dogs for at least 2 weeks before they can be adopted. We like to temp test and evaluate for personality and energy level before adoption, as well as taking care of all vetting.
    The shelter we work with does have a vet clinic and all animals are s/n before going to rescue or being adopted. They also do some major medical there. They are starting a low cost s/n clinic for the public with even lower costs for rescue. Can’t wait for that to get up and running

  14. Stephanie Rice says:

    It’s The Pits, a pit bull rescue, has a very good working relationship with most San Diego shelters, whether public or private, where a very high percentage of dogs are bully breeds. San Diego shelters to my knowledge always spay/neuter a dog before it is adopted and have performed other major surgeries as well including, dental with teeth pulling, crutiate tears and other procedures. In fact we took a dog who was shot in the face by SDPD because she was apparently a threat and the county shelter performed and paid for all of the medical for that dog who is now loving her new home. Some San Diego shelters call landlords to ensure that dogs are allowed and there are no breed restrictions. I think the most concerning part of San Diego shelters is space. There is just never enough room. Which is when they call on rescues to take dogs who need to get out for a variety of issues, medical, behavioral or they have just been there too long. San Diego shelters will regularly put out a plea to rescues to come evaluate dogs to see if they meet their criteria to pull. Every rescue has different criteria or temperament testing that they are looking for dogs to pass in order to pull. It’s The Pits has found that we now need to be more careful in our dog selection. We simply cannot take every pit bull from San Diego shelters who is in need of being saved because of space, fosters are limited but also because of behavioral issues. When we first started we took just about any dog who needed to get out of the shelter. Today that has changed, we do not pull dogs who have severe dog aggression or human aggression. On any given day pit bulls at San Diego shelters are slated for euthanasia. We want to be sure we are saving dogs who are highly adoptable and have the best chances of finding a home. We have dogs in the rescue who have lived their entire life in the rescue which is so sad that they have not found a forever home yet and most of these dogs have some sort of behavioral issue. We’ve come to the point today where we know we are dealing with a breed who is hard place for a variety of reasons and a pit bull who has a behavioral issue is 10x more difficult to place even with the training and support we will help provide. A pit bull is not right for every person/family and most landlords or rental communities have banned the breed. We are expectationaly careful on who we adopt out to and we pride ourselves on making sure we find the right dog for the right family. We never will adopt out a dog if we don’t think it is a good match. While we may now be “picky” as to which dogs we take into the rescue we still have 70+ dogs in the rescue at any given time, which is a lot for us, and a long waiting list to get in. We fully vet our dogs, spay/neuter, microchip, shots, anything we need to do will be done to ensure the dog is healthy to the best of our and our vets knowledge before they are adopted out.

  15. Kari says:

    I feel like this should go into depth about what a no-kill vs high-kill shelter is. I have heard that no-kill shelters are picky about who they take in, staying away from animals above a certain age or with known health problems. Kill shelters take in any animal. Some euthanize them depending on how long they’ve been there without regards to their personality and others put to sleep the ones who are “less desirable” (health issues, behaviors, black dog syndrome) first to make room for the ones who are more likely to be adopted.

    I agree about the term “broker” meaning the person who buys the dogs from the puppy mills and sells them to pet stores. “Independent rescues” or “independent rescuers” would be a better way to word that.

  16. I guess our local shelters must be really good, as I was under the impression that most shelters had veterinary staff on-site. Thanks for clarifying.

    I can’t believe how many heartworm positive dogs you get in. Your poor fosters! It must be pretty difficult to keep a boxer quiet for a month!

  17. Great feedback, Dallas. I have worked with some independent rescuers and agree that would be a good topic to include. Not everyone wants to run a rescue – some people just want to help dogs here and there. How do the independent rescuers pull animals? Don’t they need to be a 501c3?

  18. I think the difficulty with this post is writing what shelters and rescue are vs. what shelters and rescues “should be.” Know what I mean? Does anyone have suggestions on this? My thought is to gather the data on what they are – like what they look like, essentially, but in this section to try to leave out judgments about what they should be, as it seems that information should come through in the later sections of this manual. Should this be more of a definitions section? It seems that saying what shelters and rescues should and shouldn’t do in this section would take up a whole new manual. Thoughts?

  19. AMEN! It really bothers me when people speak badly about shelter employees, like saying they “prefer” to kill dogs. If anyone at a shelter prefers to kill dogs instead of adopt them out, I would think that is definitely the exception rather than the norm. People definitely don’t get into animal welfare for the money, right? 🙂

  20. Oh, Shereen, you just opened a can or worms (tasty ones)! Do you have any advice on where rescues should turn to find out laws in their state about spay/neuter, etc? That would be super helpful.

  21. Vicky, Great points! Do you have any info on where rescues should look to find out the spay/neuter laws in their states?

  22. I know the amount of time rescues hold dogs is different for each rescue. It seems there is a fine line between rehoming as many dogs as possible and working to rehabilitate them. My personal philosophy is that a dog is best rehabilitated in his or her forever home, but it’s important to spend enough time with a dog to understand what that forever home should look like. In my opinion, that amount of time really varies between dogs depending on their background and general demeanor. Thoughts?

