Wanting to get a better understanding myself, I did some research to see exactly what it takes to run a shelter. Doing this research not only gave me insight but it also made me respect those who do these great works for the love of animals. It takes great dedication and I commend those who manage, operate, and volunteer to give animal’s temporary shelter until they find their forever home.  

This is what I learned from a little research!

On average, how many dogs do you shelters take in monthly?

This could depend on the size of the shelter. On average it is around 25 to 60 dogs. That is one a day! This does not include the cats that are brought into the shelter.

How many dogs do shelters turn away?

25 to 60 is how many dogs the shelter takes in. This does not include how many are turned away for lack of space. Some shelters noted 5 to 10, one said up to 200. These are astounding numbers. One shelter said taking in strays was their main priority and that on occasion they will have to turn away owner surrenders.

What is the general reason a dog must be turned away?

The main reason animals get turned away from shelters is lack of space. There are just too many dogs and not enough space to care for them properly. So then what happens? These are the situations where you see animal owners dump their animals by the wayside. This is why fostering is so important.

What is the typical cost to care for one dog?  

Before each dog can be offered for adoption they are fully vetted. They receive vaccinations (Distemper/Parvo, Rabies, Bordatella), a wellness exam, and spay/neuter as age appropriate. They also receive a 4DX test to check for heartworm and tick-borne diseases as well as heartworm preventative and flea/tick treatment. For a normal healthy dog without any other medical issues, this veterinary care costs around $200. If the dog has health issues it could be way more. 

In addition, dogs at the shelter need to be fed, entertained and trained. That requires dog food, treats, toys, beds and more. 

What are some typical expenses of caring for a dog?

Medical care, food, housing costs, costs for trainers, hiring staff to care for them, cleaning supplies and toys.  Those costs add up quickly. Many shelters count on donations and volunteers to save on their budget.

What resources can a person use if the shelter becomes full?

Fostering is a great option if people are willing to open their homes. Generally, the rescue or shelter will provide the foster family with supplies for housing the dogs. Most shelters also pay for vet bills and medical supplies if the dog should become sick while in your care. So, basically there is very little cost to the person who is fostering.

Paid boarding facilities are another option but at the cost of around $20/day, this can add up quickly. This is why fostering is such an important ***

What are the expenses of actually having the shelter space?

Monthly lease, utilities, cleaning supplies on average costs around $2,250/month one shelter quoted. This number could vary depending on the size and location of the shelter. This number gives you an idea.

What are the most expensive supplies that are needed?  

Veterinary care, flea/tick treatment/heartworm prevention, food and training care.

What are shelters most in need of?

Volunteers! People to give of their time, to support and love these animals who have no one. As for material supplies, most shelters have a Wishlist of items needed and that varies from shelter to shelter. Many items needed are things that cost nothing. Such as blankets, towels, old sheets, etc. Many shelters count on people to donate these things you may have around your home and you may not be using.

Does fostering cost the foster parent anything?

Shelters do not want to extend animal costs to those who help so most will provide veterinary care, crates, food, toys, etc. for the fostering family. They also provide behavioral help if needed and offer foster training classes that fosters can attend.

A lot of money, time, and effort goes into running a rescue or shelter. Donations, supplies, food and treats all help these unfortunate animals who have very little in their lives. I ca assure you that every dog and every puppy enjoys getting a new toy! Everything helps and everything is appreciated!  

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