What Are the Different Types of Rescue Shelters?

rescue dog and volunteer

Rescue shelters are a great way to find dogs or cats in need of rehoming and will often cost less than purchasing a pet from a pet store or professional breeder. Rescue shelters are usually non-profit organizations run by volunteers or a small staff of paid employees, which rely on adoption fees and donations to fund their charity. They differ from municipal or city shelters, which are taxpayer funded and employ dog catchers to catch stray dogs. When looking at a rescue shelter to adopt from, there are 3 main types they could be.

Open Admission Animal Shelter

Also known as a Full-Service Animal Shelter, these shelters will accept any animal that is brought to them. They can be, but are not always, contracted by a municipality to accept stray dogs if the municipality doesn’t have a commercial kennel or runs out of space. If so, they are partially funded this way. Because these shelters accept any animal, they do receive  ill, aggressive, or otherwise unadoptable animals, which may unfortunately have to be euthanized. Most open admission shelters do strive for a low kill rate, however. If you are a little uneasy with adopting from an open admission shelter, visit them in person. Most treat their adoptable animals very well.

Limited Admission Animal Shelter

Also known as No-Kill Animal Shelters, these shelters are selective with which dogs and cats they’ll accept. They do not accept animals which are considered unadoptable and as such, will keep pets indefinitely until they are adopted. Just because a shelter does not euthanize animals does not necessarily mean they take good care of them, but most will. Again, you’ll want to visit the shelter in person to ensure you’re adopting from an ethical rescue shelter.

Animal Foster Home

Foster homes are private residences where volunteers will temporarily house dogs and/or cats in their home or in a residential kennel. The foster parent could receive these animals from a shelter that’s at capacity or from an animal rescue organization. They are not compensated for taking care of the animals but do receive food, medicine, and veterinary care from the shelter or rescue organization who gave them the animal. As with all shelters, visit an animal foster home before adopting from them to ensure you’re supporting an ethical foster home.

ASPCA and HSUS – Not a Shelter

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are national organizations that many people believe are rescue shelters but they, in fact, are not. The ASPCA and HSUS are considered rescue organizations but do not actually shelter animals themselves. They will send rescued pets to rescue shelters and foster homes across the country. Some shelters may be labeled as an SPCA or Humane Society, but are actually separate entities. If you’d like to support the rescuing of animals from bad situations, donate to the ASPCA or HSUS. If you’d like to support the care of animals after being rescued, donate to your local rescue shelter instead.

commercial kennel

Starting Your Own Animal Rescue Shelter or Foster Home

If you’re interested in starting your own animal rescue shelter or foster home, you must first acquire all the necessary licenses and permits. You’ll also want to register your organization as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so that donations can be tax deductible. Lastly, you’ll need a commercial kennel before you start accepting animals. That’s where Trailside Structures comes in. We build durable commercial and residential kennels with plenty of options for shelters, K-9 units, boarding, and personal use. Contact us today to learn more or simply request a quote.