Discussion: When rescues and no kill shelters are full

Reader Susan sent me this post from a contact of hers in the Kansas City area.  Posted with permission:

A cute medium-sized black dog showed up at my brother and sister-in-laws house a few weeks ago. She had been dumped. She loved people and desperately wanted attention from anyone who would give it to her and even more, she wanted to come into their house. They have an elderly wiener dog and a senior (but not yet elderly) border collie. Those dogs were not happy with the new arrival so the stray dog stayed outside. They don’t have a fenced yard (their dogs are not ever unattended outdoors so they don’t need one). This new arrival was fed and watered until a solution could be found.

Numerous rescue groups were contacted. No one had room for this sweet dog. The local no-kill shelters were contacted. No one had room there either for this sweet dog. Then one day they awoke in the a.m. and the dog was gone. She had moved on in an attempt to find someone else who could help her.

OK, now I’m to the point of this post. How does one help a homeless stray if there is nowhere to take it (other than high-kill shelters)? In a high-kill shelter this dog would be doomed, as it was black. But our no-kill shelters are nearly always at capacity. Even rescue groups wouldn’t list this dog on their “Other dogs” web pages without a mountain of paperwork and a waiting list to “process” the paper work.

I am frustrated by this story, as my brother and sister-in-law were willing to help this dog, but were not in a situation to keep her for any length of time. So where does one take a stray dog so that is not condemned to die straight away…?

Is this a situation you have encountered?  What are your thoughts on the subject?

45 thoughts on “Discussion: When rescues and no kill shelters are full

  1. It’s a hard one. I have encountered this situation. Most of the rescues/shelters I called never even called me back. I got put on a waiting list at one shelter – they said it would be about 6 months. It’s been 4 years and I still haven’t heard from them. I assume I would have to call every few weeks to stay on the list. Eventually I did find a rescue that would take the cat – it’s a rescue I still volunteer with. Luckily I had the space so I could quarantine him inside until I found a home for him. I don’t know what I would have done if no one ever accepted him.

  2. I never assume that a dog or cat has been “dumped”. I’ve seen too many stories of animals missing for a long time, they end up looking like they were neglected, abused, etc. when the whole time family is searching for them – maybe two towns over, but searching.

    All found animals should be posted on Craigslist, flyers, vet offices, shelters, etc. They should also be taken to the vet to be scanned for a chip and examined for tattoos.

    If no shelter can take her, then the dog either stays with me or with someone who can offer safe harbor, even just temporarily.

    I once found a lovely little black Lab – young, healthy, collar, no tags, no chip. After two weeks of searching for an owner (while she lived in my sister’s garage), we began to talk to the Lab rescue groups. I got one who was willing to evaluate her as a possibility for their program. Right after they determined that she was normal and healthy and indeed a Lab, I got a call from the owner! She had been on vacation and left this dog in her father in law’s care. He apparently found her too much to handle on the first day, drove her out to the next town and left her. Because I had left my name and number with every shelter within a 50 mile radius, the owner found me on her first call, came out immediately and got her dog. What happened with her father in law, I do not know, but I think it’s safe to say that she never left another animal in his “care” again.

    So yeah, I was very lucky that she was a pure breed that might go to a breed rescue. What would I have done if she were a mixed breed? I’m not sure…probably worked hard to rehome her with the promise to take her back if things didn’t work out. And then…try again to rehome.

    1. “If no shelter can take her, then the dog either stays with me or with someone who can offer safe harbor, even just temporarily.”

      This can be a lot easier said than done, depending on each person’s personal situation and network.

      The no-kill crowd loves to harp on the idea that there are enough homes for every shelter pet in America. I don’t know if I totally agree with this, but certainly a lot more could be placed than there currently are.

      However, the lack of organization of the animal welfare community, logistical challenges, regional/local dynamics, and preferences of adopters make this statement a LOT more complicated than comparing X animals to Y homes.

      Shelters that don’t put animals down get swamped. And good rescues get swamped. Not sure what I would have done had I been Susan…and this is a woman savvy and compassionate enough about animals to be reading Shirley’s blog. People with less knowledge will investigate fewer options.

      Also, we hear this black dog syndrome talk a lot…”she’ll be put down first because she’s black”…”nobody is interested in adopting her because she’s black”…how much evidence do we see of this in the real world at shelters? I don’t see it at mine.

