“I would never take these kittens to a shelter. They might not find a good home there.”
“Don’t call animal services about that stray cat—they’ll just euthanize it.”
During the course of our work, we sometimes find that well-intentioned animal lovers deeply mistrust local animal organizations. Those who find a stray animal or have to give up a beloved pet fear that handing it over to a municipal shelter (or even a rescue group) will result in suffering—or even a death sentence. But is it really best to keep a homeless animal out of the shelter system?
The facts might surprise you!
- We Work Together: Organizations in our region cooperate. If a shelter begins to run out of space, it puts the word out to a whole network of other organizations. Here at SAFe Rescue, for example, we take in hundreds of kitties each year from other shelters and animal welfare organizations!
- Our Region Has Made Great Progress. Thanks to spay/neuter programs, a high number of adopters, and the strong network of cooperating organizations (including ours), the “save rate” for healthy adoptable animals in the Puget Sound area is high.
(Does this mean our work is complete? Absolutely not! We can still work together to save even more lives locally—and shelters in other regions are desperate for our help, too!)
- Strays MUST go to the Municipal Shelter: In each area, there is only one shelter authorized to take in stray animals. That makes it easier for their owners to find them, since there is one central place for them to look for their lost pet. The very best thing you can do for a stray is look up where to surrender it!
- We’re Here to Help: We can offer advice and resources. And if you do surrender an animal, your local animal welfare organization will make sure that it gets spayed/neutered and vaccinated before it goes to a good home.
So it’s always best to surrender to a shelter, right?
The answer isn’t always quite that simple. If you need to re-home a cat with special medical or behavioral needs or an elderly kitty who may be especially difficult to place, you might have more success finding it a new home yourself. Some special needs animals may not thrive in a sheltering environment, or may tend to get overlooked by adopters.
But you should STILL reach out to your local animal welfare organization!
Remember that we’re here to help! Even if we’re not able to take in the kitty right away, we may be able to offer advice on behavior or re-homing, or a spot on the wait list until we are able to find kitty an adopter.
If we all work together, we can save even more lives in the years to come!