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About Us - FAQs
Q: Where do the animals in your shelter
A: Most of the animals we take in are
from the Missoula area. We accept animals from all
over western Montana and sometimes even from neighboring
states. In fact, about 40% of the animals we take
in are from outside of the city limits. Our policy
is to accept any animal brought to us, for any reason,
at any time.
Q: How many animals do you receive
each year, and what happens to them?
A: In the year 2000, we received 1757
animals. About 35% are dogs and 65% are cats. Less
than one percent is rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs,
mice, rats, etc. That same year we adopted or returned
55% of the animals we received. Those that were not
adopted, returned, or rehabilitated were euthanized.
Q: How long do you keep animals?
A: We keep all animals as long as we
have space, and as long as the animal remains physically
and emotionally healthy. For some, that could be six
months, for some it could be six days. We do not have
a set amount of time. Each animal is handled on a
case by case basis. As soon as an animal shows signs
of extreme stress or distress, we either find a foster
home, get the animal into a training program, or euthanize.
We will not let an animal languish in its kennel longer
than what is humane.
Q: Why do you euthanize animals,
and how do you decide which ones to put to sleep?
A: Out of the 776 animals that were
euthanized last year, only 168 were put to sleep because
of a lack of space. Dogs are most commonly euthanized
because of aggression, or severe behavioral problems.
Cats are most commonly euthanized because of a lack
of space. The staff of Animal Caretakers makes the
decisions as to which animals will be euthanized.
These decisions are not taken lightly, and we first
explore other options like fostering or training.
Q: Who euthanizes the animals and
how is it done?
A: A few members of our staff are trained
and certified euthanasia technicians. They receive
their license through the Idaho Board of Veterinary
Medicine. The State of Montana does not require that
technicians be certified, but we feel it is very important
that our staff receives this training. Animals are
euthanized by an injection of sodium pentobarbital
which does not cause the animal any pain or suffering.
It is method considered most humane, as it doesnt
cause the animal any pain. The animal is held and
comforted and it takes only seconds for the drug to
take effect. All animals are given absolute compassion
and respect throughout the process. We are the last
contact they will have and we want them to feel loved
Q. Why arent you arent
a no-kill shelter?
A: This is a very controversial topic.
The reason The Missoula Humane Society chooses not
to be no kill is because there really
is no such thing as no kill. Some no
kill shelters simply dont accept animals
once they are full. As a result, animals are either
dumped in the streets, or left at another shelter
which is forced to handle all of the euthanasia. Some
shelters only euthanize unadoptable animals.
The problem is that there is no agreed upon definition
of unadoptable. These shelters often still
euthanize as much as 50% of their dogs and cats, but
still say they are no kill, because they
didnt euthanize any adoptable, animals.
Some shelters dont euthanize and still accept
new animals. These shelters often become over-crowded
and disease ridden. Animals are sometimes kept so
long, that they become kennel crazy, showing
extreme signs of distress. They pace or circle inside
their kennels, become overly protective and aggressive,
or quit eating. At our shelter, we fall in the middle
of the spectrum. We keep animals as long as we can,
but not indefinitely. Keeping animals physically and
emotionally healthy is of utmost importance to us.
It is important to us to remain open to ALL animals
that need us.
Q: Where does your money come from?
A: The Missoula Humane Society is privately
funded by people that care about the plight of homeless
animals. We receive no government funding nor do we
have any contractual relationship with any city or
county agency. We have three fund-raising events each
year, send two direct mail appeals, receive grant
funding, and charge a fee for adoption. We also rely
on memberships, cage sponsorships, bequests, honorariums
Q: What is the difference between
you and Missoula Animal Control?
A: We are a privately funded non-profit
organization run by a board of directors. Missoula
City/County Animal Control is funded by the government.
We accept all animals brought to us, and Missoula
Animal Control accepts only stray dogs. They have
the ability to enforce animal control regulations
within the city and county.
Q: I dont have much money,
but Id like to help. What can I do?
A: You can become a volunteer. You can
also collect old blankets, towels, rags, and newspapers.
You could also hold a garage sale, a dog wash, a car
wash, or a food drive.
Q: Ive heard its hard to adopt
from your shelter, is that true?
A: We are not a pet store so adopting
takes more time than simply making a purchase. We
do try and make the adoption process as friendly and
enjoyable as possible. Adopting a new friend can take
anywhere from an hour, to overnight or even a few
days. Bringing a new family member home is a serious
commitment and it is worth taking the time to make
sure the decision is a good one. After all, this new
friend will be with you for many years to come. As
for our policies, we are flexible on almost everything.
The only two things we simply cant make exceptions
for is our mandatory spay/neuter policy and getting
the O.K. from your landlord.
Q: So how does the process work?
A: First, visit the shelter and fill
out a Matchmaking form. Using the form (which tells
us all about you and youre the qualities you
are seeking in a companion) we will help match you
with the best pet for your lifestyle. After the family
has spent time with the animal, we will sit down with
you and answer any questions you may have about integrating
your new friend to your household and your family.
If your new friend still needs to be spayed or neutered,
she/he will have to go straight a local vet clinic
before she/he goes home.
Q: Do you treat injured and sick
animals? Do you have a vet on staff?
A: No, we do not have a vet on staff
at this time. We are able to vaccinate, perform some
diagnostic tests, and administer medications. If an
animal is in need of treatment, blood tests, x-rays,
or surgery we take them to a local veterinarian. Just
because an animal is sick or injured, does not mean
they will be euthanized. Through our special Emily
Kantor memorial medical fund we are able to treat