Shelters and Rescue Groups

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Area Shelters

These shelters have dedicated physical facilities and frequently either have animal control contracts for their municipalities or work closely with the organizations that do.

Open admission shelters take each and every animal brought to their doors. They are thus forced to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals for space when intake exceeds adoptions. In the city of Philadelphia, the influx of stray and unwanted animals is so constant and overwhelming that euthanasia rates at ACCT can be quite high, particularly for cats and kittens. In the counties, the animals' odds are generally more favorable.

No-kill shelters do not euthanize healthy, adoptable pets (although they may euthanize sick pets or those whose mental conditions deteriorate so much that they are no longer safely adoptable), but are limited admission: they take pets only when they have the kennel space to accommodate additional animals. The no-kill shelters in Philadelphia pull animals from ACCT and do not accept strays or owner surrenders.

Philadelphia Shelters

  • Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia: Primary intake facility for the unwanted pets of Philadelphia. Located at 111 W. Hunting Park Avenue, ACCT is an open admission shelter that receives more than 30,000 stray and owner-surrendered animals per year.
  • Morris Animal Refuge: Founded in 1874, this small open admission shelter is located at 1242 Lombard Street in Center City.
  • Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS): No-kill shelter that runs an Adoption Center at 100 N. 2nd Street in Old City and a low-cost spay/neuter clinic at 2900 Grays Ferry Avenue.
  • Philadelphia SPCA: No-kill shelter located at 350 East Erie Avenue. The largest no-kill facility in the city.

Outside Philadelphia

  • Bucks County SPCA: An open admission shelter.
  • Delaware County SPCA: In the summer of 2012, the Delaware County SPCA is scheduled to transition from an open admission shelter to a limited admission, no-kill facility.
  • Montgomery County SPCA: An open admission shelter with three physical facilities: Abington, Conshohocken, and Perkiomenville.

Rescue Groups

Unlike shelters, rescue groups do not have dedicated physical facilities. They rely on networks of foster homes (and, sometimes, boarding kennels) to house their adoptable pets. Some rescue groups are breed-specific and dedicate themselves to the welfare of one particular dog breed (and, occasionally, its muttly offspring). Others accept dogs of all types, purebred or mixed breed. Many take cats as well. Rescue groups frequently cooperate to accomplish their shared mission of saving adoptable pets and placing them in loving forever homes.

Because most rescue groups are very small -- a few are essentially one-person operations -- they can come and go quite frequently over the years. Thus, only a few are listed here. A Petfinder search for your zip code will turn up many more.