Animal shelters are where people take pets that they can no longer care for. They also take in homeless animals that are found wandering in the streets. For cute little puppies and kittens, an animal shelter can be the gateway to a new, loving home with a caring families. For older animals and those with less cuddly temperaments, the animal shelter is most likely the gate to heaven. In other words, the animals who do not become adopted get put to sleep. An alternative approach is that of Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue, now called Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue and Happy Landings in England. The name caught on as a tagline used to indicate other shelters who refuse to euthanize their animals including one American non-profit organisation in Brooklyn, Maryland, that used the Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue name.
In the United States, according to the Animal Rescue Foundation, 6-8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters every year. Half of them end up being euthanized, put to sleep, because there are not enough people who are willing and able to adopt them. The problem is similar in the United Kingdom where the first Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue Centre opened in 1983. Obviously, the name of the centre was chosen to declare its purpose. Not only did they work to place pets in adoptive homes, they did not kill any of the pets who entered their shelter.
Between 1983 and 1991, Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue Centre was located on 27 acres in West Henley, Somerset. To ensure that none of their animals were mistreated, they retained permanent ownership of every animal that they placed in adoptive homes. That way they could regain possession of animals at any time. They relocated to Pylle where they have been able to expand their facilities. Now they rescue all types of animals: mostly pets, some wild animals which are injured, and the occassional farm animal - pigs, sheep, and goats.
Heavn's Gate operates a kennel and a cattery where they board dogs and cats as one significant source of revenue to fund their non-profit rescue work. This is very expensive, indeed. Veterinary bills run around 18,000 pounds per year. Food and electricity each cost around 1,000 pounds per month.
A similar organisation was founded in 1997 by Joann Redelius in Brooklyn, Maryland. This non-profit organisation obtained 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service so it could accept donations which qualify for tax deductions. It partnered with Pets Mart's Luv-A-Pet adoption program to place 3000 cats. Some of this organisation's revenue came from the fees it charged people to adopt pets. Cats cost £58 each, and dogs cost £81.
This American Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue owned a domain name with the intitials: HGAR.com. However, the domain name was available for sale in late 2008. Information about this organisation was not updated after 2003 on Guidestar, the non-profit watchdog organisation. Heaven's Gate Animal Rescue set out to save homeless dogs and cats from becoming euthanized by helping them to find loving homes with people. Every non-profit organisation starts because of a really serious social problem, but the compelling mission has to be matched by carefully built organizational capacity. This takes the generosity of many individual donors and skilfully managed fundraising by the organisation's board.
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