Animal Rescue Shelters
Some animal rescues that the animal may be transported to, can be called shelters, refuges, rescue & re-homing centres, sanctuaries, or a combination of those names.
Just to confuse things, local authority run pounds, which usually put animals to sleep after a set number of days, can often be called shelters too.
Animal Sanctuaries are usually where animals live out their lives, although they can also rescue and re-home animals.
Similarly, although they are not called a sanctuary, animal rescues can have permanent residents living out their lives there, when they cannot be re-homed.
The reasons they may not be able to be re-homed could be due to them being permanently affected by abuse or neglect that they have previously suffered, or because they have such complex medical needs.
Image: It can be somewhat confusing that there are many different names for animal rescues, that sometimes mean different things.
Some rescues in the UK bring over and re-home dogs and cats from other countries, where the public are not such animal lovers, and often attack and torture stray animals. This is where animal flight volunteers are needed. This is also true of USA animal rescues.
Some animal rescues take in specific animals, such as cats or dogs, whereas others will take in a number of different animal species. The most common rescues are for dogs and cats, but there are rescues for other kinds of pets.
There are also rescue and rehabilitation centres for wildlife, like Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue.
In addition to this, there are specialist rescues that only rescue specific breeds of dog. These cover most breeds in existence.
Some rescues have their own premises, but others depend entirely on animal fosterers, who are people who provide a rescue space by taking the animal into their own home. With fosterers, it is the rescue they are fostering for who pays all necessary costs.
Most animal rescues always need more fosterers, whether they have their own premises or not.
When a pound puller is urgently appealing for a rescue space for a pound dog or cat on social networking websites, a rescue space can include foster homes, as long as they have rescue back up. This can often be referred to as RBU for short, and means that the foster home has to have the backing of an animal rescue to pay any veterinary expenses, and in case anything goes wrong with the foster placement.
Volunteers are essential for the running of animal rescues. There are many different roles involved in volunteering for a local animal rescue, as well as like-minded friends to be made among the other volunteers. Without enough volunteers, rescues could not run at all.
Rescues are nearly always operating at a loss, so also essential to their survival are legacies kind supporters leave in their wills. Fundraisers are also essential.
Many people think animal rescues always have a “no kill” policy, where they will not destroy an animal unless it has a terminal untreatable physical or mental condition meaning it will suffer and have no quality of life. This is not true. Whether it is called an animal rescue, shelter, refuge or sanctuary, each has its own policy regarding destruction of animals in its care. Even the “no kill” policy or the “we never put a healthy dog down” policy is open to interpretation. For instance, how healthy does a dog have to be to be safe? If the animal has a condition that is treatable, is that animal still put down, because it is, at that moment, not considered healthy?
Some rescues may consider destroying what they see as “kennel blockers” which are animals that get constantly overlooked by adopters, and are taking up a rescue space with little hope of getting a home.
This may be because the pets are less desirable breeds that rescues are inundated by, or because they are old, have behavioural problems, or need medication or special care.
For instance, in this country, pounds and rescues are inundated with Staffordshire Bull Terrier types of dog.
These gentle and loving dogs have become the type of dog most frequently put to death.
It is estimated that about one of these dogs every hour is destroyed in the UK.
The pounds and rescues are so full of these dogs because so many irresponsible people are breeding them, thinking it’s an easy way to make money. Unfortunately a lot of irresponsible people also tend to buy this breed of puppy, and come to decide they are too much work for them.
The breed are also hard to re-home, because a minority of irresponsible owners have caused the breed to gain an undeserved bad reputation by of training them to be weapons. These cases get exposure in the media, and sadly the entire breed gets tarred with the same brush.
In truth, Staffordshire Bull Terrier type of dogs are some of the most gentle, loving, and tolerant dogs, who the Kennel Club say are one of the best breeds with children.
Rescue spaces at animal rescue centres that become available due to someone adopting or fostering a pet, get filled again more or less immediately.
Although there are always pound dogs or cats desperately needing these spaces, members of the public who no longer want their dog or cat are constantly taking up the spaces by taking them to rescues.
People are usually under the illusion that by taking their pet to a “no kill” rescue, they are doing no harm. They seldom realise they are taking away a life-saving place from a pound animal, which is destroyed as a result. This is why foster homes, providing more life saving spaces, are so essential to rescues.
Image: Distressed and traumatised dog in a rescue shelter. Giving a dog up can traumatise them, as they just want to be back with their owner.
Having said that, taking your pet to a responsible animal rescue is much better than trying to re-home it yourself, by advertising it Free to a Good Home, or for a low price. This can have horrifying consequences for the animals, much more often than people realise.
Pets re-homed this way can often end up falling into the wrong hands, and can be tortured when used as bait dogs for dogs that have been trained to fight to the death to practice on. In other cases they can be sold and then passed on, ending up in abusive homes. They can be used solely as a breeding machine in terrible conditions to make money, or be subject to other terrible fates.
Instead, taking your pet to a responsible animal rescue to be re-homed means that this can be avoided, as proper checks are done on the adopters and they sign a legal agreement not to pass the pet on and to only ever return it to the rescue.
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