      1. Just a point of clarification – this message was posted by a contact of Susan’s, not Susan herself. AFAIK, the poster is not a reader here.

      2. “This can be a lot easier said than done, depending on each person’s personal situation and network.”

        True. I once took in two Rottweilers whose house had burned down the night before (talk about emergency fostering!)…they were not dog or cat-safe…and I had both dogs and cats. So I had to invest in two very large crates for them and work to keep my animals safe from them. But I had no choice because who is going to take two large breed dogs that aren’t safe with other animals (and one of them wasn’t entirely safe with people, either)?

        What impressed me was the online Rottweiler community and how they pulled together to help me find homes for these dogs.

    1. An open admission shelter does not turn people away – these may be no kill but most are kill shelters. A limited admission shelter does turn people away when they are full.

      1. Our local kill shelter did turn away a lost Great Pyr found on an expressway! It’s how he came to be in my rescue (where I, too, have no more room) and is now a foster for Natl. Great Pyr Rescue (and guess who is the foster?).
        Yes, black dogs are over-looked a lot at shelters and rescues. Their faces do not show the expression a lighter dog’s face can show :(. Certainly, they are just as worthy of adoption.
        A hound was literally dumped by a “rescue minded” citizen at the no kill of which I am a part; the man would not take him to the kill shelter but willingly left him on the ground and walked away at which point the director got his info. I have their number – jerks. They had no room, either. IMHO, this hound was not starving but looked like a working hound who may have found his way home had the jerk left him alone. He didn’t even check him for a chip. We did.
        My suggestion for this wee black dog would have been an X-pen in the back yard to contain for the time they need to find her home but that is, of course, hind-sight.
        And yes, ALL DOGS ARE LOST till proven otherwise. I’m concerned there is a family looking for this very nice Pyr but won’t find him till too late, I’m missing my heart Beagle for 3 years now; I’m still looking though I’m sure he died in the freezing cold of that winter :(.

  3. I have also encountered this situation, as I would bet most people have who find a stray dog/cat and understand the high kill rate of their local public shelters. I took too many of my late brother’s cats into my home because there was only one rescue that could/would help take some of them (3.5 yr. later, that rescue is having financial problems and still has not adopted out some of the cats. I have not adopted out any more of the cats). I believe in Nathan Winograd’s numbers, but until the No Kill Equation is implemented and successful in most areas of the country – what are animal loving people supposed to do with the nice stray dog that shows up? After checking at the vet for a microchip, checking for lost fliers and notices on the internet and at the local vets, checking with friends/neighbors to see if anyone has room – if you have no answers and you don’t want the dog to go to the pound (which legally, here anyway, we are required to take them) – what can be done? IMHO, this is where animal loving hoarders get started having too many animals…

    1. It’s been 4 years since I have been in that situation and if it were to happen now I feel like I have more options. Not because more no kill shelters opened here or because they have less requests, but because I have become part of facebook/email rescue groups. Should I get an animal to show up here and I couldn’t get a home/rescue in the area to take it i would start emailing/facebooking my contacts and see what happens. I have seen so many animals get homes this way – often they end up in a different state. It’s amazing what the power of networking can do. The only caveat is that you have to be willing to take time and possibly spend money for transport.

    2. Cj, interesting that you’re legally required to take a found dog to the pound. In my area, the law states that if you feed and house a found dog for three days, you become the legal owner (with all the liabilities thereof).

      Daniela makes a good point on the networking! There are a lot more possibilities than there used to be.

      1. The main reason that I joined Facebook was to network for adoptive homes for dogs at rescues I know and for the occasional stray that shows up – but my friend list is either people who are already part of the rescue network and doing the same thing or people who have no room or interest (or are in other countries) and it hasn’t helped that I can see. I know I need some new Facebook friends – ones who are not already connected to rescue and might be looking for a new dog/cat, but not sure how to find those. ;)

      2. I guess its all part of who you end up being connected to. I haven’t had a need to post an animal in a while, but if i were to I would post it to my animal rescue friends and ask them to cross post. In just 2012 I have seen over 10 cats make it from high kill shelters this way and 1 senior black cat get a home after her human wasn’t able to care for her anymore. Not one of the original posters were in a position to take the animals but the 2nd or 3rd level of reposts had someone who was able to. It’s a matter of getting the word out as far as possible because then you have a greater chance of finding someone who decides this animal is the one for them. Pet Pardons could help too if you are able to post the animal there.