  23. Hi Stephanie,
    I think you make some good points. There is a vet in Denver who often speaks to this point, stating that if we would be better off spending resources on the dogs that are easily re-homable than those who will take a lot of work. Personally, I’m torn. I see his point of view – I mean, if there is 100 dogs, and no space anywhere for 20 of them, which dogs should go to new homes and which should be euthanized (I’m not saying I believe any should be euthanized, I’m just making an example here because the reality is that right now there isn’t room and money to save for everyone, it seems). The logical answer would be the easiest dogs should go to new homes. However, I had one foster dog who cost our rescue $3,500 because of all his issues. He will never walk right, as he’s got severe neurologic disease. However, he has brought SO MUCH JOY to our lives and to the lives of the family who adopted him. In my opinion, every penny to save him was worth it. So how do we make these difficult decisions?

  24. Hi Kari, Absolutely agreed. I’m just not sure if we put that in an introductory definition section or here. Any thoughts?

  25. Vicky Mazyn says:

    I believe the majority of states have websites. In Texas, we have Texas Online. The laws and statutes are posted and can be easily searched. The problem is understanding them once you find them and taking the time to read all of them because some have been changed or repealed. Any of the newer laws are in Legalease and understable but the older ones can be confusing.

  26. Vicky Mazyn says:

    Our vet recommends isolating any new intake for a minimum of 7 days to allow for the majority of incubation periods for various deseases, like Parvo, Coccidia and Giardia.

  27. Vicky Mazyn says:

    We are a no kill rescue and we take them in regardless. We took the time to locate a trainer and sanctuary to work with us. It took a lot of work and effort to find a trainer that had the same work ethic and beliefs that we did. She is exceptional and has even been able to rehabilitate a pit bull that was used as a bait dog as well as several who all had behavior issues like food aggreesion and dog aggression. We have only had one intake that was truly human aggressive, and not just fear aggressive. She is currently being rehabilitated and has no problems at all with the trainer or her assitants. She has only been with them for 2 months and is making a remarkable recovery. Although it will take us a while to locate a good match for her, we feel it is not her fault that she has been abused and neglected. She deserves a second chance too.

  28. A question
    If you are no kill and take in dogs regardless of their issues, what do you do when you are full?

  29. Stephanie says:

    Medical for us is a totally different issue. If we have room we will take in dogs that have severe medical issues knowing they will most likely get euthanized at a shelter. We’ve taken in dogs mauled by other dogs, hit by cars, parvo, blown knees, etc. We spend well over $200,000 a year on medical which I feel is alot for a small to mid sized rescue. As a pit bull rescue we are dealing with a breed that has a bad rap with some people (I hate admitting that but it’s the truth, there is a blog out there dedicated to hating the pit bull breed). While we love the breed and have a great following, adoptions and lots of support we are 100% responsible for dogs until they find forever homes. We need to be smart about the dogs we take in. Let’s say we have a volunteer or foster walking a dog who is human or dog aggressive and that dog gets lose and kills another dog or attacks some people. The rescue would certainly get sued, yes we have insurance, but once it’s said and done the rescue would probably fold due to bad press, no money and loss of support. My point is we are dog rescue, but we specialize in pit bulls which adds even more pressure for us to be responsible with our dogs and to make sure our dogs are balanced and will do well in society. I can totally appreciate that some rescues can take in dogs with behavorial issues and can rehabilitate them but we are in Southern California, San Diego specifically. San Diego county alone has 8 shelters where I would estimate well over half the dogs in the shelters are pit bulls or mixes. That doesn’t even take into consideration LA or Riverside county shelters where the problem is far worse, some shelters up there won’t event adopt out a pit or make it very difficult. If as a rescue I have space for 20 dogs and can pick from 500 dogs at the shelters logically I would take in dogs who are well balanced and socialized and not a dog who is aggressive. Because once 1 of my well balanced dogs gets adopted I can go back and pull another dog. This way we are saving as many lives as we can.

  30. Shereen says:

    Kyla, you know me….I will always open that can of worms! I became most aware of the spay/neuter laws in CO by being on the board with a local rescue group. But I’ve also been able to find info on the local Humane Society pages & by contacting local Animal Control. They’re more than happy to share that info since they know as well as any of us in private rescue how important spay/neuter is. If I don’t know an answer to something I keep digging until I find it!!

  31. Shereen says:

    How long should a dog be in foster before rehoming? I don’t think there’s one right answer….but having fostered over 100 dogs now, I have found that by fostering at least 2 weeks is best for me. The first few days a dog might be nervous & unsure what’s going on, the next few days they start to show their true personality but I’ve found thru experience it takes at least 2 weeks to truly know. For example, I have a 5 yr old Weim foster right now. Inga was found as a stray & although chipped, the shelter couldnt reach her owners. She came to me happy & pretty easy-going, but unsure of the other 5 dogs at the house, a little grumbly at times, ignored the cats but absolutely sweet as could be with people. After giving her time to adjust and learn the rules of the roost, she soon started to play & cuddle with the other dogs, is still good with the cats but will chase them and is good with adults but a bit timid to be with young kids. I had an opportunity to get her adopted 5 days after her arrival, I’m glad I waited. But I think it depends on the dog, their history(which most times we don’t know), the tendencies of the breed, the knowledge and experience of the potential adopter. With that said, I have worked with a group in the past that prides themselves on quick adoptions and quantity each year. While we all want to save as many as possible, I think stepping back, slowing down, and being thorough is key to successful adoptions.

Comments are closed.