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Thinking about starting a shelter...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking about it for several years. Unfortunatly, I do not have the funds to start my own shelter OR the know how. I was really haoping for feedback from those who have started their own shelters or those who may have ideas for me.

My basic plan is to start a shelter for special needs animals. I live in the Tampa/Saint petersburg florida area and although there are many shelters, there are none for animals with special needs. The number of animals put down at the local animals services is mind blowing. In one year, over 40,000 animals are put down at the 2 animal services ALONE. This figure does not include the other local shelters...

I have a special place in my heart for those animals that have special needs. Their determination though their hardships is such an inspiration to me. I thought I would start off with mostly cats and small dogs since large dogs require much more, care wise. I thought I could work up to that. I was also thinking about naming it "Neville's house of hope" after my cat who started it all. Neville has osteogenesis imperfecta. Also known as brittle bone disease. He fights for every day he has. If I hadn't have taken him, he would have been put down LONG ago.

I have worked for a shelter but I do not know the business side of it. I do know how to care for special needs animals. (I have quite a few...)

Getting side tracked... My point being.. anyone with ANY advice, PLEASE HELP ME GET THIS IDEA OFF THE GROUND! I don't have much, if any money, to start this on my own... My money is invested in all of my own special needs babies...

THANKS for taking the time to read my post!!!!!
post #2 of 6
that'd be sweet! If I ever win the lottery, I want to start a rescue for the misunderstood dog breeds like pit bulls, rotties, german shepherds, etc..
I have a soft spot for bully breeds especially pit bulls and rotties and gsds.

anyways.. I am not sure how you would get started. why not do a fundraiser or something? I also have a soft spot for special needs animals. until you can build your own shelter.. why not find a rescue group / shelter to foster for that have special needs animals?
post #3 of 6
Aww~bless your heart!! That would be so sweet. I have always always always wanted to open a shelter/safe haven. Theres such a need for them. I would love to do it, someday......maybe if I ever win the lottery

An yways, best of luck to you!! I really hope you can get one up and running!!
post #4 of 6
A wonderful idea! I guess most of us here have probably toyed with fostering/starting a shelter of some degree, I certainly have!

I agree, fundraising would be a good way to start. Fundraising is not as difficult as it seems, you just need to be organized. You can solicit donations and you can also raise money through purchase fundraising (ie: buying candybars or something like that). I'm sure there are local businesses that have fundraising information for how you can sell their product to help your cause.

Then you need a suitable location. Do you have land? I adopted Maverick from a local group that fosters cats and dogs until they find a good home. Since they did not have land, they use the homes of the many volunteers to foster the animals until a great loving home is found. (This may be a good option for you too if you don't have land).

Good luck and sending you best wishes on a successful endeavor from Pennsylvania!!
post #5 of 6
You'll probably start as a network of foster homes. You'll want to develop a really good relationship with vets...you're going to need a lot of emergency care and a lot of trips. Make sure you can get everyone spayed. neutered and vaccinated in addition to caring for their special needs.

You'll want to work on being recognized as a 501(c)(3) no-pro. This will help both you and your donors. Try to get some volunteers with expereince in no-pro development and grant-writing. Of course, those things will likely take a few years. You definitely need to get other people and homes on board. When you have either a) raised enough money to buy a facility or b) have a facility donated to you, you'll then work on licensing.

We just had a big thread on Fundraising Ideas. Try some of those and start researching some SN's you'd be comfortable with caring for. This is something very close to my heart because the rescue I work for specializes in rehabilitating and socializing sick and injured strays...typically somewhere between 50-80% of our kitties have a special medical or social need at some point...several have a chronic issue and are adopted by very special people. SN kitties don't get adopted very quickly...just to warn you. Your heart will break when you take about 40 calls a day and adopt 2-3 cats out a month. Usually, rescues like this turn into Santuaries rather than shelters. But it will all be worth it to see that kitty living comfortably with CHM or see a cat recover from cancer, etc.
post #6 of 6
I don't know anything to help you with, but I am sending you hugs and prayers from Mississippi that your dream becomes a reality.

I know you would be good at what you do because of your big heart.

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