  4. Please can we stop calling the animals “it”????

    Yes, Welcome Home Sanctuary has been in this situation a thousand times as the rescue receiving the call. If we are full, we try to make accomodation and work on finding the animal’s home. OR we try to find a foster. OR we support the finders in coming up with a solution, and talk to them on a daily basis. We have stretched ourselves many times so that the animal was not left out in inclement or cold weather, so please Joel, please stop with the hoarders card. It really stinks already; I know of a person who considered his sister a hoarder because she had 4 dogs!! There is always room for one more in an emergency situation. If someone even has a garage to keep the animal in and away from their own companions, there is no excuse for leaving the animal out on the streets if they really want to help (I am sure that Susan’s family really meant to help, but had nobody to guide them). We return every single phone call and/or email. We work with with the finders on getting them more used to the idea that they CAN yes indeedy put the stray in their garage for a couple of days till we can come up with a solution, and even offer to pay for food etc. We also ask them to go to the vet and ask for a chip scan to be done, also a tatoo search.

    Can’t think of anything else we do…

    1. I never said anything about hoarding, not sure why you’ve decided to interpret any of my statements that way.

      My point is that when rescues become known for doing good work, they’re going to get contacted a lot more. And they will probably run at near capacity. Which does not imply hoarding. If the rescues that Susan’s friend was calling were full, it probably menas that they are being responsible by not taking on too many animals and not stretching themselves beyond their means.

      1. And to clarify, if the rescues are full that doesn’t mean that they still can’t help the person that found the animal.

    2. Once again, to clarify, the story is from a friend of mine and did not directly involve me. She related it on a Facebook comment thread and I thought it raised some useful and interesting issues. I really wasn’t sure what I could tell her, but as was pointed out above, there are a lot of networks out there and I’ve taken full advantage….Christie Keith has also blogged about it over at HonestDog. People here might be interested in her takeaways.

  5. I have rescued cats off and on for several years in different counties in CA, AZ, and TN. Sometimes the counties had lots of recourses and rescue groups and other times they didn’t.

    Given this experience, I’ve developed a method that will greatly improve a pets chance of getting into a no kill shelter or rescue group. My experiences have been with cats, but the same principles should apply for dogs. I wrote an article about this last year which can be viewed at:


    I hope you find it useful.


  6. I wanted to let a conversation get started before throwing in my two cents.

    Cent #1: In the big picture, this is as clear a cry for shelter reform as exists. We are forced to pay for our municipal shelters but most of us (who do not have a local open admission no kill shelter) can not make use of them. It’s like offering food stamps to families in need that are only redeemable at the dump. We need meaningful reform in our shelter system.

    Cent #2: Small picture – this is going to vary based on an individual’s circumstances. I have encountered this situation before and in fact have a bratty dog at my feet right now b/c of it (still waiting on the “waiting list” call back from my local no kill shelter – it’s been a year or two).

    I appreciate that there are times that a person simply can not take in a stray pet. I had four pets show up on a holiday weekend once – one handsome intact male Pitbull, one bitch in season, another skinny bitch and a goat. I posted on the blog, called around, fed and watered them and put Frontline on them since it was summer and they were covered in fleas. I could not take in these 4 animals at that time. (I’m not sure when I might be able to take in 3 intact dogs and a goat actually.) If there was a law locally (as someone posted earlier) that I had to take them to the pound, I would not have done so. There is no such law here but I am not going to take animals to a place that kills them. As a compromise, I sort of “sheltered in place” and they moved on by the end of the long weekend. I still think about them to this day and keep an eye on the area where they chose to bed down just in case they might ever come back. Was it ideal? Of course not. Was it better than death, which is what they would have likely gotten at the local pound? Obviously.

  7. Sometimes there is no place to take a stray dog so that it isn’t killed right away but into your own home. I know, I know, not everyone can do this, and many more are afraid to do it because it really can be quite daunting.

    I have been in this position before. Years ago I had a stray that my (now ex-) husband found, we tried for weeks to find the owner, posted ads and fliers, faxed vet clinics, etc. The dog (a black dog as well, I named him “Dave”) did not get along with my male dog at all, and I was desperate to find a rescue that would take him or someone else who would foster him.

