Animal shelters house approximately over 7 million stray and abused animals every year, and very few of them find permanent and loving homes. Adopting an animal who needs a home is a life-changing experience. But before you adopt a dog or cat, you should pay attention to which type of shelter you got them from. Understanding your options will help make bringing your fluffy friend home much easier.
We often associate the word “pound” to evil men roaming the streets with large nets in hand looking for dogs to lock up in a cell. However, in reality, most municipal shelters run by the local government hire compassionate professionals that work long hours to help control the overcrowding problem by taking abandoned animals off the streets.
Municipal shelters, like Manhattan Animal Care Center and Chicago Animal Care Control, are part of the animal control division of a city or county. They are the first stop for stray or abandoned animals that are found within their jurisdiction. These types of shelter are often funded by taxes or the budgets their localities allocate from taxpayer money.
Increased Number of Animals in Shelters
In areas where there are a lot of stray and abandoned animals with only few homes, animal shelters may usually be forced to euthanize their animals. Thus, adopting an animal from municipal shelter can be life-saving for those animals. Take for instance, the Denver Animal Shelter who received more than 6,000 dogs and cats in 2014. Although the shelter was able to find homes for more than 2,000 of them, they were forced to euthanize about 600 animals.
In general, municipal shelters have a hold period for their animals to give original owners a chance to claim them before they put them up for adoption. When adopting a pet from a municipal shelter, expect a small adoption fee which reimburses the shelter from the costs of food, sheltering, and necessary medical care.
If they’re not spayed or neutered, they are usually sterilized within a specific amount of time after adoption to prevent unwanted litters.
Animals in municipal shelters will undergo behavioral and health assessment before adoption. However, note that kennel cough, a treatable condition, is usually common for dogs in municipal shelters. Weeks after adoption, new owners should visit their vet and treat their new companions to affordable pet grooming to help her blossom into a healthier pet.
Search for a Municipal Shelter
The easiest way to find a municipal shelter is to search through your local government’s website. If there’s no information available at the website, contact the animal control for help. Some areas may be too small that they don’t have animal control divisions. Thus, in such case, the local sheriff’s office may be able to provide you the information you need.
Private shelters are another type of facility that takes in stray animals and seeks out potential owners.
Several private shelters work in partnership with the locality’s animal control division to give sheltering services for stray animals in place of a municipal shelter. An example of this is Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter which was established in 2012. They have contracted the city of Alameda in California and have since become the primary shelter of the city.
Independent Animal Shelters
Most private shelters operate as independent facilities. They receive animals from guardians who can no longer take care of them or even from other shelters that don’t have enough space for stray animals. There are boards that monitor these private shelters that implement bylaws which govern how animals are adopted and how long should the animals kept, among others.
Animal Shelters that are Dependent on Fundraising
These private animal shelters are funded in various ways. Most of them are nonprofit organizations that rely mostly on donations through fundraising dinners, merchandize sales, individual memberships, donation drives, and more. They may also be funded through grants from other organizations like American Humane Association’s Second Chance Fund that covers the cost of medical treatment for animals that were neglected and abused.
Some private animal shelters are funded to provide a wide variety of services to their communities other than offering shelter. Take for instance, the Heartland Humane Society in Western Oregon. They visit local schools to educate students about being responsible companions to animals. They also have a pet food bank for low-income families with pets, and offers behavior counseling.
In most instances, private shelters have more resources compared to municipal shelters. That is why they make sure that those animals suffering from certain conditions are given proper treatment. Some operate spay and neuter facilities where they perform surgeries, as well as vaccinations, to animals that get into their shelters. Although these services may reduce the initial costs of veterinarian services for your new furry friend, be prepared because you may pay higher adaptation fee to help the shelter offset their expenses.
Finding a Private Shelter
Private animal shelters may operate using a variety of names. Thus, doing an online search for local shelters may generate a lengthy list. To help narrow it down, you should try asking a credible veterinarian for suggestions and recommendations. There are also websites online that helps users find a reputable shelter for animals, including both municipal and private facilities. Aside from that, you can also enter the type of animal and breed you are looking for and find the nearest shelter that houses such type. If you are not sure whether a shelter is run by your municipality or privately, you can go to their website and check. Their websites would usually explain how it is run or you can simply call the facility.
Regardless of whether you choose to adopt a dog from a municipal or private animal shelter, you are actually saving an animal’s life. Encourage your family and friends who are planning to get a dog to visit these shelters instead and adopt a homeless animal. You will surely reap many benefits by doing so.