ADOPTING RESCUE PETS
When adopting rescue pets, or sponsoring animals in need, you save the lives of innocent animals. You also do this when animal fostering.
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Millions of unwanted pets are put to death every year all over the
world. Internationally, around 600 million are thought to be abandoned, with huge numbers of those in countries which use extremely cruel and violent overpopulation controls and can have very hostile attitudes to stray animals.
In the USA alone, it is estimated around four to five million dogs
and cats are abandoned each year and around 130,000 in the UK. On top of
this, other pets including small animals and horses are regularly abandoned. Many of the horses and ponies abandoned can end up in illegal slaughter houses.
a small portion of these pets are lucky enough to be rescued and adopted, leaving a huge portion unwanted with nowhere to go. These animals are
sadly put to death. Tragically, while this is happening, millions of pets are being newly bred and bought in their place – tomorrows abandoned pets. The cycle keeps repeating itself and is getting worse, as numbers of abandoned pets are riding.
Below: Rescue dog Pepper having a hug with his happy owner.
- Why Millions Of Innocent Pets Are Put To Death Each Year
- Save a Life – Adopt A Pet Or Sponsor An Animal
- The Reason Millions Of Animals Are Abandoned Each Year: People
- Why It Is Best To Adopt Pets & Not Buy
- Not Only Domestic Animals Need Homes
- Breeds That Are Victims Of Bad Ownership
- Unbalanced Reporting Giving Breeds Bad Reputations
- Which Breeds Are Hardest To Re-home?
- Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
- Other Shelter Pets Put To Death First
- How Are Abandoned Pets Euthanised?
- The Worst Thing You Can Do
- Rescues Re-home Puppies And Kittens Too
- All Pets Are Thoroughly Assessed
- One Quarter To One Third of Shelter Dogs Are Purebred
- Questions You May Be Asked, Donations And Possible Home Checks
- Animal Fostering And Sponsoring
- Pet Quarantine – Adopting From Abroad
- Think You May Like To Adopt, Sponsor Or Foster An Animal?
Below: Rescue pets are fantastic to adopt. On the left is
Kosmo. Her owners say she is the coolest cat in the world and a pleasure
to have around. On the right is adopted Doberman Zooie. His owner
describes him as the most wonderful dog anyone could ever wish for.
The situation exists due to:
- The huge problem of pet abandonment
- The fact that people often do not spay and neuter pets
- There not being enough places at rescues that do not kill the animals (‘No Kill’ rescues).
- Not enough people animal fostering and sponsoring or adopting.
- Pets are constantly being bred by people attempting to make money, taking potential homes from abandoned Pets and causing them to be put to death in their millions every year.
the millions of innocent dogs and cats being destroyed through no fault
of their own, people continue to buy newly bred pets, encouraging
breeding (and inadvertently more innocent deaths) instead of saving
these innocent shelter pets from death.
Many people buy puppies from pet shops, not realising they are supplied by incredibly cruel puppy farms.
These pets desperately long for someone to love, but sadly are too often killed in horrifically cruel ways. See cruel animal overpopulation controls for details.
puppy and kitten bred and bought condemns innocent abandoned animals to
death. Please do not be the one to issue their death warrants.
Some rescues have a ‘No Kill’ policy. This means they do not put any
animal down unless it is suffering / on the advice of a vet. If you
adopt rescue pets from these rescues, you make room for more lives to be
Many shelters – especially municipal ones that local
council ‘dog catchers’ use – put animals to death when they are not
claimed, rescued or adopted within a short time limit.
Many of the
animals that go in to these ‘death row’ pounds are put to death. If you
adopt rescue pets from these shelters, you probably save the life of the
You can also sponsor rescue pets that cannot be
re-homed (see further down this page for more details). By doing so, you
free up the animal rescues funds to continue saving other animals from
suffering and death.
Below: Adopted cat pukyot, with life saving adopter Grace.
People sometimes wrongly believe the rescue pets must
have problems to end up in animal shelters. This is incorrect. The vast
majority of the time, it is because of their owners problematic personal
Common reasons for dogs being at animal shelters are:
- Owners now have to be out at work all day
- Owners relationship breaks up
- Owner has a baby so doesn’t want a dog anymore
- Owner moves to property that doesn’t allow dogs
- Owner becomes ill or immobile and unable to care for pet
- Owner passes away
- Owner gets evicted from home
- Owner did not realise what hard work a puppy was & cannot manage it
- Owner can no longer afford pet
- Owner has lost interest in pet
- Irresponsible owners do not neuter pets
- Irresponsible breeders breed, attempting to make money when it is well known that there are not enough homes for exiting pets
- Owner does not want dog when it is old
- Owner does not want dog when it develops special care requirements
- Owner finds dog too much hard work and cannot be bothered to train it properly
there are legitimate reasons in the list, much of the time excuses show
that many people do not understand that having a pet is a commitment
for the natural life time of the pet.
Many people simply did not
use any forethought when they purchased the puppy. They did not have
any plans for for how the dog would be looked after in the event of
perfectly likely things happening in the dog’s lifetime, such as them
being out at work all day, or them having a baby, financial problems, a
lack of time, etc.
Below: Greyhounds, Lurchers and related breeds make wonderful
rescue pets, and contrary to what is sometimes believed, they do not
need a lot of exercise. The people in the pictures above are just two of
many that have only positive things to say about their adopted rescue
For Abandoning Dogs
There are more ridiculous reasons than these common motives, such as
people getting rid of their dog because They have had new flooring
fitted and thought the dog may mess it up.
Even more absurd are the
people who deserted their dog because they re-decorated and the dog no
longer went with the decor! However, at least these people are honest
about why they are abandoning their pet.
People Brand Their Pets Aggressive
When They Are Not To
Justify Abandoning Them
When there is nothing wrong with the dog or cat and the owners simply
cannot be bothered looking after it anymore, people feel they need to
justify why they get rid of their pet to a shelter.
often lie about the pet, saying it bites or has other behavioural
problems. Sadly, most dogs that owners say are aggressive are destroyed.
owners don’t bother to take their pet to a shelter and give an excuse.
They just throw the vulnerable animal out on the street to starve and
freeze to death. Some even kill the pets that trusted them, themselves,
in sickeningly inhumane ways.
Below: Shelter dog Morris gives a shelter volunteer kisses.
- If you adopt rescue pets, you save innocent lives
- They are often vaccinated and neutered – that means fewer vets bills and a healthier pet.
dogs, mongrels/mutts/cross breeds have the least health problems caused
by in-breeding – meaning fewer vets bills to come
- They are often already house trained (dogs/cats)
adult animals, you know what personality you are getting because their
personalities are already developed, unlike with a baby – they can end
up with a personality different to what you hoped for, even if you try
to mould them in to what you want.
- Reputable animal rescues assess the temperament of an animal. They can match the animal with a prospective owner, if required
the older the pet is, the less wild and hyperactive it tends to be,
especially if neutered – baby animals can be very hard work – especially
- If you adopt rescue pets, many rescues let
you take pets on trial so you can tell if they are the right one for you
before committing – you don’t get that when you buy pets!
you adopt rescue pets, you are not making the problem of pet
overpopulation worse like you would be if you bought pets while so many
are put to death due to not finding homes.
who are around pets such as cats and dogs in the first year of their
lives are far less at risk of developing allergies to pets – save a
rescue pets life & improve your child’s life at the same time.
are further health benefits to owning a dog: Owners generally get more
exercise due to dog walking, and petting dogs is therapeutic. Doctors
are known to recommend activity and interaction with dogs as a form of
treatment. Therefore, by adopting a dog, you may not only be saving the
dog’s life, but also your own!
- Burglars are deterred by adopted dogs just as much as any other dog.
All kinds of animals, such as sheep, cows, ex-battery farmed hens,
donkeys, horses and reptiles can be adopted from rescue sanctuaries if
they take in that kind of animal. Any animal that can be bought, can
Below: The picture on the left shows a rescued cow at The
Gentle Barn in Southern California getting a kiss from Tiffany. On the
right is Wendy, from Hertfordshire, with one of her lucky battery hens
she rescued. She says of them “I love these little girls so much.”
Certain breeds, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the UK, and Pit
Bulls in the US, have become victims of being popular with
irresponsible, high risk owners.
The breeds are naturally the
most loving, gentle, affectionate and tolerant dogs. They are also known
to be very good with children.
The fact that these dogs are
also extremely loyal, keen to please their owners, and will even endure
large amount of pain to please them, is exploited by these people. They
will buy the dogs as puppies and often train them to be intimidating
status symbols and, sadly, victims of dog fighting.
The dogs become associated with the culture of anti-social behaviour in peoples’ minds, which makes people wary of them.
irresponsible owners commonly do not neuter their dogs, and breed them
in a selfish and thoughtless attempt to make money. This means potential
homes are taken away from abandoned animals in need of homes so there
are always a high number of innocent shelter dogs being put to death.
The media feed fear by reporting scare stories about these breeds,
leading people to believe that the breeds are bad, rather than people
being responsible for how they train their dog to behave.
It is not the
fault of the dogs that a certain section of society is attracted to
abusing and exploiting them in these ways.
It has been found
that the media choose not to report in a balanced way. For instance,
when dog breeds that are considered more “cute and cuddly” by the
public, have behaved in an aggressive and violent way, they are not
interested in reporting it, but when it involves a Staffordshire Bull
Terrier or Pit Bull, there are.
