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Want to Start a Shelter

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is mostly for Rene and for those who operate animal shelters. I watch an animal channel on TV and realize there are many animal shelters. Here in Utah, there is the Humane Society and the city shelters. I honestly don't like the shelters because they have dogs and cats for about five to seven days before they are put to sleep. The Humane Society is a little better. And there is this Animal Sanctuary, a no kill shelter. I never been there. But I would like to operate a no-kill shelter of my own. What I would do is rescue unwanted cats and dogs, have them fixed, get their vaccinations, and clean. I plan on training the dogs so that they can find good homes. Rene, do you only rescue cats or do yo bring in dogs too. I love cats, but I also love dogs. I plan on getting four(two purebreds and two mixed breeds.)when I get a house. I want to take in both purebreds and mixed breeds. I've been to the shelters and most of the mixed breeds are there. Any dog; whether it be a rottweiler, german shephard, golden retriever, or mixed, can be a great companion if we train them. Dogs are like children. If they are not taught the bad from the good then, we have a problem. An mixed breeds can be trained to be service dogs and other things. I think that if I were to go into a shelter right now and see a good dog, even if its not trained, I would adopt it. But other people don't think that way. They think an untrained dog is no good. So, Rene, how do you get started on opening a resuce shelter?
post #2 of 11
Rene has asked me to let you and everyone know that she will be offline for a few days. She is feeling awful and has just been diagnosed with Lyme's disease. She will answer all your questions when she is feeling a bit better.
post #3 of 11
When Sandie called me tonight and told me about this post I decided to drag myself over to the computer and start to answer you. First, you must have a network of helpers (Yes I do dogs and cats). You cannot do it alone. Your mate in life must also be interested in what you do or it will be too hard on your relationship. So start with a core network of people.

Then you need to go to your Secretary of State and become a not for profit corporation - this is generally easy to do - but remember, that is only the first step. In order to be a bonafide rescue you must be a 501(c)3 charitable organization - otherwise people cannot take their donations to you off their taxes, nor can you do fundraisers like Yankee Candle, etc. So you have to go on the IRS website and fill out the twenty pages of paperwork, write up your bylaws and do all that corp stuff.

I, as the President Of Helping Paws know my strong points and my weak points. I am great at placing cats and raising money. I write a newspaper column, have a monthly radio talk show and a public access television show -we have therapy cats and do pet expos and get our faces everywhere we can. Then I have Donna - she is our media "Diva" who writes our newsletter and gets us publicity for our fundraisers. Michele is my dog person - she fosters my puppies and I have four other homes who foster dogs. We only take dogs from the pounds the week they are to be euthanized - no personal surrenders - we wrote our bylaws like that so we are truly rescuing.

Then we have other helpers like Ken and Sandie who don't foster but will work at fundraisers and raising the public's awareness. I have the fostering of the cats. My sister organization CATALES, does the ferals - I have never personally trapped a cat.

Now we have 43 acres to develop into a sanctuary - very hard work, one step at a time -

This is the beginning of my post to you - I am feeling awful and need to get back to bed - hope I have started you thinking in many directions because that is what you need to do if you are going to be successful.

Good luck.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help, Rene. I hope you get well. And to Donna and Michele. I want to start a rescue shelter for rottweilers, pitbulls, and other mistreated dogs. It is very sad when I tell people that I like rotties and they look at me as though I've gone nuts. Because rotties and pitbulls have bad rep. I've known alot of rotties at the shelter and found out they are friendly. Same goes for the pitbulls. Yes, they are protective of their properties. And they can be unpredictable. But most dogs can be if not trained properly. Most of these dogs are not spayed or neutered because people breed them for guarding and fighting. I believe if they are neutered and trained, they can become easier to handle and good companions. I am trying to secure a job at the humane society. A part time care taker. Then when I finish school, get a full time career there. I can learn alot of things there. I visit the place quite often and spent time with the dogs and cats there. It saddens me when I see the reasons they were given up. No time, moving, misbehaves, etc. I personally will not move somewhere until I can be sure that I can take my pets along with me. Wish me luck on getting the job.

post #5 of 11
I gave up going non-profit because I could not find enough people interested enough to be a board member. They will not recognize only one persons desire to rescue animals. You can find another non-profit organization and with their permission form a ridership and latch on to them until you can get yours off the ground. Perhaps, you can go to a local animal shelter and volunteer to train their dogs for adoption? Perhaps when they see how determined you are, they will help you get started on your own operation. Good luck!
post #6 of 11

I have been volunteering with Rene for almost two years. I actually got into it because I was feeling very depressed and needed to do something. Fostering puppies and dogs is the greatest thing in the world. When I come home to my foster pups I feel like GOD. They are so happy to see me and it gives me the best feeling in the world to know I helped save their lives.

