About Our Rescue Group...
Who We Are:
Animal Rescue Network (ARN) is an all-volunteer alliance of individuals primarily from northwest Philadelphia who are devoted to animals. Working on their own for years, individuals found themselves rescuing animals from all kinds of hazardous and neglectful situations. Animals were sheltered, treated medically, spayed or neutered, trained, and placed in suitable homes at the expense of the rescuer. As members became aware of each others efforts on behalf of animals, they realized that many tasks could be accomplished more efficiently if they were to work as a group. Thus, ARN was born in 2005.
Animal Rescue Network is a member of the New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator at Resources for Human Development, Inc. (RHD). RHD is a large, diversified nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia, that oversees roughly 150 programs. The New Beginnings incubator provides small and startup nonprofit programs with a range of services and support designed to help them grow to achieve their missions. Animal Rescue Network is responsible for all its own fundraising.
During a normal year, approximately 30,000 animals are surrendered to Philadelphia shelters. In some cases, financial instability and/or limited or lack of knowledge regarding proper pet care are major contributing factors. Now that our economy is in a downturn, the number of animals surrendered to shelters has increased significantly by thrusting more pet owners into the low income stratum. Shelters that are normally overcrowded are now bursting at the seams.
Many pet owners believe that surrendering their pet to a shelter results in a win-win – a win for them and a win for their pet because they believe the shelter will simply find their pet another home. In truth, many of these healthy, adoptable pets end up being euthanized due to lack of space at the shelter. When a pet owner arrives at the shelter to surrender a pet, the shelter is required, when applicable, to tell the owner that the animal may likely be put down due to overcrowding if surrendered. As a result, many pet owners mistakenly think that their unwanted pets stand a better chance being abandoned on the street than if turned over to the shelter, thinking that any life on the street, no matter how harsh, is better than death at the shelter. So they either simply lock the animal out of the house or drive it to another location and dump it there. These unfortunate animals suffer terribly and often die of starvation, exposure, and/or injury when abandoned on the streets.
In addition to pets that fall victim to the declining economy, there are those pet owners who adopt a kitten and then turn it outside when it outgrows its cuteness. Many of these cats are neither neutered nor vaccinated. Coping with the need to find food and shelter and avoid dying of exposure is just the beginning of trials on the street for these unfortunate animals.
Unneutered free-roaming male cats can impregnate multiple females in one season. Unspayed females can produce about three litters a year. These offspring, having been born in the wild, become feral and are, therefore, unadoptable unless rescued within the first few weeks of birth and properly socialized. Feral cats can pose environmental issues in their neighborhoods. Unneutered male cats mark their territory by spraying their strong-smelling urine outside people’s homes. (Many people are not aware that neutering a male cat removes the foul odor from their urine.) Unneutered males will fight over potential mates. Cats that have found a reliable food source (a local dumpster or a neighbor’s trash can, for example) will fight to protect it. The sound of late-night yowling and fighting of cats in one’s alley or backyard most likely fits into either of these two categories. Cat fighting can result in the spread of disease from one infected cat to the other. It is through fighting and biting that a cat with feline AIDS and/or feline leukemia passes these diseases to other cats. (Feline AIDS and feline leukemia cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs.)
The poor economy and people failing to spay or neuter their pets has had a noticeable impact on animal rescue organizations. When times are hard, they are also hard for rescues. When people put their pets out on the street because they cannot afford them any longer, the demand for rescues to step in and help increases. When shelters are overflowing, they look to rescues to lighten their load by taking some of the animals into their rescue. Fostering multiple animals (or even one, if the animal needs veterinary care) is expensive. Finding prospective foster homes is difficult unless we can offer to help pay for supplies and any vet care when the need arises. Using low-cost spay neuter clinics certainly helps to keep costs down, but when spaying/neutering a colony of feral cats, the cost can be prohibitive. In addition, it is our policy to spay or neuter any animal before it is adopted. Our nominal adoption fees of $75.00 do not come close to covering the cost of fostering an animal from intake to adoption.
Our desire is to create a foster network of devoted reliable individuals who can count on us to provide them with adequate supplies and food until the animal is adopted. By doing this, more potential foster homes would become available to us that would not have been available before.
We would also like to create a program that allows us to provide door-to-door service (from the pet’s residence to the spay/neuter clinic) and pay the volunteers who agree to transport the animals for us. This would greatly increase the number of pets that are spay/neutered in a given week through our rescue.
We would like to be able to offer those pet owners, who cannot afford to spay/neuter their pets, the opportunity to let us pay for the animal’s surgery and vaccinations.
And finally, we would like to be able to continue our work with feral cats by spaying/neutering colonies and providing proper colony management after all cats in the colony have been sterilized.
We feel that these methods coupled with raising public awareness will go a long way toward alleviating the unnecessary suffering and propagation of unwanted and abandoned pets in our City.
Our mission is to eliminate the cat overpopulation problem and animal suffering in the Northwest and Overbrook areas of Philadelphia by educating the public and advocating for Trap, Neuter, Return, Management (TNRM) of feral cats and by providing a safe haven and any necessary veterinary care for animals that come under our care.
We envision a world in which animals can live safely.