Transporting homeless animals from overcrowded southern shelters saves lives

At Animal Humane Society, we’ve seen first-hand the transformative effects transport programs have on both source and destination shelters — and the unconditional love and joy transport animals bring to their new loving families. That’s why we were disappointed to read some of the sentiment in Bob Shaw’s report on Sunday, July 29.

Last year Animal Humane Society took in more than 7,000 animals from overcrowded southern shelters. In these shelters, multiple animals are crowded into kennels waiting for families that may never come. In these shelters, every day includes difficult decisions about which cat or dog must be euthanized.

But we can help.

While southern shelters face incredible overpopulation, here in Minnesota the capacity for companion-animal adoption exceeds the population of homeless and surrendered. We’ve reached this point by carefully investing in outreach, low-cost spay/neuter, and other programs designed to address animal overpopulation.

Safely transporting animals from other parts of the country to the Twin Cities saves the lives of healthy and adoptable animals in southern communities we partner with. It also frees up resources in those communities so that they, too, can invest in expanding spay/neuter programs and address other root causes of animal homelessness. And it ensures that we can meet the demand for adoptable pets here in Minnesota while reducing reliance on commercial breeding operations.

Transporting animals from other shelters isn’t a transaction — it’s a commitment to partnership. We provide mentorship, medical supplies, and cover the cost of transport. We’re able to take in animals that would never be placed in the South — not because they’re broken or bad — but because we have the unique privilege of being able to help.

Every animal that comes to Animal Humane Society receives a comprehensive medical exam and thorough behavioral evaluation. Animals that arrive with medical conditions like heartworm are treated by our veterinarians prior to adoption. No animal is ever placed for adoption unless we believe it will be safe in a home.

Every day our transport team receives dozens of gut-wrenching messages from rescue organizations in the South, begging us to take homeless animals who face euthanasia in their shelters simply due to lack of space. While we take a small percentage of the millions of homeless animals down South, our only regret is that we can’t help them all.

We’re doing our part to help the country’s pet overpopulation issues with Midwestern animal lovers by our side. We are grateful to the people of Minnesota and Wisconsin for opening their hearts to homeless animals. When a dog is lovingly curled up on your lap, it makes no difference where they came from. Every animal deserves compassion.

This editorial originally appeared in both the print and online editions of the Pioneer Press on Wednesday, July 31.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline