How To Not Rescue Animals

The dogs and cats at Animal Services may be put to sleep after three days is they have no microchip or tags. After six days if they do have ID. Unless they are adopted or reclaimed by their owner. Sadly many are not. 

Some do end up in the Animal Services VIP program where they can have up to 2 weeks in the adoption program and cared for by great VIP volunteers. After two weeks are up a local rescue may transfer them to their rescue or they are reassessed and may go back into the VIP program.

Many times people in the community try to help by taking these dogs and quickly rehoming them, many times without any paperwork.

Sometimes these animals are bounced around from home to home, which can be stressful and lead to escaping or serious behavioral problems. Sometimes the animals end up back in the city shelter and the microchip information is not valid because the person never updated the information.


PULLING” an animal from a shelter is generally done by rescue or animal welfare organizations. NOT the general public.
The general public can only adopt an animal or reclaim their own pets.

We are seeing many “Do-It-Yourself” rescuers rehoming animals they claim to have saved from death row.
Facebook is full of people taking animals from the city shelter and quickly ask for a “foster” to take them temporarily. Some of these animals are taken off craigslist, or off the streets.

Taking a homeless pet from an adoption program for the sole purpose of rehoming it irresponsibly is not “RESCUE“.

Taking an animal off craigslist or the streets has its heart in the right place but need to be done responsibly. That means committing to that animal until a suitable home is found. Not just dumping them on somebody who feels sorry for them who thinks their taking them in temporarily. There needs to be some accountability from anyone doing this.

FOSTERING” an animal should usually be done through a legitimate rescue organization or animal welfare/advocacy group.
*As of right now the city of El Paso does not have a foster program, but there are talks about starting one.

If somebody asks you to “foster” an animal ask yourself:
“Do we have a contract?”
“Is this dog healthy?”
“Who pays the vet bills?”
“Who pays for food expenses?”
“Who is responsible for getting this animal adopted?”
“Who’s responsible if this pet gets my animals or children sick or it bites?

Many times these DIY “rescuers” dump the animal with the foster and move on to the next one, leaving them behind with expenses for an animal they thought was going to be in their home temporarily.
That is not “rescue”. Some will take an animal free from the shelter then ask for a rehoming fee. Some will ask for donations for animals and the money never goes to the animal’s care.

In some cases we’ve seen dogs who have killed other pets being rehomed. Sometimes dogs are rehomed without being neutered. Some dogs have transmitted ringworm to “foster” family’s children.

If you want to help our community animals please be responsible. If you wish to foster be careful who you are fostering for.

Related Document: Suggestions for ways to help the animals in Animal Services (check for update versions)

The city Animal Services Shelter will have a Rescue Partner workshop in April to help people interested in becoming a Shelter Partner to take these shelter animals responsibly. More details here soon.

Attached above is a document that will give you various ideas of what can be done to help these animals responsibility.

If you wish to help these animals then volunteer at the city shelter or other local rescue organizations to learn how these programs work and learn about the responsibilities that go with rescue work.
Every rescue organization in El Paso is in need of donations, volunteers, and fosters.

Educate yourself about shelter policies, local laws, and get involved. There are more things you can do to help our community pets. Many don’t require you to take in any pets if you don’t have the space or time. There are many local rescues in need of volunteers or foster families. And they do a great job.

Coming soon: Suggestions On How To Help Shelter Animals