Ruff Start Rescue is committed to helping local animals first and foremost, but we are also keenly aware of the dire situation concerning pet overpopulation and abandonment in the southern states. For this reason, we transport animals from high-kill shelters in the south back to Minnesota, where there is a much higher rate of adoption.
Ruff Start Rescue is grateful to partner with many like-minded organizations that work diligently to save the lives of animals within Minnesota and are also proud to be one of the very few animal rescues within the states that take in companion animals owners feel they are no longer able to adequately care for (known as “owner surrenders”).
However, the number of companion animals that are surrendered to shelters in southern states is staggering, far greater than the number of available homes in those areas. Overpopulation is particularly high in places where resources for animals are limited. Many shelters in these areas struggle to meet basic care needs and, as a result, placement rates for healthy, adoptable animals remain low.
At the same time, in our community, the capacity for companion animal adoption exceeds the population of homeless and surrendered companion animals. We have reached this point by investing in outreach, low-cost spay/neuter, and other programs designed to address common causes of overpopulation.
Safely transporting animals from overpopulated areas to communities with high demand for adoption significantly reduces the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals in source communities and ensures that destination communities can meet the demand for adoptable animals while reducing reliance on commercial breeding operations.
The relationship between source and destination organizations must be balanced. Well-resourced destination shelters have the capacity to treat and place animals with medical and behavioral conditions as well as young highly desirable animals. Empowering source shelters to make decisions about which animals to transport ensures that they retain a highly desirable population of animals to support adoption in their own communities. Transported animals must not displace local animals in need.
We are committed to supporting source organizations through mentorship and by sharing resources and expertise. Covering the costs of transport and reducing costs to care for transported animals allows source shelters to invest resources in programs designed to overcome specific challenges in their communities. As source communities mature, the need for transport will diminish.