    Many rescues did not even return my call or email. This still happens to me A LOT, and I think it is rude and unforgivable! The least you can do is write a short email saying “Sorry, full!” But, several rescues helped in the ways they could–a few “courtesy listed” him on their web sites, and one put him up on Petfinder. Another actually got him neutered for me (I had an existing relationship with them). One group tried to get me to pay them $50 to put him on Petfinder, and I told them they were crazy. The rescue world IS very weird and disorganized sometimes. But you want to save that dog, right? persistence pays off.

    But no one took the dog, so I made do in my house with crates and baby gates. He and my male dog just got rotated around so that they were never together but both got attention and play. It wasn’t easy and it went on for seven months. Finally we found an adoptive family for the dog. I was actually sorry to see him go but so thankful that things were going to be more peaceful and easy in my home.

    That was my first ever foster dog. Since then I’ve learned a lot more about how rescues work, and I’m much more understanding of why they just couldn’t say “Sure, I’ll take that dog.” They are dependent on people like me saying “Sure, I will disrupt my life and take in another animal that might disrupt the delicate balance in my home.” And if they don’t have that person, what do you want them to do? It’s not a perfect system and it’s full of holes. (And yeah, they should at least freakin’ RETURN PHONE CALLS! Grr!)

    So I guess my answer is, we all do what we can do. And sometimes we learn that what we can do is more than we thought.

    1. I appreciate the effort you put forth to keep that stray dog when you had a home situation that made it difficult. I used to be able to temporarily house a stray dog since I had one or two friendly dogs plus cats. Now I have a dog who does not get along with other dogs unless they are quite small (like the cats she lives with). I was lucky about 21 years ago to have only one dog-friendly dog and three dog-friendly cats when I was found by a stray dog while I was walking my dog before work. The stray followed me home, walking by one of the cats in the yard, and I decided to house him while looking for his owner. When I would take him around the neighborhood asking people “is he yours? Do you know him?”, everyone gave me disapproving looks and acted like they didn’t even want him on their property. I placed an ad, took him to the vet, drove him around to nearby neighborhoods to see if he reacted, walked him up to many people and homes, and finally decided to just keep him. He stayed with me for 16 years, and was the sweetest of the dogs I’ve lived with. I think a lot of people do still take in stray dogs when they can’t find their owner, but there ARE a lot of people and circumstances that just don’t allow this, or make it hard work like in your case with the need to juggle dogs – which not everyone is willing to do. I heard back from only a couple of the rescues about the cats when my brother died, and only one offered to take any – one offered free courtesy listings, and individual rescue people offered to help with the immediate costs. I understood the reasons, but understood also that I was incapable of taking any animal to a concrete cell at the public shelter – even if there was some chance for adoption. A foster home was the only choice I was willing to accept other than an adoptive home, and rescues are always searching for more of those. I now consider myself a foster home for my brother’s cats and still hope that I will find permanent homes for some of them, but I read every week (on FBook and in emails from rescues) about similar situations where an animal will “have to go to the pound” if someone doesn’t open their rescue/foster home/adoptive home for them. The numbers continue to be staggering.

    2. This is what I was going to say; that sometimes you cant find a place for them but in your own home, but its best to put gates up or something like that to keep the dogs separated until you find a good home.

      Sadly I think this situation leads to so many hoarding type of situations and rescuer’s fatigue because they are animal lovers and want to help, but there are just too many of them and not enough homes, at once.

  8. An incredibly interesting, heartfelt and helpful thread of comments. I make sure any dog I take in is 1) surrendered by owner or by the kill shelter, 2) check for a chip, 3) list with our kill shelter as this is where people should and do first check, and 4) post like mad online, newspaper and vets. I keep lost dogs for 10 days before trying to adopt out; Snowman, the GP, is now past his 10 days.

  9. In my area, my sister has found animals and the rescues have usually have had no problems taking them. However, she does have them vetted, started on HW medication, and checked for a microchip. She will keep them for awhile-usually up to a couple months until the rescue groups have room. The groups are appreciative since she is able to do this. There were two dogs recently. One was an older puppy-a large Great Pyr male who went to a Pyr rescue and the other was a young adult Terrier mix who went to an all-breed large community rescue group that has its own building but all its animals are fostered. My sister was surprised that the large community rescue group would take the dog! The group was surprised at how well trained the dog was-it learned to be crate-trained and even learned a few commands. It was one crazy and out-of-control dog in the beginning though.

