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Holiday giving for the animals

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By now most of you have heard that the Humane Society of the United States gives less than 1% of the money you send to homeless animals, like the ones in its TV Commercials. So how can you find an animal cause that you believe it?

First of all, if you want to support the end of use of animals including as pets, police horses and seeing eye dogs but especially as fur or food then you probably support the Animal Rights movement. There are several national charities lobbying for restricted use of animals on all these levels. They have huge public relations budgets and I'm sure you'll find them easily.

If you want to support animal rescue or health issues you may not know that The American Kennel Club has a Canine Health Foundation that does great things for advancing the health of dogs in general, purebred dogs in particular and medical research for all. Each time we find out how a disease is inherited or treated, we learn more about medical diagnosis and treatment for all.

If you want to support animal welfare you might choose 4H or a farm rescue such as Poplar Springs or Days End Farm Horse Rescue here in our area.

If you want to help people who care for homeless animals you can find a rescue or shelter near you at Humaneforpets.com. Be sure not to type ".org" because HSUS bought that domain to keep you from finding local shelters at the .com address. Humaneforpets.com is a commercial site because they are not a charity and don't ask you for any money. They just help you find a rescue to support.

If you don't have extra money this year consider donating your time or pet supplies you are no longer using. Shelters and rescues can always use or pass on things that pets need. Volunteering or just stopping by with donations is a great way to get to know the folks at any rescue group that interests you to learn more about them. It's important to do so because every group has goals to end euthanasia, or neuter stray cats, or train dogs as service companions or provide sanctuary for dangerous pets or even care for terminal patients (hospice). You should know exactly how your donations will help.

There are also some questions to ask your self. Do you believe that euthanasia for dangerous and terminally ill animals is wrong? If so, then you want to check out your No Kill shelter options to be sure they don't do this. Even No Kill shelters euthanize when animals are suffering. They try not to take in animals who are suffering so that they won't have to. They refer the suffering animals to other agencies who will take them in.

Do you think that turning animals in trouble away is wrong? If you do, then you want to look at Open Admission shelters and rescues. These groups take all animals in need but that means they usually provide euthanasia services for animals with serious issues.

Do you support trapping, neutering and maintaining cats in the "wild"? If so, you may want to look into Metro Ferals, a group that provides low cost altering for all cats but specifically helps people who want to prevent stray cats who will not make good pets from ending up in an Open Admission shelter where they may not be able to get adopted.

Are you interested in a certain type of animal? Small Angels Rescue saves guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs and others. Friends of Montgomery County Animals helps cats. Pit Pride is just starting out and aims to help bully breed dogs. There are as many specialty rescues as you might imagine. Find one near you at humaneforpets.com.

Do you want it all? No Kill, help for animals in trouble, and to know how your money will be spent? How about supporting or volunteering with Uniting 2 Save Animals? A Frederick restaurant owner has raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay vet bills for shelter pets and owners in need so that pets can find or keep a home.

You can also check references for the charity of your choice but understand that evaluations are complex. For example, the Better Business Bureau charges a fee for listing and is complaint based while Charity Watch evaluates 501c3s on their tax filings with the IRS. These sources can help but nothing works like stopping by to watch the work being done.

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