The Impact of Humane Organizations on Rescuing Abandoned Animals

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How to Help Animals in the Community?

Animal rescue organizations offer a critical service to local communities.

They aim to reunite lost pets with their owners and find adoptive homes for unwanted animals.

Each charity has its philosophical values, funding sources, and mode of operation that can make evaluating its impact on stray animals difficult.

Often, these differences are driven by a desire to be as transparent as possible for donors.

Different ways to rescue stray animals


Animal shelters play a critical role in every community.

Whether run by the municipal government or independent, their ultimate goal is to save animals who have lost their homes, been discarded or abandoned, or need medical or behavioral treatment.

Many of these animals are strays or were abandoned by their owners. Others are surrendered by families who can no longer care for them.

Most shelters are non-profit, relying on public donations to cover their costs, including animal food, employee salaries, and building maintenance.

Some of these shelters will contract with local rescue groups or foster caregivers to transfer ownership of the animals to them.

The structure of these contracts varies, but open adoption approaches that retain discretion are preferred, as they allow for flexibility and matchmaking in a climate of trust, communication, and understanding.

This approach also helps avoid the euthanasia of potentially adoptable pets.



Animal welfare charities help dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals find loving homes.

They also work to end the cruel pet trade by educating the public and lobbying governments.

Many state laws require shelters to cooperate with rescue and foster organizations to prevent animals from being euthanized.

This is important because “no-kill” facilities sometimes prioritize their publicity over the animals in their care, turning away needy animals or shipping them out of state to unsuspecting families who cannot care for them properly.

Other animals are abandoned and left to die on their own in pitiful kennels or dumped on the street or in the woods, or they become prey to predators or are dumped by animal hoarders who live with them in unsanitary conditions.

The good news is that people like the Humane Society of New York (HSNY) are helping to stop this by working to increase adoption rates and encouraging people to buy animals from local stores instead of online or from puppy mills.



Animal abuse and neglect is a long-standing issue in many communities.

Studies show that children who see cruelty toward animals will often grow up to be cruel to people, as well.

This is why educating young children about compassion and respect for all living things is so important.

Many modern not-for-profit rescue organizations focus on rehoming abused animals and rehabilitating and training them.

Severely abused animals may require special care to overcome the trauma and anxiety they experienced in their past homes.

These animals may need to be taught new, appropriate behaviors, and some might never fully recover from the traumatic experience that caused them to become so scared.

Long-term public awareness campaigns about responsible pet ownership, including spaying/neutering and acquiring pets from shelters rather than breeders or pet stores, and municipal enforcement of owner licensing and animal control laws are critical to reducing the number of abandoned animals.

Most organizations significantly increased middle school students’ understanding of the abandoned pet issue and their character and values as citizens.



Animals who are abandoned or euthanized represent significant costs to society and the economy.

They impose substantial burdens on government and nongovernmental organizations that take responsibility for them and those injured or killed by them.

They also impose costs on natural ecosystems and biodiversity, contributing to overpopulation and ecological problems.

They can affect public health, safety, and quality of life by increasing the risk of diseases and injury for people and pets.

Prevention programs are an essential part of animal welfare efforts.

They include work to promote responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering, education campaigns to reduce the breeding of animals for sale, laws and regulations that address animal cruelty, and support for law enforcement officials who prosecute animal abusers.

They also work to educate consumers about the impact of their purchasing decisions on animal welfare, and they address environmental issues through programs such as habitat protection, wildlife rehabilitation, and habitat restoration.