    1. Jennifer, it sounds like your sister is a great foster home for the rescues – so happy that it all works so well where she lives.

      1. My sister was not a foster as she just held on to these stray animals until the rescue groups had a foster available. Sometimes it would take a couple months. She did the vetting which was never reimbursed because she did not want unvaccinated animals living with her other animals. This was just her way of making sure these animals did not go to a kill shelter. My sister cannot even go to a kill shelter as she gets too upset. She has been this way since a child!

  10. I’ve been through numerous times. We’d often have stray animals brought into the animal hospital where I worked. The rule was they could stay for a short period of time, but only if an employee took responsibility for paying all of the fees. It was also up to the employee to find a new placement as quickly as possible. If no one ‘took on’ the animal it went to animal control and our local high-kill shelter.

    I typically took on all the cats. Off the top of my head I can remember at least two dozen animals, including a mother and her litter. Every single one was a huge struggle to find a placement for. All of the no-kills and rescue programs in the area were always full up. It took a lot of work and networking, and all the time I was under pressure to get the cats out of the hospital ASAP. Not only did they take up cage space but they were being exposed to sick pets.

    The one I remember best was a kitten who had been thrown from a car. It peeled the skin off his lower lip in a degloving injury. Luckily it was fixable, but a coworker tested him for FeLV/FIV and he came up positive for FIV. He was too young for the test to be accurate, but it was near impossible to find a place for him because he had that hanging over his furry little head. One rescue group told me they have recently euthanized all of their FIV positive cats because no one ever adopted them. I can remember crying over this kitten I was so frustrated, and the head vet was heavily pressuring me to give up and put him down even though he was perfectly happy and healthy. Eventually he was negative on a retest and a different vet adopted him.

    When the rescue groups did accept them they charged high fees. One wanted a 90 dollar surrender fee, which I paid on several occasions. That group also wouldn’t accept ‘stray’ cats- they would only take owner surrenders, which meant lying about the animal’s origin. For the mother and kittens I paid $120 to get them a front cage at another hospital’s adoption center.

    It was always incredibly stressful because I’m not a rescue- I don’t have the same resources or connections. And limited intake only reinforces in people’s mind that true no kill is not achievable- how can it be, if all these rescue groups are always full up?

  11. I have been in that situation. If it’s a cat, there is a lot I can do and she can stay with me until I find her a home. (And I am proud to say that I have found good homes for all my fosters) If it’s a dog, I am in trouble. I cannot let a dog into my house, due to cats, kids and husbands – none of them will accept a dog even over night.
    I have tried boarding them in vet clinics, frantically looking for fosters, calling every rescue group just for advice what to do. I have adopted them out, I have had wonderful help from rescue groups, I have found fosters. I have never taken a dog to MAS but I did take one to be euthanized humanely because I was at the end of my rope. (BTW, this was a dog that Demetria Hogan was trying to pick up but I beat her to it.) It’s very, very hard.

  12. I think a half-way house, properly organized and funded would go a long way in starting, even if small, a way to save many animals…animals to be housed, fed, treated medically to be ready for fosters, rescues or adopters. Just my opinion!

  13. I confess: there have been phone messages on my answering machine where I did not return the call. Perhaps that makes me a BAD person, but frankly, it’s really depressing when I already had more than a dozen foster dogs and this guy 200 miles away wants to unload five dogs *tomorrow.* No, I’m not going to call him back because I’ll say something grumpy or mean. Animal Control is funded in our community to deal with this situation. They claim their euthanasia rate is only 10% (I think it fluctuates from 10 – 25%—and the dogs get out alive a lot more than the cats.)
    If I am home, I answer the phone. I have consulted and mentored many a pet owner and helped them to foster and rehome their own animal.
    Actually got a phone message today from the folks who moved out of town and were frantic to place their aged schipperke. Seems they found somebody in their new neighborhood interested in adopting her! So I’m hoping the little deaf black dog that is living in my garage will be moving to Kenai in the next few weeks. (She didn’t like the bassets, so she’s been living in the garage.)
    Please realize that some rescues consider many of us unacceptable adopters. They won’t let us foster either. So if THEY are full up, they have to work three times as hard to find a viable home.
    Meanwhile, us less-than-perfect folk can do a bang-up job of fostering and rehoming whatever shows up. But please, everybody, get it spayed or neutered before you pass it on!

