Helping the homeless dog or cat you found

Thank you for contacting REDCOLLAR RESCUE.

We are an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3), non-profit animal welfare organization. We receive no governmental funding, and must have assistance from the public in the form of financial help, volunteering and fostering in order to help the homeless and abandoned animals. We do not have a kennel, nor any building or structure that we use to keep the animals we take in. We depend solely on volunteers and fosters.

We would like to thank you for your interest in wanting to save a homeless animal. Unfortunately, our organization—like so many other rescues—is currently filled well beyond capacity and funds. We receive at least 50 requests a day to take animals that have been found by a Good Samaritan. We want to help them all, but we have a duty to care for the huge number of pets already in our program. However, if you want to save the life of the animal you found, there are a few things you should know if you are considering taking the found dog/cat to a shelter.

Over 100,000 animals are killed in shelters in Harris County alone every year, as well as in neighboring counties such as Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, etc. There are zero "no-kill" shelters in Houston and the surrounding area. BARC, Harris County Animal Control (HCPHES), Montgomery County Animal Control, Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), Houston SPCA, the Houston Humane Society, etc. are all shelters that euthanize (kill) large numbers of animals every day. By law, the agencies are required to hold a stray dog or cat for 72 hours in case an owner comes for it…less than 1% are ever claimed. After 72 hours, the dog/cat belongs to them and most are killed at that time. If an owner turns in their own dog/cat, or if you have already had the stray for 72 hours, this holding rule does not apply and the animal can be killed immediately upon intake. Most of the time, it's due to space restrictions or lacking the resources to care for medical needs, so he/she would likely be put down right away. 90% of all animals that end up in a shelter will be killed.

Here is our recommendation for a positive outcome for you and the dog or cat you are trying to help:

  1. Take him/her to the vet immediately for wound care, vaccinations, microchip check, and a heart worm test. There are many very low cost clinics in the Houston area. If you cannot afford it, ask your friends and family to donate to help offset costs.
  2. Foster him/her at your home or your place of business or find someone who is willing to save the animal’s life by fostering until you can learn more about his/her behavior and demeanor, i.e. is he/she friendly? Does he/she like other dogs/cats? What about kids? Is he/she energetic? Laid back? Calm? Quiet? Active?
  3. Feed him/her the best food that money can buy. It will help him/her get stronger, gain weight, heal quicker, and improve skin and coat.
  4. Take good photos of him/her and network them extensively on Facebook, company bulletin boards, etc. There are many pages on FB that help people rehome pets - even lost/found pages help network found dogs that need a home, such as:
  5. Charge a re-homing fee. Even shelters charge a fee, knowing that paying a fee places more value and helps people take the responsibility more seriously.
  6. Never offer to give a dog/way for free. There are many dog-fighting rings in Houston and stray dogs or cats or often used as "bait" to help train the dogs to fight. People that participate in this activity will appear nice and offer to take the dog/cat for free, but this often ends in a horrible fate for the animal.
  7. Ask questions! Review the adoption applications of rescue groups to see what kind of information is relevant when re-homing a pet. Do the potential adopters have other pets? Do they know how to do proper pet introductions? Will the dog be banished to the backyard or will he/she be a family pet? Are you giving the dog to a home that will keep him/her on a heavy chain for the remainder of their life? Where will the pet stay during the day or when no one is home? Where will they sleep? Will the dog receive annual vaccines and be kept on monthly flea and heartworm preventive?

It's estimated there are between 800,000 and 1.2 million homeless animals roaming the streets of Houston, one of the highest rates in the nation. We all have to pitch in and lend our skills to their plight. Bringing a dog/cat to a "shelter" is not a gift you give them—and even though the shelter may have to accept the animal, you must know what will happen if you make that choice for them. It truly is a "death sentence. " You cared enough to save him/her, now you just need to give him/her that miracle—a new, better life. Foster and care for him/her until someone steps forward with a commitment for the rest of their life.

We understand that you may work long hours and already have pets of your own. We understand, because we do too. Your pets and your foster dog/cat do not have to get along or even socialize; they can be kept in separate rooms or crated. It is a little work, but you can do it and it is well worth the effort, as your temporary commitment means you will save a precious life. There is no better feeling in the world!

Thank you,
REDCOLLAR RESCUE