REDCOLLAR RESCUE is 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 or cat to a shelter.
Thousands of 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, Houston SPCA, the Houston Humane Society, etc. are all shelters that euthanize (kill) large numbers of animals. 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 or cat belongs to the shelters, and can be killed at that time. If an owner turns in their own dog or 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,.
Here are our recommendations for a positive outcome for you and the dog or cat you are trying to help:
- Take him/her to the vet immediately to see if it has a microchip which may help find the owner. If no microchip is found, have the dog or cat examined and take care of any immediate medical needs. There are many low cost clinics in the Houston area. If you cannot afford it, ask your friends and family to donate to help offset costs and/or create a “GoFundMe” page.
- 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?
- Feed him/her high quality pet food. It will help him/her get stronger, gain weight, heal quicker, and improve skin and coat.
- Take good photos of him/her and network them extensively on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, NextDoor, company bulletin boards, etc. Include information on approximate age, weight, breed, gender, etc. The more info the better. There are many pages on Facebook that help people rehome pets – even lost/found pages help network found dogs that need a home, such as:
- You can can also post your found pet for adoption on Adopt-a-Pet.com. Directions here: https://rehome.adoptapet.com/
- Charge a rehoming fee. Even shelters charge a fee, knowing that paying a fee places more value and helps people take the responsibility more seriously.
- Never offer to give a dog or cat away for free. There are many dog-fighting rings in Houston, and stray dogs or cats are often used as “bait” to help train the dogs to fight. People who participate in this activity will appear nice and offer to take the dog or cat for free, but this often ends in a horrible fate for the animal.
- Ask questions! Review the adoption applications of rescue groups to see what kind of information is relevant when rehoming 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?
- If you are not having luck rehoming the dog or cat you found on your own, contact local rescue groups in your area and give them as much information as possible about the animal along with good photos. If you can offer to foster or help with medical bills, the more likely it will be that a rescue group can assist. Rescues are all funded by donations from private people like you and by volunteers who give freely of their time. Fosters and donations are always in short supply.
- To locate rescue groups in your area, go to www.petfinder.com. Click on Shelters and Rescues, then Find an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group, then enter your location by city, state or zip code, and click Search.
It is 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 or 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 or cat do not have to get along or even socialize; they can be kept in separate rooms or in crates. 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!