    1. Well, that raises the question; with whose money? Many of us don’t have the spare cash it takes to provide veterinary care for extra dogs. I don’t. The only way I can take in a dog is if someone else pays for vetting. Especially considering that, around here, a dog that has been stray for longer than a few months is most likely going to test HW+. What I have started doing is approaching rescue groups with the offer: “If you take this dog into your program and pay for its vetting, I will foster it.” Sometimes they actually answer my email/call.

      And when people make phone calls to rescue groups and don’t even get a call back, it’s very disheartening and demoralizing. Sure, it is depressing for you to have to say no to people, but imagine how depressing it is to really want to do right by an animal but find that even the people who have made it their business to help, i.e. rescue groups, don’t even want to make the effort to talk to you?

      And this brings me to another point that comes into play a lot: It seems to me that so many people who work in rescue (and I an NOT aiming this at you, specifically, Lynn!) love animals but treat people with suspicion and disdain. But the only way to help animals is by working with, and adopting to, other people. One reason many of us would not qualify is that so many rescue groups have standards that so few people would meet. I was once almost turned down for a cat adoption because, when they said they had to verify me by looking me up in the phone book, I said they wouldn’t find me because my number was unpublished! No cat for me! Then I saw the date on their phone book, and I realized it was from the year before, when my number was still published. Cat for me! Stupid, ridiculous rule.

      1. If someone approached the animal rescue I run and said “if you take this dog into your program, I will foster it”, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on. Yes, we have limited money, but we have even more limited foster home space.

        And yes, it is depressing that rescue groups have to turn you down, but what’s more depressing to ME is that my local shelter has a MUCH bigger budget and staff than my rescue does, and yet ALSO turns people down (if it’s not an easy-to-place animal), doesn’t bother posting most of their animals online, euthanizes left and right, and doesn’t allow volunteers. I work my butt off networking and posting and calling around, etc, and they can’t be bothered. If THEY (the people paid by the city to actually do this) tried harder, small rescues and members of the community would be better off.

    2. Okay, another phone call yesterday…7 a.m. I was still in bed. Because of this post, I returned the call. Turns out the gal was in California. No, I was not interested in helping her dog. I suggested she check out petfinder and search for a husky closer to her, then call THAT organization! She called back ten minutes later…obviously didn’t keep track of where she’d already called. (She didn’t leave her area code, but I did *69 and got it in order to return her call. I pay extra to call long-distance on my land line.)
      I don’t have time to worry about if she found a place for her anila. My job is to worry about my own back yard and reach out as I can to help others.

  14. You really have to think outside the box. It sounds to me that your own prejudice from the dog being black obviously a color you dont like you feel other people would not either… which is just not the case. However you should have turned to facebook for instance and posted a it on numerous animal rescue sites. I for one have several hundred rescues on my page alone. I heard about what they tried to do, what did you try to do? I dont mean that as a rude comment I am saying that it usually takes more than a couple phone calls and that is the reason we have so many rescue groups on line. You really have to take a proactive approach and it does take some work and effort.

  15. I saw this link today, and for some reason it reminded me of this discussion, because it’s about one person helping plug the holes in the system despite great odds. This lady has taken in 13 senior dogs who would have been killed. She lost her home, she lost her job, and yet she cares most about the dogs. “We have made it through the winter without a furnace, but we made it using alternate heating sources and a lot of snuggling. Now it looks like the bathroom floor is falling in.” http://beautifulseniorboyscare.chipin.com/my-wonderful-old-guys

    (Also, if you are wondering if this Chip-in is legit, here is a news article about her:http://bit.ly/i1Z8aS)

    1. Thanks for posting this! Many times seniors are the last to be adopted and rescued because of their vet costs. I would rather rescue seniors than puppies or young dogs now that I am getting older. I rescued a mom with three of her pups several years ago and they were a handful since I was also working a full-time job.

