Pet Charities: How to Choose a Good Pet Charity
Renae Hamrick, RVT
You've decided to make a charitable donation to help animals, but you are unsure how to choose a reputable organization. How do you know where your money will go? Which pet charities can you trust?
Websites such as www.Charitynavigator.org and the Better Business Bureau's Give.org can help you select a charity to which you feel comfortable donating your funds.
Charitynavigator.org analyzes charities based on their financial performances. This website assigns ratings to each charity based on a variety of criteria. You can use this website to determine how your money will be spent.
Give.org also provides information to help you make an educated decision regarding your donation. The Better Business Bureau provides company reports, profiles, complaint histories, etc. If searching for information on a local charity, you will need to contact your local BBB.
Listed below are national pet charities which received high ratings from Charity Navigator.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - The ASPCA , founded in 1866, works to eliminate animal pain and suffering by battling the cruelties they endure. By working to pass animal protection laws, rescuing animals in abusive situations, and working hand-in-hand with many animal shelters, the ASPCA is a voice for the animals. For more information, go to www.aspca.org.
Animal Protection Institute – Founded in 1968, the API also works to prevent animal cruelty. This foundation is known for advocating for animals in circuses, laboratories, fur farms, and other unfortunate situations. The API educates the public on proper animal care, works for new laws, and uses the media to make more aware of the struggles animals face. The API has also rescued primates from abusive situations and formed the API Primate Sanctuary. For more information, go to www.api4animals.org.
Humane Farming Association - Since 1985, the HFA has worked to protect farm animals from cruelty, the public from the misuse of chemicals and hazardous materials, and the environment from industrialized farms. They provide health care and refuge for mistreated farm animals, educate the public on these issues, and investigate and expose the offenders. For more information, go tot www.hfa.org.
Humane Society of the United States - The HSUS, established in 1954, is the largest animal protection organization in the United States. The HSUS protects companion animals, farm animals, animals in research, and wildlife. The HSUS educates the public, works to pass animal protection laws, and investigates and resolves animal cruelty situations. The HSUS is a strong advocate for local Humane Societies. For more information, go to www.hsus.org.
Paws with a Cause - Founded in 1979, this organization trains assistance dogs to help disabled people nationally. These dogs provide the disabled with security, peace of mind, and assistance with their daily lives. Paws with a Cause also encourages awareness of assistance dogs and the disabled through public education. For more information, go to www.pawswithacause.org.
PetSmart Charities – PetSmart charities were established in 1994 to provide loving homes to the millions of pets who are homeless. This group also provides support to animal welfare organizations in the US and Canada, provides relief during times of disaster, raises awareness of animal issues, and shares the joys of the human-animal bond. For more information, go to www.petsmartcharities.org.
This list is simply a starting point for choosing the charity to which you would like to donate. This list does not represent ALL the reputable pet charities; there are many more from which to choose. If you are looking for a pet charity with a different mission, or if you would like to donate to a local charity, do your research. Check the BBB reports, consult Charity Navigator, and seek the opinions of your veterinarian, friends, and family.
Don't Forget About Your Community
In addition to the big charities, consider the local charities, animal shelters, human societies and cat welfare organizations in your community. They often need the money and don't receive much funding from their parent organizations.
If you prefer not to give money, you can give time, adopt, foster pets or volunteer. They also can often use donations such as leashes, collars, food, and food bowls. Check with your local organization, stop by and meet them and see what they need and what you can offer. By giving to your local community, your money or time can go directly to helping the pets in need right where you live.