Animal Rescue

Colleen Meyer
Coalition for Animal Rights Education

Includes Listing of No-Kill Animal Shelters

Animal rescue is an all-encompassing word to describe humans helping animals in distress. This includes dogs, cats, wildlife and farm animals. For some, animal rescue is a consistent activity by groups or individuals, for others a spur of the moment decision as they pass by an animal in need.

In the Twin Cities there are thousands of stray dogs and cats found. More than 90% are killed every year because they are killed by cars, or killed at shelters because they were not adopted. Humans have decided to domesticate these creatures; therefore it is our responsibility to be sure they are taken care of since they can no longer survive in the wild as they once could.


When considering adopting a companion animal, consider the following items:

  • Giving animals as unexpected gifts or to small children is dangerous. Being prepared and mature enough to care for the animal is the most vital piece to keeping an animal safe and happy.
  • Get your animal companion from a shelter instead of buying a purebred. Think of all the healthy dogs and cats that are already living, and could be killed soon if no loving person comes to adopt them.
  • Spay or neuter your pets! Fewer numbers of unwanted animals means less killing. Offer to spay a neighbor’s pet to stop unwanted litters.
  • Cats traditionally roamed free outdoors: now it is known that cats do not mind an indoor lifestyle and live a much longer and healthier lifestyle as a result. Outside hazards include deadly diseases, injury or death by dogs, and abuse from children and adults. On average indoor cats live more than twice as long as outdoor cats.
  • Dogs are an added level of responsibility. Not only do rottweillers and pit bulls bite, but all dogs are capable of doing damage. Watch children around your animals and, if necessary, put the animal away in a safe room when you have visitors. Do not let your dogs run loose or unattended.


Since Minnesota has such severe weather for much of the year, both hot and cold, we must always be on guard for animals in distress. This might be neighbors who don’t have enough water for their dog in the summer, people who keep pets in their car in extreme temperatures or those who don’t provide food or shelter in the winter. Whatever the need, the procedure is as follows:

  • Local Animal Control: Animal issues related to public health and welfare, namely barking complaints, unkept yards and kennels are matters for the local animal control. Call them until you get a reasonable response. Remember if the hassle gets too great, some animal keepers will put the dog or cat in the pound or just open the gate. Make sure you follow the situation.
  • Local Humane Society: For abuse issues, including lack of food, water, shelter, neglect or physical abuse, you should contact your local humane society and talk to the humane investigator to issue a response. Follow up until you feel it gets resolved properly. If no humane society exists in your county, contact Minnesota Federated Humane for the assignment of an agent to your area. Document. The better information you have, the more likely something will get done.


Lost-and-found dogs or cats are typically runaways and the owner is looking for them. Some may not have tags. Use a common sense approach to the problem:

  1. Contain them in a yard or a cage
  2. Contact animal control and see if someone has reported the animal lost. See if you can get information about the owner or if they will contact the person and send them your way. This will save them money and you can educate the owner about containing the animal and putting on a collar with a phone number.
  3. If you cannot keep the animal, call animal control or the humane society. However, if you stop at this step the animal may never get claimed and end up being a death statistic. Find out how long the animal will be there if unclaimed. Find someone to get the animal out, even if only to foster or contact one of the rescue groups and see if they have room. Many pounds presently work with rescue groups. There are also No-kill shelters that will find homes for all the animals they have or keep them there until their natural death.

No-kill shelters and rescue groups:


Second Chance – cats & dogs

PO Box 10533

White Bear Lake, MN 55110



Last Hope – cats & dogs

19161 Echo Lane

Farmington, MN 55024



Pet Haven – cats & dogs

PO Box 19105

Minneapolis, MN 55437



MARRS – birds

Midwest Avian Adoption & Rescue Services, Inc.

Shelter: St. Louis Park, by appointment only



Rainbow Rescue

PO Box 3191

Burnsville, MN 55337



Animal Relief Fund

PO Box 234

Hopkins, MN 55343



K9 Rescue – cats & dogs

PO Box 502

Lakeville, MN 55044



Caring For Cats – cats only

2141 Division St. North

St. Paul, MN 55109



Animal Ark – cats & dogs

2600 Industrial Court

Hastings, MN



Feline Rescue – cats only

2340 Charles Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55114


Sidebar: Alternative Therapies for Pets

Star Tribune, December 7, 2000

More and more pet owners have started seeking veterinarians educated in alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage and Rolfing. People are trying these therapies on their pets because some people have tried the therapies themselves and others run out of conventional options. Therapies such as acupuncture and massage can relieve aches and might speed recovery after surgery. Some veterinarians turn to such methods to treat behavioral problems. All of these therapies are considered safe, but it is important to choose the right practitioner and to continue regular vet checkups.

Acupuncture: triggers the release of pain-killing endorphins and boots the immune system. To find a practitioner contact the Chi Institute (352-591-3165), the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (970-266-0666 or or the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Assoc. AHVMA (410-569-0795 or

Chiropractic Care: treatment for a decrease in the motion of the spine, asthmatic cats, and epileptic dogs. Orthopedic manipulation is a less physical option. To find a practitioner contact the American Veterinary Chiropractic Assoc. (309-658-2920) or for orthopedic manipulation (

Massage: Swedish (whole body) or shiatsu (pressure points) methods can calm your pet, relax their muscles, increase mobility and stimulate circulation and immune fuction. Can help heal major ailments. To find a practitioner contact AHVMA (above).

Rolfing: Part of the massage family focusing on fascia (soft tissue that connects the body’s muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints). Can be uncomfortable for some pets. To find a practitioner contact the Rolf Institute (800-530-8875 or

ABC’s of Alternative Care:
* Remember to keep your vet in the loop. Body treatments should never replace routine vet care.

* Know the limits of alternative therapies. Don’t use therapies for fever, infection, bleeding wounds, shock or a serious accident.

* Check the vet’s credentials. Ask whether the vet passed the AVCA’s training program or if they are certified or licensed.

* Be patient. Alternative therapies often take a while to work, and they may require multiple visits.

* Listen to your pet. Some pets are more tolerant than others. If you pet is uncomfortable, stop.

What You Can Do

* Help foster animals, raise money or transport them

* Give your pet time to find a new home as opposed dropping them off at the shelter at your convenience

* Volunteer to help rescue groups or farms and shelters

* Spay or neuter your animal companion!

* Educate as many people as you can about animal ownership and responsibilities

Read Up
Act Locally
Animal Rescue

Our Sponsors