While planning this site and chatting with various people involved in cat and dog rescue organisations, we realised that whilst all do a lot to help rehome pets and take care of their welfare, not all pet welfare organisations are the same, and we decided we wanted to comment on this. However, regardless of our opinions, we should make it clear that it doesn’t matter who you adopt a pet from; a homeless pet is a homeless pet wherever you find it.
Types of Animal Welfare Organisations
Essentially, there are two different types of animal welfare organisation; registered charities and volunteer groups who do the same sort of thing. Registered charities generally have an easier time raising funds with which to finance their work and whilst most start as local concerns, many have grown into national groups. The most famous animal welfare charity in the UK is of course the RSPCA, but there are other national groups such as ‘Cat Protection’ and ‘Dogs Trust’. The latter, as you might imagine, specialise in rehoming cats and dogs.
Aside from the fact that local cat rescue and dog rescue groups work specifically with pets abandoned in their home areas, there are other differences. Each organisation will have its own operational policies, covering matters such as rehoming criteria, whether pet are neutered/spayed, who they will rehouse pets with and other requirements. All check their guests’ health and behaviour before rehoming pets.
“No Kill” Policies
Considering animal welfare charities exist to promote animal welfare, advertising and raising money to help mistreated or homeless animals, the concept of putting those same animals down for anything other than health or behavioural problems is to many people (including ourselves) deeply offensive. In fact, most people imagine that all animal welfare organistions have what are often called ‘no kill’ policies, but it’s not always so. You probably think that the RSPCA, frequently spending your donations on adverts like the one shown below are worthy recipients of any money you care to donate but, for all the good they do, they still admit to putting down thousands upon thousands of pets every year. It’s not only the RSPCA, of course, and there are other groups which follow similar policies. Euthanasia might be the last resort, as these organisations will explain, but for many people it’s always wrong. In our view, homeless pets are always adoptable, even if it takes time.
As we’ve said before, it doesn’t matter where you adopt a pet from, but when you are considering donating your money to help cats or dogs which have been abused or abandoned, we urge you to help those who have what is termed a ‘no kill’ or ‘non-destruction’ policy.
Who to Help?
We all have our own preferences, as will you, but animal welfare is a community issue so we encourage you to support and help local animal welfare organisations, whatever their type, and particularly to look for those with ‘no kill’ policies. If you can’t find a local rescue group, national organisations such as Cats Protection and Dogs Trust have ‘no kill’ policies and will probably have a branch near you.
Charities with ‘no kill’ policies, often with extremely limited resources, are obliged to concentrate their efforts and resources on caring for and rehoming pets. Their policy of not killing pets without good reason means they need your money and support more than others. Please bear that in mind when volunteering help or making donations.
With some national groups, you might like to ask how much of your donation will be spent on looking after animals and how much will be spent on expensive fund-raising adverts, political campaigns or needless pet cremations…