As for Rottis, Dobermans and PitBulls. I have had two Rottis, Tyson and Casey. They were the nicest dogs in the world. They were the biggest mushes in the world. I had one Doberman, Nathan, he came to me from the pound at 10 weeks old with a broken foot. I am not sure how it happen but I know if I accidently broke my puppies foot I would not drop it off at the pound I would bring it to the vet. I have had many Pit Bull crosses. They have all been fantastic. I have to tell you about one in particular. He name is A.J. Our local pound called Rene and told her she has a pit bull that is due to be put down but he was just too nice. Well A.J. was severly beaten, and actually burned. He still has the scars on his back where his hair did not grow back. When I first met A.J. he came to me with his tail between his legs and his head to the ground. Well I gave this dog so much love that we became quite attached. I think I was the first person to ever be nice to him. Needless to say, A.J. is now my dog. I could not give him up. He is the most loyal boy in the world. He makes me feel so loved. We adore each other.

Fostering puppies is sometimes hard too. Well it is hard to give them up. I cry everytime one gets a home but I keep telling myself that I am doing the right thing. I have fostered over 200 dogs and puppies and it's a lot of work but well worth it. I get paid many times over with love and kisses and I know sometimes I complain about picking up poop but I wouldn't trade what I am doing for anything.

Sorry for such a long post. I do hope you get the job.

Best of luck with everything.

post #7 of 11
Michele is the best foster home for dogs and puppies in the world! It's true. Hissy, My husband and I became a non profit with just the two of us, one of my daughters and Michele on the board - I am President and Treasurer. We had no problem. We were non profit for a year while we found some people willing to give their talents, rather than their time for the animals. For instance, my attorney does my legal work for free for Helping Paws, he is a board member - the person who donated my internet site is a board member - two cat show judges from different cat registries and breeders are board members - a dog trainer, I got a newspaper interested in giving me a free picture a week and she is now a board member. We meet once a year, which is not much time to ask someone (by Connecticut law you must have a yearly meeting and the minutes go into the Secretary of State's office). My immediate volunteers and I and other organizations have meetings every three months or so to kick around ideas for fundraisers, etc. I never even considered going under someone else's umbrella - you can do it on your own, although it may take a little longer.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I also love rotties, pitbulls, and pinchers. I have decided to work with them and also spread the word that there is no such thing as a a bad dog. No dog is a bad dog. It is just that they fall into bad hands. I seriously think that any dog can be trained to be good. The key to a good dog is time and patience. I haven't gotten the job at Humane Society. But I have decided to work in another place until I finish schooling. And I will keep trying to get a job there or were I can be in direct contact with dogs and cats.
post #9 of 11

You are so right. It is people who make the dogs mean and "bad". Good luck in finding a good working with animals. I think you would do a great job. You seen like a very caring and kind person.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Gee, I didn't know it is so hard to get a job working with animals. It is easier to volunteer. But right now, I am unemployed and just going to school. I need to be looking for part time paid work and then when I finish school and find a full time job, then I can do volunteer. I can foster animals as soon as I buy a house. I didn't realize that working with animals is competative. The Humane society is not hiring right now. I would like to GET experience working with them, but it looks like I have to find an alternative job such as working in a grocery store or a restaurant. Do you guys have any ideas for me?
I like to mention that I have a learning disability with math and problem solving. So I can't do cashering because it is very hard for me. But I would really like to start working because then I can get money saved up. it is kind of depressing not getting the job I want. I like working with people and animals.
post #11 of 11
Have you thought of applying for a job at a vet's office as a vet tech or a kennel person? This is a great start and it will give you great experience with working with animals and spotting simple illnesses that will save you a great deal of money when you do open your own shelter. I am the managing director of a place called the House of Mews. We have been open for 6 years now and have about 2400 sf. We only do cats but it is such a rewarding thing. It will also give you a good relationship with a vet so when you do go non-profit, the vet you are working for will possibly help you order simple antibiotics and possibly give you pro-bono work. We have a couple of local vets that work with us by giving us half price vet services. You can also go to the local pound and ask for a rate to help with spay/neuters so that you don't have to go to the vet's and spend so much. Our shelter does our spay/neuter for $10 and then if there is an illness, we use the vet for diagnosis. Also, there is a great packet you can download or print out at Bestfriends.com. Since you are Utah, you might consider visiting them. They also have workshops that cost very little to help you start your own shelter. It is around $600 to apply for non profit status through a lawyer but several of them offered to do it for free for us once we showed them our mission. We started our shelter on less than $5000. It can happen if you want it to. You just have to give yourself time and really sit down and figure out what you want to accomplish. It is also very important to at least get a network of people willing to help. Our website is www.houseofmews.com if you'd like to visit. Also, when we first started, we ordered a packet from the Humane Society about starting a shelter. You kind of have to find a nitch that is needed in your community to set yourself apart from the other ones. This will explain how/why to open a shelter and when not to. Hope I have been of some help. Please let me know if you have any questions.
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