This sadly sets people against these
breeds, and when people want to adopt rescue pets, they often avoid
these breeds as a result.
Below: A “cute and cuddly” Pomeranian dog, like the one shown
above, attacked and killed a young baby in Los Angeles. It was not as
widely reported as it would have been if it had been a Pit Bull type dog
In the UK shelters are inundated with Staffordshire Bull Terrier type
dogs – the RSPCA state that around 80% of dogs in their care are
Staffies or Staffie crosses. In the US, they experience the a similar
problem with Pit Bull Terriers.
By far, the vast majority of
people who adopt pet Staffies or Pit Bulls, find them to be extremely
affectionate, loving, tolerant breeds. To learn more about Stafford Bull
Terriers, Pit Bull Terriers and other breeds less popular with
adopters, see the So Called Dangerous Dogs And Overlooked Shelter Pets page.
many Pit Bull puppies are originally bought by high risk, irresponsible
owners, it is estimated that only 1 in 600 of these dogs finds a
permanent, loving home.
This means that the other 599 live all, or part,
of their lives in rescue shelters, being abused, or on the streets
where they eventually succumb to injury, disease, cruelty or starvation.
you would like to consider adopting rescue pets, please consider
adopting one of these affectionate, loving, soft breeds. They are at
shelters through no fault of their own, and are so often the breeds put
to death first.
Below: Buster getting hugs from children in his family. His
owner says of him and their other Staffie dog, Sasha, adopted from
Scottish Staffie Rescue, “Love them! Great nature, great with the kids
and both mine are friendly with other dogs.” Staffordshire Bull Terriers
are well known to be good with children.
Pit Bulls have been outlawed in the UK, tragically becoming victims of
Breed specific legislation. This was a result of certain elements of
society training naturally gentle and affectionate pit bulls to behave
aggressively, which led to a small number of attacks on people.
Pitbulls and Staffies are also associated with dog fighting, which is incredibly cruel.
“It has nothing to do with the size or breed. It has to do with who is behind the dog.”-Cesar Milan.
Below: Campaign sign against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL).
Older cats are often overlooked, as people tend to prefer to adopt
kittens. The same goes for older dogs and older rescue pets in general.
There are advantages to adopting rescue pets that are older.
usually a lot calmer than younger pets, and a lot less work to look
after. For instance, if you are an older person, you may be better
suited to adopting an older, calmer dog.
If you do adopt a rescue pet,
please consider the wonderful overlooked animals.
Did you know?
Dark coloured dogs, especially black dogs, tend to be left in shelters
longer than light coloured dogs and more are put to death, especially if
There chances of being put to death first are further increased
if they are old or have any special needs.
Below: Black dog syndrome – dark coloured, larger dogs are
less often adopted, meaning they are more often put to death. If
adopting rescue pets, please consider these overlooked dogs.
In the UK, rescue pets at shelters or pounds that do destroy animals, who have
run out of time (seven days) to be claimed by their owner or re-homed, are normally
given a fatal injection of sodium pentobarbital by a vet.
usually taken to the veterinary surgery for this, even if they are known
to be terrified of the place. It would be kinder to have the vet come
out to them, so they are not in a place that causes them to feel terror
in their last moments, but they are taken to the vets surgery because it
costs less that way.
In the US, different states can use
different cruel methods such as gas chambers the heart stick method. In
Mexico electrocution can be used, and in some countries officials
actively encourage citizens to beat homeless animals to death.
details about the way animals are euthanised and how their population is
controlled in inhumane ways in different places can be found on the Cruel Animal Overpopulation Controls page.
The worst thing you can do is BUY a puppy from a pet shop or breeder who
breeds for profit. Buying a puppy makes the problem worse by
encouraging people and cruel puppy Mills
to breed more puppies for money.
Millions of shelter dogs are put to
death while millions of newly bred puppies are bought instead. Many of
these puppies also end up as rescue pets in shelters.
actually better to not have any dog at all than make matters worse by
encouraging more breeding by buying a puppy. Pet shop puppies usually
come from cruel puppy farms.
If fewer puppies are bought, then fewer will be bred to meet the
If they can’t sell them, they won’t breed them and there will be
less unwanted dogs to put to death.
Below: As shown above left, the starving of dogs used for
breeding is common in puppy farms, which supply the majority of pet
shops. Above right is a breeding dog with untreated mange that has been
rescued from a puppy mill. Dogs do not get veterinary treatment at puppy farms, let alone any affection. Their medical conditions are left to get worse, suffering terribly until they die.
Below: Please adopt rescue pets instead of buying from pet shops, as pet shops are supplied by puppy farms.
Puppy farm dogs used for breeding never see a vet. They have rotten
teeth, eye infections, mange, and are malnourished. These infections
would have been left to get worse if the dogs had not been rescued.
There are so many more dogs not lucky enough to be rescued.
