Animal Charities Tips

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What does the World Wildlife Fund do?

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Protects Endangered Species and Their Habitats

Known by its panda logo, World Wildlife Fund ( is an animal charity that leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. With nearly 1.2 million members in the United States and another 4 million around the world, WWF is the world's largest privately financed conservation organization.

WWF directs its conservation efforts toward three global goals:

• Saving endangered species
• Protecting endangered habitats
• Addressing global threats such as toxic pollution, over-fishing and climate change

From working to save the giant panda and bringing back the Asian rhino to establishing and helping to manage parks and reserves worldwide, WWF has been a conservation leader for more than 40 years.

What services does the American Humane Society offer?

The American Humane Society Prevents the Cruelty of Animals, as well as Children

The mission of the American Humane Association is to prevent cruelty, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children and animals, and to assure that the interests and well-being of animals and children are fully, effectively and humanely guaranteed by society.

American Humane envisions a nation where no child or animal will ever be a victim of willful abuse or neglect. In their efforts to protect animals, the American Humane Society runs animal shelters, adoption programs, provides animal rescue as part of disaster relief efforts, monitors and protects farm animals, and promotes awareness and through education, activism and legislative action.

What is the ASPCA's mission?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is America's Oldest Humane Society

The ASCAP's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA offers national programs in humane education, public awareness, government advocacy, shelter support, animal medical services and animal placement.

You can support the ASPCA by donating to them, adopting a pet, writing to your congressional representatives to support the ASCAP's political initiatives, or buying ASPCA cards, gifts and other items, the proceeds of which support the organization's work.

Other humane societies, such as the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( have many of the same activities, but are separate identities that need their own support.

What are modern animal shelters like?

Modern Animal Shelters are Privately Run

Most towns have an animal shelter where stray dogs and cats can be brought, and from which they can be adopted by individuals and families.

While it was once the case that most animal shelters were run by local governments, and that the fate of animals that ended up in the "pound" was uncertain and not necessarily happy (think "Lady and the Tramp"), there are now many privately-run organizations that are "no-kill" shelters and that take a lot of time to make sure that they match the right animal to the right family, and to make sure that the animals are neutered or spayed in order to keep the stray population under control.

There are also breed-specific rescue leagues throughout the country. If you are looking to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue league, be patient: you'll have a lot of forms to fill out and questions to answer, but it is all for the good of the animal, and to help you make sure that you are making a commitment that you can sustain.

What should I consider before adopting or rescuing a pet?

If you Choose to Adopt a Pet, Make an Informed and Thoughtful Decision

The decision to adopt a pet is a huge responsibility for you and your family. Animal shelters are likely to ask you a series of questions and even ask for documentation and references, but it still makes sense to give your lifestyle, your needs, and your intentions before you start the process. Things to consider include:

• Animals are a long-term commitment; this commitment can last 10-15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for a cat. Remember that this animal will be with you through many different times in your life.

• Animals do not adjust well to solitude, and long stretches of alone time can evolve into behavioral and emotional problems for pets. Think about whether you will be able to have a consistent, primary caretaker so that the pet's daily needs do not get lost in the shuffle of busy schedules.

• The responsibility of having a pet includes protecting his health and safety, and includes costs that extend beyond the adoption fee (including basic and emergency veterinary care, toys, supplies, food, etc.).

• Think about where you live and where you might live during your pet's lifetime: not every pet is right for your household, and your household might not be right for every pet.

• If you have allergies, or think you might have small children, or other life issues that would make you change your mind, strongly reconsider adopting. You will save yourself and a needy animal heartache in the long run.

• If you do decide to adopt, be a responsible owner: spay or neuter your pet; keep his vaccinations and heartworm medications up to date; take dogs to obedience training and learn about cat behavior; clean up after your pets, and spend time with them.

If you make the decision to adopt thoughtfully and carefully, and you are a responsible owner, pet adoption can be a very fulfilling experience and can yield many years of happy companionship. In addition your donation to an animal shelter will help save animals from the streets to get into happy homes.

What services do animal charities provide?

Animal Charities Serve to Protect and Defend the Vulnerable

You can generalize and say that most charities exist to protect and advocate for people, places, and things that cannot effectively do so for themselves. Thus, many charities exist for the aid and protection of children, poor people, the disabled, the elderly, the environment, and for animals.

Charities that protect animals are both local and large-scale and focus on domesticated animals as well as wildlife. Such nonprofit organizations include animal shelters, animal adoption services, PETA, the World Wildlife Fund, and the like.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran