What is an animal center?
An animal center is a resource for the community in areas of animal welfare. It provides a wide range of services as needed in that particular geographic area. It helps animals, it helps people and it educates children on compassion for living things. It saves lives of animals that might otherwise die and it places companion animals into qualified homes. An animal center can provide types of therapy to humans utilizing animals; it can offer hospital or medical services, or pet food to help homebound people keep their companions fed. It might have a boarding facility or a vet clinic. Maybe it has water therapy, agility, obedience or animal safety classes.
An animal center is whatever its community needs and what its donors support.
Why do we need animal centers?
Because the “dog pound” and “shelters” of the past need to be put out of the public’s mind. Through media coverage of dangerous dogs and maulings, the public has the impression that if you go get an animal at your local animal facility, you will choose from one of many “killer dogs”, since that is where they were taken after the incident. Less than 5% of the American public has been inside a shelter, so they don’t know what isolated incidents these are. They don’t see anything wonderful in a “dog pound” or “shelter”. We need to help them see that these organizations that take in stray and orphaned animals have wonderful family pets available and we need to change their perceptions to see that “animal centers” are happy, bright places where their next companion is waiting for them. Such a terminology change can get us away from inaccurate perceptions, just as “garbage trucks” changed to waste management services and children orphanages became child services centers.