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Last Post by Leaf at 2/10/2008 12:37 AM (27 Replies)
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User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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11489 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 7:52 AM

Hi all

  I've been wondering alot lately what it would take to set up a rescue. I've volunteered with rescues before, currently volunteer at a horse rescue....

I REALLY REALLY want to set up a rabbit rescue. You should see, there is tonnes of bunnies at our humane society and I'm sure they don't get looked after with enough attention that they need. What I want to develop is a system of foster homes for a rescue group, get some vets to do pro-bono work for us, spay/neuter initiative program (ok I am getting ahead of myself here but) etc.

 

Can people who are involved in rescues (and anyone else) help me, pointing out things I may not have thought of that would need to be done to establish a rescue organization? Any help, pointers, warnings etc. would be greatly appreciated!

I would think I would need one or two more strongly involved adults to co-found the organization as well.... Any tips on how to recruit?

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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1/23/2008 7:58 AM
Is there another established dog or cat rescue that you could join up with in your area? There is strength in numbers and you could learn alot from an existing established organization.

I'm not familiar with Canada's tax laws either so I wouldn't be able to tell you how to set up non-profit there if you decide to go on your own.

I can tell you that it is very very hard and takes alot of time and your own money to do this. I had a small fostering group for about 5 years before I came on board a more established group.

Another thing you could consider is to become an educator and fosterer through House Rabbit Society - I did that as well for about 4 years and helped at one time answer their litter box emails. They also have 2 yahoo lists you would be on to ask questions as well.

User is Offline JK
Mill Valley, CA
2241 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 8:08 AM

I would suggest talking to someone who has already set up a rescue and is running it successfully.  You could contact Marcy Scharf who founded Save A Bunny in Mill Valley, California.  Her # is 415-388-2790 or go to www.saveabunny.com.  There are many rescues here that people are involved with that could guide you I'm sure.  That's just great you want to do this!

 

 

 


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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1/23/2008 8:22 AM

You might also contact Olga Betts at the Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Adovacy since she is a Canadian Rabbit Rescue.

www.vrra.org/about.htm


User is Offline JK
Mill Valley, CA
2241 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 8:36 AM

That's even better to talk to someone in Canada as laws may be different than the U.S.


User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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1/23/2008 9:24 AM
Thanks guys!! I contacted VRRA for advice and tips. I like the idea of teaming up with another rescue organization...Unfortunately most of the groups around here are sooo busy they really don't return calls or emails that aren't about adopting (trust me) but there is one I think I might try bugging! I've always (since I was five) wanted to run a rescue, but I think starting a rabbit rescue here in edmonton is pretty imperative!! It just seems like we have too many surrendered animals at the humane society and there is even a ferral warren by a car dealership.... *sigh*
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline osprey
Los Altos, California
2093 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 9:26 AM

Wow K&K, it is a big step to go out on your own.  I will echo the sentiment of seeing if you can hook up with an established rescue rather than going alone.  Establishing non-profit status (at least in The States) is not trivial, fund raising is a pain, getting volunteers is hard, etc.  In addition to Marcy, you can contact Heather Bechtel at director@therabbithaven.org, she can give you some additional information.

In my opinion, being in rescue is great, but running a rescue is very hard.  You have to deal with losing animals you cannot help, calls from people wanting to dump their animals, terribly neglected and injured animals, turning away animals that you know will be euthanized if you don't take them, etc.  Make sure that you leave space for yourself, or it can become all consuming.

 


User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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1/23/2008 9:56 AM
I echo Osprey's sentiments as I've been there trying to run a foster group and it was too much for me to take on since I ended up doing alot by myself.

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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1/23/2008 10:02 AM
I think actually non-profit isn't too hard here...My mom did the applications for a few organizations before. You can declare that on your first day (I believe), but becoming a registered charity is very hard, I think it takes a long time, plus super accounting...
I know it would be just tonnes of work for sure...ugh, I just REALLY REALLY want to....

Thanks everyone!
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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1/23/2008 1:49 PM
I would suggest you have a really strong Board of Directors too - they don't all need to be in rescue and maybe they all shouldn't be. You will need a strong accounting person for sure - we are so so lucky at NTRS to have an excellent accountant as our Treasurer - she's excellent in every other way too though.

