Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who's Who in Animal Rescue

By Barbara McGrady
Society for the Protection of Animals (
S.P.A. Ohio)

There are hundreds of humane societies across the U.S. and they have no connection with each other. Some are no kill organizations, some aren't. Some are non-profit, 501(c)3 organizations, others are not. Some humane societies are actually part of their county's paid employees, but most humane societies are locally formed, independent organizations. Each organization sets up its own rules and guidelines.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that local humane societies are branches of the Humane Society of the United States. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

There is an SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International) and an ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). There is not a national SPCA organization, although there are lots of independent local SPCA's across the U.S.

Jennifer McKim, an SPCA International representative, clarifies by stating, "Every SPCA throughout the world is individually operated and not associated with one another. Although we share a common name, there is not an organization that oversees all SPCA’s. Each one of us have our own programs that focus to help animals on a different level. SPCA International is one of the only organizations that help shelters and animals worldwide."

In other words, local SPCA's have nothing to do with SPCA International or with each other. They were all independently formed. Some are kill, some are no kill. They have local board members with individual ideas and concepts concerning animal rescue. They may have eight members, or eight hundred members.

When moving to a new location don't assume that just because the humane society in the city from which you're moving was a wonderful facility that the humane society (or any other rescue organization) in the city you are moving to will be the same.

Not one SPCA in the United States is above any other SPCA regardless of what their name might imply. For instance, NEVADA SPCA is not in charge of other SPCA's in Nevada. Rather, they simply selected Nevada SPCA for their name.

Don't be afraid to ask animal rescue organizations specific questions about their shelter's policies, and if, in fact, they even have a shelter. It is becoming more and more common for groups to house animals in foster homes until adopted.

The bottom line is this... there are incredible rescues and there are rescues that should not be allowed to advertise as such. You can visit a specific organization's web page and think that you are sending an animal to the best place this side of heaven when in reality the animal might be chained to a dog house and forced to live in filth.

When you donate to a rescue organization make certain that their ethics are agreeable with yours.

Never assume. Always investigate. Ask questions.

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