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Do you know the difference between a pound/animal shelter/animal control facility and a rescue/humane society?

Your local pound/animal control facility is part of your local government and is funded by your taxpayer dollars.  They are holding facilities for animals picked up by Animal Control Officers as strays and they must (by VA state law) accept animals surrendered by owners.  If someone calls Animal Control to pick up an animal wandering on their property or in their neighborhood ... even if they call because they are afraid the animal will be hit by a car or will starve left on its own ... the animal goes into the Animal Control facility ... the pound.

Pounds/animal control facilities are often high-kill facilities because, by law, they must have space open for officers to bring in strays or animals that must be held as part of a court proceeding.  They cannot refuse animals so if they are full, some must be killed to make room for more.  This is not a choice.  This is the law.

Each year, nationwide 2 to 3 million dogs are dropped off by their owners at high-kill pounds, and of those, 60% are needlessly killed simply because there are not enough homes. Sadly, most of these dogs are healthy, good-natured and perfectly adoptable.  About 25% of these dogs are purebred.  Some local animal control facilities/pounds will make adoptable pets available for adoption but they are not primarily adoption centers.  Some animal control facilities kill animals as soon as their legal holding time has expired. They are doing the job they were created to do … they are holding lost and surrendered pets for a specified time to give them an opportunity to be reclaimed by their owner.  By law, surrendered animals do not have to be held at all because their owners sign over their custody to the locality at the time of surrender.. 

Your local animal rescues and humane societies that state that they are 'no-kill' organizations do not kill healthy, adoptable animals, but they also cannot take in every animal in need.  These groups take in animals from the area pounds in order to save their lives, but if there is not a foster home available or other space available within the organization, they simply cannot take them. These groups are mostly or all-volunteer and are supported only by donations.

One of the most rewarding aspects of adopting a pound or rescue pet is the simple fact that you are saving a life and giving a deserving animal a new home. It feels great to help an animal in need, and after living in a shelter your new dog will really appreciate of the wonderful life you’re going to give him.

When you adopt, your commitment is just beginning. 

The first and most important thing you must do is have your new pet spayed or neutered.  Rescue groups frequently have the surgeries done prior to adoption and this is included in the adoption donation you make to the rescue when you adopt.  As part of their adoption process, our local Animal Control facility, Bedford County Animal Shelter, provides a voucher for adopters to take to their vet or spay/neuter clinic to offset all or part of the cost of the surgery.  THE RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THROUGH AND HAVE THE SURGERY DONE NOW BELONGS TO THE ADOPTER.

So – how can we stop the cycle of animals being abandoned to die? 

#1: Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce/limit the numbers of animals needing homes. 

#2: Become more responsible pet owners and make a lifetime commitment to family pets. 

#3: Support your local animal pounds and rescue groups.  Become a foster family, volunteer to help with fundraising, volunteer to help at adoption events.  The possibilities are endless and the more volunteers that are willing to help, the less each one has to do.  TEAMWORK!

#4: Encourage your municipal leaders to work toward making the Animal Control facility a no-kill facility.  This is a movement that is gaining momentum all across the United States.  There are a lot of interesting things that are do-able almost everywhere ... but it isn't a 'one-size-fits-all' solution.

You can learn more about this at the No-Kill Advocacy Center:  http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/

You can also do an online search for No Kill Nation and you will find information on No Kill Shelters in many states.

Please commit to being part of the solution.



One goal of AAMR is to change the status of many animals from ‘homeless’ to ‘adopted’ (aka Lucky Dog).  

The number of animals that can be rescued is directly limited by the number of foster homes available.

Foster homes are the backbone of rescue and the lifelines for homeless animals that are out of time everywhere else.  Foster families provide a bridge - a way to get animals from high-kill pounds or unsafe living conditions to the new 'forever' home that awaits them. 

Foster families are caring people who open their homes and hearts to one or more homeless animals for a short time.  Foster periods vary depending on the age and needs of the animal(s), and can range from a few weeks to a few months.  You choose what you are willing to foster – only dogs, only kitties, no puppies, only adult dogs under 40 lbs, only cat-friendly dogs, quiet dogs, low-energy dogs, senior pets … flexibility!

AAMR often takes in animals in need of extra care and attention, such as pregnant dogs, orphaned puppies from newborns to 6 weeks old, senior pets, and animals recovering from illnesses or injuries. Foster families provide the extra TLC these animals require until they are ready for adoption.

The need for foster homes is always great. Any help you provide is critical to animals needing that chance to survive.  Fostering rescue animals requires extra time and commitment, but is very rewarding!  You can be responsible for more "YIPPEES" in the lives of some great animals in need by fostering them!

Go to the Forms/Applications page on our website and complete our Volunteer Application and/or our Foster Application.