What is an Animal Shelter?

An animal shelter, sometimes referred to as a pound, is a location, often a physical centre where animals that are lost, abandoned, surrendered, found, abused and/ or sick. These centers are often volunteer-run and consist namely of cats and dogs but can also be home to other animals such as guinea pigs, rats, reptiles, even horses, depending on the shelter’s size and resources.

Animal shelters serve many purposes, including the safekeeping of these animals. These shelters offer a safe place for these otherwise homeless and/ or helpless animals to sleep and rest and stay. In addition, shelters also offer a place for rehabilitation, where injured, sick and/ or unwell animals can begin their healing process or journey back to health. Shelters also help reunite lost pets with their owners. Lost pets can be brought in by friendly neighbours, municipal officers or anyone who may find a lost pet, and the shelter offers somewhere for the pet to stay and for the owner to look and find them. Another reason shelters exist is to create a safe haven for pets and animals that are subject to neglect, abuse or other harmful situations. These shelters offer an escape for those animals.

Shelters exist in some way, shape or form in many cities across the world. Though the size, scope and abilities may differ. Some cities may even have multiple shelters, animal specific shelters or shelters with different capabilities. Since shelters are driven by volunteers, the services and space they offer are dependent on the volunteers. Some shelters may have vets who donate their time and services, some may have services such as spay and neuter clinic for those who could not otherwise afford it. Shelters are more than a place for lost, abandoned or surrendered animals, they are also a great resource for pet owners as well.

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