There is alot to manage and make decisions on and you have to really be strong - the dump calls from individuals and shelters can be extremely trying - those can wear you down so you have to learn to have a hard shell. You need to know though those are an important part of rescue - sometimes you can turn a dump around though and that's satisfying.

There will be tons of expenses too - spays/neuters/medical, website, phone line, email, hay, pellets, housing, etc....when I had my foster group all my foster care was out of my own pocket initially for a VERY long time. That will be the case for any new rescue group until you can start getting established and getting donations and that does not happen overnight - it can take years and years and years. Also you will be an all volunteer organization (and that includes board members) so you will have to rely alot on the goodness of others - and their ability to help due to their time - after all it's all volunteer. You'll find the volunteers after awhile but you will need to be good at keeping and coordinating them - we are lucky with NTRS that we have an excellent volunteer base due to our President - she's great that way.

And then there's fundraising - very hard - harder than you can imagine - it can take a long time for people to start donating to you. And it can be hard to ask for money too.

User is Offline osprey
Los Altos, California
2093 posts Send Private Message
1/23/2008 2:49 PM

Another option is to set yourself up under the umbrella of an established shelter.  Several of the shelters we work with have "Friends of..." organizations that help with fund raising, off site adoption events, volunteer coordination and recruiting foster sites.  Here are a couple of examples:

Friends of the Watsonville Animal Shelter

Friends of Santa Cruz County Animals

 


User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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1/23/2008 3:23 PM
I wish you lived in NB! We could partner up cuz I have been very interested in my own rescue for years but I just can't get enough info to get started. I really don't know very many rabbit peeps close by either and I can't imagine undertaking a rescue completely alone. It's a future dream though. For now I do as much as I can to help rabbits and all animals in any way I can.
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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User is Offline osprey
Los Altos, California
2093 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 6:13 AM

K&K, another little tip from the "darker" side of rescue.  As best as you can, try not to let people outside of your immediate volunteers know where you live or allow pickups/deliveries at your residence.  Adoption appointments and such should be done at a 3rd location.  We often use PetsMart or For Other Living Things as waypoints and meeting places.  If word gets out that a rescuer lives at a certain place, people will dump rabbits at your door or on your lawn .  This has never happened to me, but it has happend to Heather, our Director.

 


User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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1/24/2008 7:05 AM
Thanks guy!! All very important things to note! I do have an aunt who does accounting....that would be helpful. But I need a vet friend...

puffy tail! I KNOW!!! You move out here ok?
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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1/24/2008 9:48 AM
Osprey has a good point - you need a PO Box too for mail and donations.

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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11489 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 9:51 AM
hrm...What do you guys think....a shelter or a system of foster homes?

I'dlove to be able to get a place to lease as a shelter, but of course that would cost lots, but I live in an apartment and I know I couldn't foster, so it would be best to have a central location....
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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17944 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 9:55 AM
I think you need to start small since you are not entirely sure of the cost, etc...start out fostering a few rabbits. It will cost alot of money to do a shelter situation and you will need donations and you need to know that this is something you can continue and will want to continue.

User is Offline JK
Mill Valley, CA
2241 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 12:02 PM

I know absolutely nothing about this but my gut reaction is to start small as Sarita advises.  Just start fostering a few and see how it grows.  Did you talk to anyone yet who has actually started a rescue?


User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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11489 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 12:25 PM
I sent a few emails in the last couple days like everyone suggested, just waiting to hear back!!

and I *did* volunteer with a group that was a brand new rescue (dogs though) a few years back, ended up working almost forty hours a week, soliciting donations and all the other stuff that is on top of animal care. It was fun though I loved it. (If your wondering why I stopped, I stopped when they were turning down strays/surrenders and *breeding* two purebreeds that were in the shelter *to make money*!!!! )
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kokanee & Chuck My Bridge Bunnies-you left paw prints on my heart

User is Offline Sarita
(Dallas)
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17944 posts Send Private Message
1/24/2008 12:51 PM
Whoa - glad you quit the rescue that was breeding dogs to make money - weird. I understand though about turning down strays/surrenders - you have to limit yourself as to what animals you take in and you have to decide which animals needs your help the most otherwise you would have animals sitting on top of your head. Obviously I don't know this particular rescue groups whole situation other than the super shady part of the breeding dogs to make money.
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