There Is Nothing As Rewarding As Saving A Rescue Pet’s Life
Dogs from puppy mills often come with many health and behavioural
problems in store. By purchasing a puppy mill puppy, people are
supporting and funding a very cruel and abusive industry.
Your pet shop
may also claim the puppy is one breed, but it will turn out to be
another, or a mixture, once it grows up (this can also happen with
Businesses who sell puppies supplied by puppy mills are very
unlikely to admit they are from a puppy farms, as this reveals them as not caring about animals welfare and only being in it for profit.
animal lovers know that buying a cute puppy is no substitute for having
saved the life of an innocent rescue dog. Plus, they don’t stay cute
puppies for long. Please adopt rescue pets.
Know you have saved the life
of an innocent animal – not taken it’s chance of life away instead.
Many people say they did not adopt rescue pets because they wished to
mould newly bred puppies or kittens in to what they wanted. Most people
who have experienced raising puppies or kittens know that is not
Rescues re-home many puppies, young dogs, kittens,
young cats and other young animals. Some of these are purebred. This
means that if someone is determined to have a baby / young pet, they can
still have this AND save a life by adopting a rescue pet.
This is so
much better than buying, which takes the chance of a home away from an
innocent shelter animal and signs it’s death warrant, as well as also
encouraging greedy breeding for money, which will cause many more
innocent animals to be put to death.
To find puppies, dogs, kittens and cats that need adopted in the UK and US in your area, have a look at the Find A Pet To Adopt, Foster Or Sponsor page.
find themselves with a huge number of dogs only a few months old, after
people have bought them, then found that they are unruly and take too
much hard work and time to train.
Many of these puppies are included in
the millions put to death every year because too many people continue
the cycle by buying puppies instead of adopting rescue pets.
perfectly adoptable kittens and cats are also put to death each year
across the US and UK alone.
Below: Puppies and kittens are commonly found at shelters.
Many puppies are bought without the owner realising how much time and
work is needed to train a puppy. As a result, many puppies end up in
shelters when they are just a few months old.
Some people are concerned at not knowing the background of rescue pets,
especially shelter dogs, and worry that how the dog was brought up may
affect it’s behaviour.
Firstly, not all dogs arrive at shelters as
strays. In some instances, owners give dogs up due to changes and
problems in their personal circumstances. The dogs background can
sometimes be known as a result. Secondly, most re-homing centres assess
each dog thoroughly before considering re-homing it.
Shelters can also
match dogs to prospective owner’s requirements.
In addition, people say that they wanted a specific breed and that
shelters ‘wouldn’t have that breed’. In fact, around one quarter to one
third of all shelter dogs are purebred.
If you can’t find the rescue pet you want in your nearest shelter, go to the Find A Pet To Adopt Foster Or Sponsor page to find the pet that is perfect for you.
often travel miles to find a breeder, so it makes sense to be willing
to travel to save an innocent life of a specific breed.
Below: This Cocker-Spaniel Puppy was abandoned in a bin a long with rubbish. He is just one of many purebred dogs found in shelters.
If you would like to know about the questions you may be asked before
being able to adopt rescue pets, and about any costs involved as well as
home checks, please go to the Adopting A Dog, Cat Or Other Animal In Need page.
To and rescue find links to animal shelter websites showing animals available for adoption, go to the Find A Pet To Adopt, Foster Or Sponsor page.
If you cannot adopt, you may be interested in fostering or sponsoring animals instead.
fostering animals in need – until they go to permanent homes or back to
the wild – saves innocent lives. Millions of unwanted pets are put to
death every year due to there not being enough rescue places. You can
help reduce that number of senseless deaths by fostering.
are some animals at ‘no kill’ animal sanctuaries and re-homing centres
who do not find homes. By sponsoring or distance adopting one of these
animals, you are helping to secure that animals future with the
For more details about fostering and sponsoring animals, see the Animal Fostering And Sponsoring page.
UK quarantine laws have finally come in to line with the EU Pet Movement
Scheme, which has been running successfully for nearly a decade. It
means that it takes just 21 days for your pet to move from one EU
country to another and be reunited with you. This also applies to a list
of non EU countries such as Australia and the US.
Non EU countries not included on this list require a three month wait, which has also has time taken off it.
These reductions in quarantine times are more humane and they also make adopting from abroad easier.
Countries – many within the EU – use extremely cruel methods to “control” their stray animal populations. Please see the Cruel Animal Overpopulation Controls
page for details. It is therefore helpful for rescue organisations that
they are able to re-home the animals they manage to save to homes in
other countries using the much more humane quarantine – and inexpensive –
time of 21 days.
If you feel you may like to foster sponsor or adopt an animal, you can
find animals currently available throughout the UK on the Find A Pet To Adopt, Foster Or Sponsor page.