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What type of shelter is Worcester Animal Rescue League?|
WARL is considered to be a no-kill shelter because itís not a kill shelter. Thatís not meant to be a play on words.
A no-kill shelter is a difficult term to define (look it up) and an even more difficult policy to implement. Rather than add to the confusing definitions, weíll tell you about Worcester Animal Rescue League.
WARL is a limited-intake shelter with 96 dog and 41 cat kennels. We can only take in animals when a kennel is available.
Worcester Animal Rescue League is not ...|
... A kill shelter Ė WARL does not place a time or space limit on adoptable pets.
... An open-admission shelter that takes in any animal. The reality of that policy is when a shelter is full, an animal has to leave for a new one to come in. Worcester Animal Rescue League will not euthanize an animal to make room for a new arrival.
... A sanctuary where un-adoptable animals can live out their lives. Thatís a noble goal requiring an enormous amount of money and space.
In 2009 Worcester Animal Rescue League placed 94% of its animals.|
In 2008, the figure was 80%. Although we are proud that we place more animals every year, we never forget that statistics are actual animals.
What happened to the remaining 6% in 2009?|
Sadly, in some cases, there were no other alternatives except euthanasia. As a pound facility, critically ill and injured animals were brought to WARL to end their suffering as quickly as possible.
Severely aggressive pets were brought to WARL because they were deemed a danger to society. They could not be rehabilitated or transferred to a facility where an attempt could be made to rehabilitate them.
Some animals required extensive and expensive medical treatment that WARL could not afford, and all attempts to find an alternate source to fund the treatment failed.
Other animals could not cope with living in a shelter, and no other facility or rescue group could be found to take them. Although WARL utilizes pet enrichment tools Ė such as walking dogs in the field or letting them romp in kennel runs; letting cats play in the communal tree house or be alone in the visiting room or one of the offices; and giving all the animals lots of toys and affection Ė a small number of pets can never adjust to living in a shelter.
How can you help WARL place 99% of its pets?|
We wonít mislead you by stating we can place 100% of the animals at Worcester Animal Rescue League. Even in an ideal no-kill shelter or sanctuary there will be occasions when euthanasia is the humane resolution for an animal. However WARL staff continuously seeks new resources to increase the number of animals we can save.
Worcester Animal Rescue League does not receive government funding. The shelter runs on public donations. It is
a struggle to meet daily expenses. The monthly electric bill is more than what most families pay per
year. Often the shelter runs out of basic supplies like kitty litter, paper towels, detergent, etc. We post emergency requests
for food, litter, blankets, etc. on our website and the signs beside our driveway. WARL always needs financial
help. Itís heartbreaking for staff when there isnít enough money to buy medications or pay for emergency surgery for a pet.
Beyond immediate needs, WARL has long-range dreams. The shelterís floor plan is not cat friendly. Cats are in the
front of the building, dogs in the rear. Throughout the day, dogs are walked by cats. Weíre doing all we can afford
to alleviate the catsí stress. Ultimately we want to renovate our shelter or even better, build a new one that
enriches our animalsí lives so that they can remain contentedly at the shelter until adopted.
Worcester Animal Rescue League cannot function without volunteers. We rely deeply on their help to operate the
shelter 365 days a year. Volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to caring for animals, cleaning
the shelter, laundry, administrative tasks, event assistance, running errands, transporting pets to and from
other shelters, and spreading the good word about WARL. We canít thank our volunteers enough for all they do.
Presently WARL has over 75 foster homes; we want that number to grow. Foster homes allow WARL to take more animals
into the shelter while providing home care for animals with special needs. The majority of pets placed in foster
homes are mother cats and/or kittens that need extra care until theyíre mature and healthy enough for adoption.
Some pets need a foster home to recover from surgeries such as for a broken leg, or for behavior training like for a
pet that is very timid or too exuberant. We also have instituted a small, long-term foster program for pet owners
who need a temporary home for their pets while they deal with a crisis.
If you would like to become a foster parent, download the Foster Parent Application form, fill it out then mail it to the shelter, fax it to 508-852-1868 or email it to email@example.com (for cats) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) for Feral Cats|
Feral cats are not abandoned pet cats. Feral cats are the offspring of lost or abandoned pet cats or other feral
cats; they donít typically want to interact with people. Feral cats do not belong in shelters. Itís traumatizing
for them and often dangerous for staff. Like many shelters still do, WARL used to euthanize feral cats brought to
the shelter. Our policy changed because of the success of TNR programs. Feral cats are trapped, spayed/neutered,
then returned to the area they came from to resume their outdoor lives with a human caretaker providing food
and shelter. Check out TNR online if you are interested in helping this program.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner|
Spay or neuter your pets. Even if every man, woman and child in America adopted several dozen animals there would
still be pet over-population. The only way to combat the over-population problem is to prevent the animals from
being born. On average, a cat can give birth to a litter of kittens 3 times a year. In 7 short years, this one cat
could produce over 100 kittens, which go on to have their own hundreds of kittens. Spay or neuter your pet or
animals will continue to be euthanized in shelters because there arenít enough people to adopt them.
Take your pets to a veterinarian regularly. Owning a pet can be costly. Thatís why WARL offers low-cost
spay/neuter and vaccine clinics. But donít let ear mites, skin and dental conditions and other medical issues
go untreated; it causes unnecessary pain for your pet and a lot of money for you. It is cheaper to maintain your
petís good health through diet and veterinary care than to wait until your pet develops a serious medical
condition from what was a minor condition. There are also many pet insurance programs; ask your veterinarian to recommend one.
Do not abandon your pet for any reason. Some owners choose to dump their pets rather than pay for
veterinary care. Abandoning an animal is irresponsible, cruel and illegal. Animal abandonment is a felony
in Massachusetts, punishable by up to a $2,500 fine and 5 years in prison. A domestic animal does not have the skills
to survive on its own. Even a domesticated bunny doesnít have the survival skills of a wild rabbit. A
domesticated animal dumped outside most likely will die of starvation, exposure or trauma. If an abandoned animal
is brought to WARL or any other shelter, there may not be enough money to treat its medical issues. If the
abandoned animal is old, it has even less chance of surviving being outdoors or in a shelter where its weakened immune system increases the petís risk of illness.
Adopt with an Open Mind|
Animals at WARL undergo behavioral evaluations, spay/neuter, vaccinations and medical exams before they are approved
for adoption. All are unique, wonderful animals just waiting for someone to give them a home. Still, there is
prejudice against shelter animals. Thereís nothing ďwrongĒ with a shelter pet except the human decisions that made
the animal homeless.
Within the shelter population, there are animals that suffer from additional prejudice.
Pit bulls arenít even recognized as a breed by all official dog associations. Itís a shame they canít sue for defamation of character. Pit bulls are essentially big mutts with goofy grins and wagging tails who love people. Donít walk by them without a second glance. Pit bulls are intelligent, loyal, playful dogs.
Adult black cats and black dogs are skipped over for more colorful animals. Special needs animals are bypassed for Ďperfectí pets. Donít let prejudices or pre-conceived ideas about an animal prevent your from noticing a wonderful, delightful pet that will give you love and joy.
Thatís Our Story|
Now you know a little bit about Worcester Animal Rescue League. Visit us to adopt and to learn how you can help us care for more animals for longer periods of time in an increasingly enriching shelter environment.