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Shelter and Rescue Partners

Ongoing care and adoption for animals in dire straits


When the Humane Society of the United States pulls up to the Loudoun County Animal Shelter with its load of rescued pups, it's a cause for celebration.

As one of the HSUS's Shelter and Rescue Partners (formerly known as Emergency Placement Partners), the Northern Virginia shelter not only reaps the rewards of being able to give downtrodden dogs a second chance, but they score a bevy of other benefits, too.

"We'd all get so excited whenever we got a call to take in rescued dogs," recalls Loudoun County Animal Shelter's former deputy chief Janette Reever. "With any big rescue case, all the media coverage really grabs the public's attention and tugs at their hearts. People who had never visited our shelter before would drive down, wanting to do their part to help the animals."

"Half of those people who showed up for the dogs they saw on the news would end up spotting and adopting another wonderful dog or cat who'd been waiting at the shelter for months. Our overall adoption rates would skyrocket with every rescue."

Breathing new life into a shelter's adoption program, as well as piquing—and maintaining—the public's interest is every shelter manager's dream. Joining the Shelter and Rescue Partners network, on a nationwide mission to stop animal abuse, provides the perfect vehicle to do just that.

Who are the Shelter and Rescue Partners?

Shelter and Rescue Partners are part of a national mission to save animals from abuse. They are animal shelters, rescue groups, and other humane organizations who choose to join our national network targeting large-scale animal-abuse cases—from hoarding situations to animal fighting or puppy mill operations. Partners must qualify as:

  • a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit humane organization;
  • a organization affiliated with a national or regional breed rescue association; or
  • a public animal care and control agency

We are delighted to work as a placement partner with the Humane Society of the United States to assist animals in need and save lives!" — Lesly Smith, Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League

What do Shelter and Rescue Partners do?

Shelter and Rescue Partners are perhaps the most crucial element in our national mission to rescue abused animals. After the Humane Society of the United States removes animals from abusive situations, we work with our partners to care for and place the animals. As local groups with access to local resources, partners provide the animals with veterinary care, rehabilitation, and ultimately, placement in lifelong homes.

What kinds of situations do the animals come from?

Shelter and Rescue Partners take in animals from all kinds of large-scale abuse cases across the country, including:

  • natural disasters
  • puppy mills
  • cockfighting operations
  • hoarding cases
  • extreme neglect cases

Companion animals may also be left homeless during natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes.

Our commitment to the dogs seized at the Bakersfield, Vt., puppy mill remains strong and constant...Our collaboration with you is vital and sustaining to our mission." — Tom Ayres, Humane Society of Chittenden County

While some animals are well-socialized family pets, others may be traumatized and need rehabilitation and extensive care before being rehomed.

Can the Humane Society of the United States assist partners financially with the cost of caring for these displaced animals?

Thanks to our new Animal Cruelty Assistance Fund, there are now even more opportunities for financial assistance for Shelter and Rescue Partners to help recover resources spent on rescued animals. The media attention on large-scale rescues also tends to inspire financial donations from the public for the local rescue groups involved.

What are the benefits of becoming a Shelter and Rescue Partner?

For people in the animal rescue field, helping abused animals find their forever homes is an incomparable joy that cultivates an enduring commitment to fighting against animal cruelty.

And while the goodwill generated from within the community is one benefit, the goodwill generated among fellow rescue groups is another.

"During our partner rescues, the chance to network and develop relationships with other rescue groups was really invaluable," says Loudoun County's Reever. "It was a huge reassurance to know that just as we had their backs, they'd have ours if we really needed them."

The HSUS does an amazing job helping with these large-scale rescues and it is rewarding to be a part of it and see so many animal lives transformed from the horrific places they were rescued from to warm, loving forever homes." — Sheryl Blancato, Second Chance Animal Shelter

How can my organization become a Shelter and Rescue Partner?

We invite all eligible organizations to apply. After viewing the program policies [PDF], submit a completed application [PDF] to the HSUS.

What's the next step?

After we review your application, a Shelter and Rescue Partners manager will contact you in 2 to 4 weeks. If your organization is accepted into the program, you will be asked to sign and return the Policies and Agreement [PDF] document.

Once you're accepted as a Shelter and Rescue Partner, you're entered into our national database, and we may call on you for help as the need arises. We'll work closely with you to ensure an optimal experience for both your organization and the animals you take in.

Have more questions about the Shelter and Rescue Partner program? Please email us.

Hear more from our current Shelter and Rescue Partners!

"The Humane Society of the United States rescues animals that have been through a disastrous ordeal, yet these animals still arrive at Nashville Humane Association excited about what the future may hold for them. Theses displaced pets can’t speak, but they have a voice and they do their part in helping raise awareness for all the homeless animals in our community.

Nashville Humane Association is committed to finding responsible homes, controlling pet overpopulation and promoting the humane treatment of animals. We are honored to be a partner with the Humane Society of the United States and proud to participate in this amazing, lifesaving program, which is our goal as well: helping homeless animals." -- Joy Beach, Executive Director, Nashville Humane Association

"Whether it’s a cruelty case in Tennessee, rescuing animals from the threat of rising floodwaters in Mississippi, or shutting down a puppy mill in our home state of North Carolina, the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society is proud to be an HSUS partner. The program exemplifies a belief that we put into practice every day – when animal welfare organizations work together, more lives are saved and more forever homes are found." -- David Stroud, Executive Director, Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society

"St. Hubert’s is a proud partner of the Humane Society of the United States. Not only do these deserving animals need a place to go to start life anew after rescue -- and we’re glad to be that place for them -- we help to tell their stories to raise awareness, improve disaster preparedness, change laws and otherwise prevent the very situations that caused their suffering, neglect or need in the first place," Heather Cammisa, President and CEO, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

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