  16. My sister rescues and fosters as do I and we have our limits on what we can handle, physically and financially. We both have multiple pets and multiple foster pets so adding another stray is not always possible. From time to time both of us have turned in stray animals to animal control knowing that most likely they will be killed since about 90% of them are killed. Why, did we do this? Because we both feel that being killed fast by the shelter is better than starving to death, being attacked by coyotes, or hit by cars and we couldn’t find anyone else willing to take on the animal.

    Most rescue groups I contact do not reply back and the ones that do reply usually tell me that they are full or not interested in the animal we found or know about. Occasionally we have found foster homes or rescuers for some we could not take on.

    If the animal is found by someone contacting us for help we try to get them to hold on the animal while we network for help. Or ask them to consider fostering the animal if we can find a rescue willing to vet the animal if they are not willing or able to do so themselves. I also give them links to sites with info about rehoming a pet.

    We have both have had foster pets that took over a year to place. Most take months.

    I still find it hard to believe that open door no kill shelters are possible. I am totally amazed at what they can do. I hope and pray that more and more will come about faster and faster.

    I know of two dogs right now that need rescue/foster in Kentwood, Louisiana.

  17. Im late to the conversation but I am actually in this very same situation with my 3 cats. I have a 7, 6 and 5 yr old females all spayed and indoor kitties and Im losing my house within a month. I have sent out over 130 emails to various no kill shelters and ones that don’t say if they are or aren’t “no kill” but mentioned of course thats what Im looking for.

    So far the few replies I have gotten are not promising in the least, as others have mentioned that most shelters seem to be at capacity and a few even out right said with how old my cats are, they would probably never get adopted as they are having problems trying to adopt out kittens.

    Really leaves a pet owner/lover in a bad spot. Im sitting here every minute of the say wondering what am I going to do if I cannot find a home or a no kill shelter for my babies? Not many ethical options if I don’t have any luck… A) Put them outside and hope they survive B) Pay to have them euthanized or C) Place them in a normal shelter knowing that there is a 99% chance they will be destroyed the same day or within days of dropping them off.

    So… what would YOU do if you had a beloved pet and there was no way you could take them with you… couldn’t find any family or friends to take them in… and couldn’t find a no kill shelter?

      1. Currently in Gassville Arkansas… at minimum would be here till the end of this month of July and a slim chance I could be here till Aug or Sept.

      2. Bruce, you haven’t said why you aren’t taking the cats with you – I guess you have some reason why you don’t see that as an option, but I cannot ignore that as option #1 on your list. Are you on Facebook? There are many animal rescues, and people involved in saving cats/dogs on rescue, and you may find someone there you don’t know who would offer a home to your babies. There’s a closed Facebook group for Arkansas Cat Rescue Network (I just did a search on FB) and perhaps one of those folks would have a resource. If you can hang on to your cats for a while, the frenzy of kitten season does abate a little bit in the fall, and then there may be a better chance for a placement.

      3. Can’t take them with me because my mother won’t allow pets in her house. Already went down the same road with her when 3 yrs ago I lost my job, lost my house and got a divorce and need to move in. So rather then put them into a shelter… I opted to move out to Ohio with what little money I had. Last 1 1/2 yrs there before finding work, which that last but a whole 5 – 6 days before a medical condition hit me out of nowhere and I couldnt stay on my feet for more then 15mins – 1hr. Lasted another 6 months before almost ending up homeless and then an online friend offered me a converted garage apartment and promised a roof over my head for my cats and self. That last 7 months… he got divorced… his wife stuck to the agreement and let me stay, but now she is moving cause she don’t like the area… and here I am.

        As for FaceBook… I have a lot of different groups posting and passing on a pic of my cats along with a brief description and have already sent out 130+ emails across AR, MO, MI, KY, WV, PA, DE, MD and NJ to various no kill shelters and shelters not listing if they are or aren’t no kill… but of course stating thats what I was looking for. So far (being a Sunday) I have only received a few replies but none real promising. Most state the fact that they are full and also that finding homes for kittens these days is tough, let alone adult cats.

      4. Have you tried a best friends alert? They will spread the word to their followers who might be able to help yu. I will look up the instructions if you want me to.

  18. i have a pittbull he 6 years old and i am moving and he can go with me so i am trying to find a good home for him can you help me?

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