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The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team saves thousands of animals every year from cruelty, neglect and suffering. Meet three animals whose lives were transformed; then share your favorite, and see how you can join the team.

Bulletproof Sam


Found inside a triple-padlocked, makeshift cage, Sam was rescued with 16 other dogs from a Jacksonville, Fla. dogfighting operation in February 2012.

Sam’s rescue came after a yearlong investigation, during which the Animal Rescue Team worked closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Team member Chris Schindler (pictured above), HSUS manager of animal fighting investigations, explains that these investigations are necessary to obtain the evidence needed to not only rescue the animals but also ensure the abusers are brought to justice. At any given time, the team is working on a number of long-term organized animal fighting cases with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.


April Simpson, a volunteer at Hello Bully Rescue in Pittsburgh, adopted Sam after he spent a year recovering at the rescue. Though he still bears the physical scars of his fighting days, Sam has turned into a charmer who spends his days lounging around in a sweater, snuggling or going for walks with Simpson and her two kids.

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Alex was rescued from a Kansas exotic animal menagerie in May 2013, where he and several other big cats, including cougars, bobcats, lynx and a serval, had been abandoned in dirty, barren enclosures without access to food or clean water.

Handling large, dangerous or exotic animals is part of the job for the Animal Rescue Team—one that often requires taking specialized training and sometimes calling in outside experts. The team can count big cats, primates, horses and parrots among the animals saved in recent rescue operations.


Alex now lives at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, operated by HSUS affiliate The Fund for Animals, where his playful personality has emerged. The 4-year-old tiger relishes splashing water on his caregivers and playing hide-and-seek. Soon, he and the other rescued tigers at Black Beauty will move into their own 5-acre habitat. 

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Little Roy


Little Roy and nearly 700 other cats, including those pictured above, were rescued in June 2011 from a single Florida property—a private sanctuary gone horribly wrong. Responders found the cats living in filth—many in unsanitary outdoor pens with no protection from the elements, others inside a residence on the premises—and suffering from a variety of skin conditions, eye problems and other ailments.

The Animal Rescue Team transported all the cats to a temporary shelter for medical treatment and recovery. Working with volunteers and other animal protection groups, The HSUS maintained the shelter for six months until every treatable, adoptable cat found a home. The massive shelter and adoption effort was a testament to the success of the team’s network of Emergency Placement Partners: animal shelters and rescue groups that work with The HSUS to care for animals rescued from abusive situations. As local groups with access to local resources, these partners provide the animals with veterinary care, rehabilitation and placement in lifelong homes.


At the temporary shelter, volunteer Roy Ware connected with an orange cat who jumped out to greet him, and the pair became known as Big Roy and Little Roy. After seven one-week volunteer stints at the shelter, Ware adopted his new pal for good and brought him home to Miami, where Little Roy loves to sit in the window overlooking the backyard and sleep snuggled up with a big stuffed rat. Ware calls the affectionate cat, who’s always on the lookout for a welcoming lap, “the joy of my life.”

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Join our team

These animals were saved because of people like you. Please donate to our Animal Rescue Team today to help us continue to be there for animals in need.