SHELTER FACTS & FIGURES (2009):
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: Is it true that all shelter and rescue animals have some sort of problem and that is the reason they become homeless?
A: Definitely not. The majority of our shelter population consists of well-adjusted, often well-trained, wonderful animals. They typically end up at shelters due to no fault of their own. Pet overpopulation, unclaimed strays, irresponsible pet ownership, and a family’s relocation to a place where pets are not allowed are the primary causes for pets becoming shelter animals. Countless people claim that shelter pets make the best life-time companions and seem to appreciate that you rescued them. However, some shelter animals do have behavior issues that are typically a result of insufficient socialization and lack of established boundaries & training as youngsters. These behavior traits can generally be modified using consistent, proven techniques and a little patience. If you need assistance training your shelter animal, please contact our knowledgeable staff for help or click here for our online training information.
Q: Is it recommended to adopt a puppy or kitten versus an adult dog or cat to ensure getting a ‘good’ pet?
A: Not necessarily. Puppies and kittens are irresistible and do give us the opportunity to provide appropriate socialization and training, right from the start. However, adopting a puppy or kitten requires a dedicated time commitment, a high level of patience, physical changes in your own daily habits, and often, the acceptance that you may experience some puppy/kitty housebreaking and teething accidents in your home. We have found that the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is simply not true. Adult cats and dogs are often a better choice for some families than going the puppy / kitten route. Pets are incredibly adaptable creatures, and given the right guidance, they can assimilate into almost any new, loving home, no matter what their age.
Q: My pet has bitten/growled/snapped at me/my kids/someone else. Can I bring him/her to the shelter for you to find him/her a new home?
A: No! First of all, we view pets as family members and expect that they are treated as such. Thus, it is your responsibility to first seek professional help from a trainer or animal behaviorist to evaluate the circumstances and explore possible solutions. Secondly, if your animal displays severe aggressiveness, it is our policy to refuse entry. The placement of an aggressive animal into society not only poses a threat to public safety, but it contradicts the very mission of the ASWRV. In cases such as these, where additional training and behavior change are unsuccessful, the kindest thing for all involved is usually prompt and appropriately administered euthanasia. Although a difficult position, it is your responsibility to help make your pet’s final journey a peaceful one. For assistance locating a trainer or animal behaviorist, please contact the shelter.
Q: Who owns the shelter and is it a government agency?
A: The Animal Shelter of Wood River Valley is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. The shelter operates with a core management staff, kennel assistants, and volunteers. The volunteer Board of Directors actively support the shelter operations, fundraising and programs. While we are not a county facility, we provide services to the Blaine County Animal Control Program functioning as their Impound Facility. On their behalf, we hold and release animals that are brought to the shelter by Animal Control Officers and local citizens. While we hold these animals, though, they are not the property of the shelter and are subject to local laws and will not be up for adoption until they are legally surrendered or deemed unclaimed.
Q: Is the ASWRV affiliated with any animal rights organizations?
A: No. We are not an animal rights organization, nor do we support any other agency. We are an independent, community-based organization committed to promoting companion animal welfare by providing temporary shelter for homeless pets, adopting them to qualified homes, and reducing animal abuse, neglect, and overpopulation through community education and spay/neuter services.
Q: How is the shelter financed?
A: The majority of our funding comes from fundraising efforts and donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Additionally, The Barkin’ Basement Thrift Store in Hailey provides the shelter consistent financial support.
Q: What will my monetary donation pay for?
A: Your tax-deductible contributions will be spent on providing quality care for our animals and achieving the ASWRV’s mission. In addition to providing basic sustenance for our guests, we repair and upgrade our facilities as needed, support our on-going spay & neuter program to decrease pet overpopulation in our community, purchase supplies, toys and treats, continue fund raising efforts, and work to improve all our shelter operations and community services. For more information, see our latest Annual Report.
Q: Are there other ways to help the ASWRV besides making a financial contribution?
A: Absolutely! The shelter relies heavily on volunteer participation to accomplish a variety of tasks. Our many volunteer positions are described in detail on this website: click here. We welcome your assistance in performing any of these tasks and also by shopping at and donating to the Barkin’ Basement Thrift Store in Hailey. Spreading the good word about the shelter is also a helpful and important mission!
Q: What if I want to volunteer but find that it may be too depressing to work at the shelter?
A: While we endeavor to make our no-kill shelter anything but depressing, we do recognize that people are sensitive to animals in confinement. Therefore, we have plenty of other off-site volunteer opportunities. Click on our Volunteer Opportunities link for a complete and detailed description of all volunteer positions.
Q: How long do you keep animals?
A: In May of 1999, the Board of Directors established a “no-kill” policy in regard to the animals at the shelter. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are placed in loving homes. Adoptable dogs and cats are defined as all animals over the age of eight weeks that are reasonably healthy and well adjusted, regardless of whether the animal is elderly, disfigured, blind, deaf or missing a limb. Euthanasia is authorized for animals that cannot be rehabilitated either because they are hopelessly ill, injured, extremely old or are so aggressive that their placement with the public would pose a risk to public safety. Operating within no-kill guidelines means there are no time limits regarding the length of stay for any animal at the shelter. In fact, we have many stories of animals being adopted successfully long past the time frame within which many other shelters would have euthanized them.
Q: Why are all shelter animals required to be altered?
A: Animal shelters generally only treat the symptoms of a greater problem of pet over-population. The underlying cause of this problem is the failure of owners to have their pets spayed or neutered (or properly controlled if unaltered for breeding purposes). The ASWRV is committed to solving this problem by spaying and neutering all animals prior to leaving the shelter and by offering year-round free spay and neuter procedures to those who qualify. Click here for more information on our Community No-Cost Spay/Neuter Program.