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Animal Shelters Offer Pet Adoptions

When adopting a pet, consider your local animal shelter. Animal shelters take in those that are abandoned, found wandering, or are without apparent owners and causing a nuisance. Shelters adopt animals, and some euthanize animals that aren't adopted or adoptable. Some animal shelters are no-kill shelters that don't routinely euthanize animals (unless, in some cases, the animals are ill or dangerous), but that also means they turn away many animals.

The shelters usually operate as city or county agencies and often are located in dedicated facilities where potential adopters can go to look at the animals. People who are searching for lost pets also go there in hopes that animal control has dropped off their pets at the facility.

Animal shelters often include the term "Humane Society" in their names, but human societies aren't officially affiliated with each other under any national umbrella. The Humane Society of the United States is a separate group generally advocating and lobbying for animal welfare issues.

A shelter is a great place to go if you want to adopt a pet, but you can't just walk into most shelters and walk out with a new pet. Shelter workers have seen up close what can happen when people buy or adopt pets on impulse. Those pets often end up right back at the shelter; therefore, many animal shelters have strict rules about adoption. Shelters usually have a multistep process for adopting a pet. They need certain information from you, and you also need to get certain information from the shelter. Not all shelters are the same; their procedures vary and so do the quality of the facilities and staff member knowledge.

Animal shelters come in two basic forms:

  • Animal control agencies run by local government designed to protect people from animals, take in strays, and manage animal issues and problems within the community.
  • Humane societies and other privately run shelters that are founded and managed by individuals who want to protect animals, advocate for animals, and find homes for animals that need them.

Both types of animal shelters generally do the same things: they take in animals without homes; arrange for adoptions; sometimes euthanize animals that cannot be adopted; and often rehabilitate animals to make them more adoptable by providing healthcare, spaying or neutering them, and working with them to socialize and train them. Not only do animal shelters provide a place to find pets that need new homes or look for your lost pet, but they also manage local animal-control issues.

Most of the animals at typical shelters are dogs and cats, but they often accept other small animals like ferrets, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and other exotic animals. These less common animals usually come to the shelter not as wandering strays, but rather because their previous owners bought them on a whim without first researching what was involved in caring for them. These animals suddenly are left without homes through no fault of their own.

You can find animal shelters for your location listed in the telephone book or online.

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