There are several scenarios in which someone would likely need assistance in how to find a local no kill shelter. An individual or family might be new to an area and are looking to adopt a fur-ever friend. A family cat or dog may have escaped and the search begins trying to locate it for a happy reunion—local shelters are the first place to check. And it certainly helps if the lost or missing pet is licensed with a collar tag and microchipped. Perhaps those interested in animal welfare want to make a donation or contribute food or animal supplies to their local shelter. Military families sometimes have to give up pets when deployed overseas, where many countries have quarantine laws for inbound pets as long as 6-12 months. Perhaps the loss of a job or relocation trigger the need to surrender a pet. In some cases, downsizing means moving from a traditional residential home to an apartment complex that does not permit pets. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find a friend or family member willing to take on the responsibility of pet ownership when personal circumstances change. PETCHAMP offers these tips on how to find a local No Kill Shelter near you.
Utilizing Internet Resources
If individuals searching for these local shelters have access to a computer, the Internet is often the quickest and easiest way to find what you are looking for. Start by doing a Google search for the municipality or county of your inquiry. Example: Google “Animal Services Orlando (Fl), or “No Kill shelters Orange County.” The initial search will likely take you to the official city or county link that you are searching for. Once you reach that link, look for department headings and icons such as “Animal Services, Animal Shelters, Animal Ordinances, even Public Health Department.” This should provide you with the physical location of shelters, operating hours, phone numbers, adoption and surrender policies. Many local governments have been moving to the “no kill” model in the past decade, including local governments which contract out their animal services to outside vendors. In searching for a shelter with a “No Kill” designation, it’s useful to revisit exactly what that term means because shelters are classified differently depending on their policies. A quick review of the various shelter designations is provided by PawsChicago:
- These shelters save healthy and treatable animals. They euthanize only non-rehabilitable pets who are irremediably suffering or dangerous to people or other pets.
- Never kill shelters do not euthanize. In these shelters, animals are often left in cages for months, sometimes years without proper socialization or care. It is typical for these type shelters to have large populations of dogs deemed behaviorally dangerous or non-rehabilitable.
- Traditional or “Open Door” private shelters take in all animals, regardless of the shelter’s capacity to treat. Unless designated as a “no kill” community, these shelters manage their populations by euthanizing animals that are healthy or have treatable condition
- Animal Control shelters or Animal Services shelters are government animal impoundment agencies or private shelters which contract with municipal and county governments. Their primary responsibility is animal control, public health issues related to animals and keeping the streets clear of homeless or unwanted pets. These shelters have to be “Open Door” to perform their missions.
The most defining characteristic of a “no kill” shelter is based on intake and final animal population numbers on a yearly basis. The “no kill” designation is conferred on those shelters which have saved 90 percent of all animals taken in during a yearly cycle. More and more government-run or contracted facilities have been moving in this direction for the past decade.
Links To Other Resources
There are a number of national organizations that work on behalf of promoting the no kill model and their web pages provide additional educational information, as well as easily “click to locate by state” maps to aid in your search. They include:
If you do not have access to a computer and the Internet, locating your local shelter will call for some old-fashioned shoe leather or a trip in the car. You may need to physically visit the city or municipal building or location that houses the particular department under which animal services jurisdiction falls. A face-to-face fact-finding pit stop will provide you with the information you need. It is important for all interested in pet welfare that you get a clear picture of what the local shelter policy is, in order to give your pet the best chance of being successfully re-homed if you must surrender it for any reason. And it’s a strongly suggested idea that you find out the surrender policy beforehand and not at the last minute while you are heading out of town for that new job.
Don’t Plan On A Drive By And Drop Off
As pointed out on CowCats’s web page, if you know your pet ownership circumstances are going to change, don’t wait until the last minute trying to find an appropriate shelter. Some days or weeks at no kill shelters are busier than others. And keep in mind that you are not “donating” your pet to a shelter. That shelter will expend scarce resources to feed, house, and attempt to find a new home for your surrendered pet. To improve its chances of being re-homed, make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and medical care.
A Word From The SPCA
Knowing beforehand all the implications of utilizing the services of a shelter is helpful to you, your pet, and naturally the shelter itself. A visit to the web page of the Society For the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Florida, doesn’t sugar coat the issue of surrendering an animal to a shelter. Their checklist is a good model to follow and includes specific steps under three general headings:
- What you need to know before you surrender.
- What you will need if you surrender.
- What happens when you surrender.
Chances are these shelters have similar provisions if not more. Regardless of whatever scenario might lead you to need to locate a no kill shelter, some homework and preparation ahead of time accomplishes two things: It minimizes the trauma to you as a pet owner and to the shelter taking possession of an animal; it enhances the chances your pet will be able to be re-homed with an individual or family looking to add a fur-ever friend to their family circle.