W hat To Look For To Know Your Animal Shelter Is A+ by Kate Timmins @Kate_Kismet Whether you want to introduce your children to rescued cows, you’re considering adopting a companion animal, or you’d like to volunteer to help creatures in need, it is important to choo- se a worthy, respectable organization. From an outside perspective, it can be difficult to spot the differences between the good and the not-so-good shelters and sanctuaries, but here are some key indicators to look out for: Happy Animals Animal shelters are not the ideal environment for creatures who crave freedom and affection but if the majority of the animals you see look mis- erable, there’s probably a reason behind it. While animals living in a sanctuary setting are likely to be more settled, they may have suffered past trauma which means they are nervous of strangers. Take note of the relationships between shelter and sanctuary animals and their caregivers. If something feels off, follow your instincts. Transparency Whether you’re visiting, adopt- ing, or volunteering, staff and volunteers should be happy to help and answer all reason- able questions. Larger organizations with an online presence should have ample informa- tion available to prove their legitimacy. Policies There is a lot of pressure for shelters to be ‘No Kill’ but the world of animal rescue is not that black and white. Many shelters who claim to be no kill will simply refuse to take on animals who are in need of inten- sive medical care or behavioral training that may influence their ability to rehome the animal. Ask for the medical background of any animal you are considering adopting and look for caregivers using force-free meth- ods to interact with the shelter residents. Stringent adoption require- ments are also a sign of a shelter who really cares about their animals. 58 Raise Vegan SEPTEMBER 2018 Cleanliness Caring for animals is messy busi- ness! It is one thing to be a little messy, but then there’s just plain filthy. Animal enclosures should be cleaned daily and areas accessible to the public should be held to a certain level of cleanliness. The animals themselves shouldn’t look unkempt; however, it is important to ac- knowledge that some rescued animals have come from situations where they weren’t well- cared-for and they are still recovering and heal- ing. It may take a while to see the results of the care they’ve received at the shelter. With these points in mind, finding a rescue organization worthy of your support is simple. The reward for your research is knowing that you are part of the solution; you are helping to ensure there are resources available for animals in need and that they receive the care they deserve.