Helping animals in your community – keep them out of your shelter

A shelter or rescue’s primary role is to provide care and find suitable homes for animals with nowhere to go. While this effort often takes all hands on deck, dedicating resources to preventing animals from entering your care could save more lives in the end. Let’s go over some places to start.

1. The top reason people surrender their animals is financial hardship

Most of these hardships are temporary – losing a job unexpectedly, medical bills, etc. Shelters and rescues can keep these animals in their homes is by providing a way to help families weather the storm.

  • Create a community food pantry with food for animals
  • Build a sponsorship program for an anonymous family. This is especially effective around the holidays when a generous family can offer to “sponsor” an animal to keep them in their home
  • Create a partnership with a vet that provides low cost senior care to elderly animals
2. The next most common reason is due to house restrictions

36% of the United States rents their home*. This means they are subject to changing restrictions or sometimes need to move with little notice. In addition, as we all know, there is extreme breed discrimination in the United States which means most people cannot rent and own a Pit mix, GSD, etc. Here are a few options on how to help with housing restrictions:

  • Create a list of animal-friendly rental properties in your general area. Display this list publicly on a website or provide it to the owner during a surrender inquiry. Take it a step further and partner with landlords so you can recommend their properties and they advertise or donate for your rescue / shelter
  • Leverage your following to petition local, state, and federal Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) to allow “banned breeds” in more rental properties. This can be as simple as providing a template email for people to send to representatives. This is a site that helps you quickly find your representatives –
3. Finally, spaying and neutering

Of course, one of the largest reasons rescues and shelters are always bursting at the seams is because of un spayed and neutered animals.

  • Partner with a vet to create a low-cost spay/neuter program
  • Contact a local “Spay / Neuter Waggin” or mobile program to come to your community
  • Work with local businesses and vets to provide incentives to spayed and neutered animals. For example, spayed/neutered animals get a discount at your local animal store. To get started, check out our email templates.
List of 3 reasons why animals end up in shelters with a picture of a cartoon dog head and cat head

It doesn’t matter how small you start, any act to reduce the animals your shelter or rescue needs to intake makes a huge difference for the lives of all animals and people involved.

Happy rescuing!

* Pew Research

Is this article missing something? Have questions? Want help applying what you learned to your organization? Send us a message!

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