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Economic impact of animal rescues

August 8, 2018

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chicken being hand fed
Animal rescues now go beyond dogs and cats to include chickens, pigs and exotic animals. (Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi via Pexels, CCO)

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, roughly 6.5 companion animals enter animal shelters each year. City and local regulations around shelters vary widely, but here’s an interesting report released last year on the positive economic impacts of Austin’s no-kill resolution. It places the impact to Texas’ capital city at $157 million, including brand equity for the city, veterinary services and pet retail services.

Here’s a look at angles to consider in your coverage of animal rescues.

Unusual animal rescues

Readers may be interested to know that many animal rescues now go beyond just dogs and cats. With the rise of backyard chickens, chicken rescues are now becoming overrun with chickens from people who realized they weren’t cut out for backyard farming, and pig rescues are also a thing.

Meanwhile, places like the East Coast Exotic Animal Rescue provide a refuge for peacocks, lions and reptiles. Are there are any of these unusual operations in your area?

Financial support models

How do your local animal rescues or shelters get money? Are they using crowdsourcing campaigns, grants or Amazon wishlists, especially following a natural disaster and the influx of displaced pets that inevitably follows? Are there using any out-of-the-box fundraising initiatives, like how the American Mini Pig Rescue benefits from the sale of Snout Art or how Greyhound Rescue Austin holds a Grey Friday online auction? What portion of the overall budget do these initiatives represent? Similarly, how are local rescues or shelters using digital tools to connect with adopters? Are they getting creative, like this rescue that put a dog on Tinder?

The dark side of animal rescue

While most animal rescues are staffed by well-intentioned, hard-working people, the industry isn’t without controversy. The Washington Post’s Animalia blog reports that some rescues have been criticized for overly stringent criteria for pet adopters, while other rescuers have received criticism for buying dogs from the breeders they disdain.

Are these practices happening in your community? This might be fodder for an investigative piece.


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