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(Note: NARRA was the National Amphibian and Reptile Rescue Association, a group I tried to spearhead several years ago. Unfortunately, it did not get enough support to continue, but I saved this one section so that I could still help new rescues get started.)

Part of NARRA’s goal is to help new reptile rescues start up and be a viable member of the reptile community.  Members hear from new rescues frequently, but it is unfortunately rare that one lasts very long. To help stem this overturn, NARRA members have created this list of suggestions for you to consider BEFORE you start. Most rescues did not consider these things at first, and had to play catch-up along the way. Your rescue will be stronger and more likely to last if you do your research first.

 1) What is my mission statement and what are my goals and objectives?

2) How large of an organization do I want to create?

3) What are my liability and insurance requirements?

4) What are the zoning restrictions/limitations?

5) What will my neighbors, local businesses, local leaders think of my         operation?

6) Will I be public or private?

     a) Will I want to incorporate, become an LLC, a non-profit, or remain             a hobbyist?

     b) Will I need to establish a board of directors, if so, when, who, how?

     c) Will I need a mentor or sponsor?

7) Where will I conduct operations (home, remote location, rental space)

8) Do I have room for expansion, do I want to expand?

9) How will I seek improvement, education, training, expertise?


1) How can I obtain permits, certification, training, and meet the required         city, county, state or federal laws/requirements?

2) How will I fund my rescue (donations, out of pocket, corporate, or         sales)

3) Will I use volunteers or family?

4) How will I align my organization with other rescues or animal welfare         organizations, societies or groups?

5) How will I conduct marketing and advertising to:

    a) The Public

    b) Animal welfare/humane/rescue organizations

    c) Law Enforcement

    d) The Media

6) What is my message to the above (what themes, thoughts or beliefs         do I want to convey?)

7) Where will I handle intakes and drop offs? (Actual location versus         remote location).

8) How will I handle intakes?

    a) Emergencies

    b) Routine

    c) Communications methods (email, phone, snail mail, walk ins)

    d) Quarantine versus short term versus long term

    e) Fostering


1) What will I rescue? (Exotics versus natives).

2) Will I do rehabilitation?

3) How will I keep rescues/rehabs/residents?

4) How will I handle the adoption/placement/release or euthenasia of         animals for which I am responsible?

5) In what peripheral activities will I engage? Training, education,         display, pick up/removal?



1) What are my space/storage requirements for:

    a) Animals

    b) food items

    c) dry goods and supplies (durable versus disposable)

    d) medical supplies

2) How will the public access my facility

3) How can I restrict/permit access to visitors? Neighbors? Children?

4) What are my security requirements?

    a) Internal versus external

    b) Physical versus electronic

    c) Emergency procedures (natural/manmade, electrical, water, wind,         fire)

    d) Evacuation procedures

    e) Escape prevention and mitigation

    f) Recovery and restoration