How to Start an Animal Rescue Shelter

September 24, 2013

Starting an animal rescue shelter requires planning, equipment & facility preparation and sufficient funds. The initial step is to decide which type of animal you need to create shelter for and the number of animals you will comfortably cater for. Depending on your resources and facilities, you can take any number of animals you want. Below is a quick guide on how to start a rescue shelter.


Assuming you have the necessary skills and training in taking care of animals, you need to find a suitable location to set up the facility. You need an ample space to ensure safety of the animals. Do not forget to check out zoning regulations for the piece of land that the facility will be built on. Take you time to evaluate whether the existing structures on the land can be converted for your own use.

Legal considerations

If your rescue shelter qualifies for 501 c 3 status, donors and contributors will be allowed to offer you supplies, food and money. Usually, it takes three to six months to attain 501 c 3 status after completing the paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service. Ensure that you have checked the licenses required by your city and state to run such a venture.

Donations and fundraising

This is most crucial part in starting an animal rescue shelter. You can start a membership program for animal lovers in your community. This way you will be able to raise some funds to support your venture. You can also add donation buttons on your website and be sure to acknowledge those who support you. Pet food companies may offer discounts on your purchases and well wishers may offers services and goods which are equally important as financial contributions.

Veterinary services

Proper health care services is another important issue when setting up a rescue shelter. It is advised that one should build a good relationship with a local veterinarian. Some veterinary clinics will accept to offer discounts on health services for all animals that have been rescued.

Finally, you will also need to obtain insurance to cover you in case a person in injured or bitten by your animals or hurt in your premises. Typically, starting an animal rescue shelter needs personal contribution, passion for animals and patience in order to achieve your ambitions.

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