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Resources for Overwhelm

Help is available for both people who fear a rescue, shelter, sanctuary, or foster has become Overwhelmed.

If you are concerned that someone is "underwater" and that companion animals may be suffering, Report animal cruelty to law enforcement. Animal cruelty is a crime: always call 9-1-1 if you witness animal cruelty. If you are unsure whether the condition or actions you witnessed are "cruel" by the legal definition of your area, visit this resource to review the Anti-Cruelty law in your jurisdiction.

Another option is to contact the Animal Legal Defense Fund's Criminal Justice Program at While the Animal Legal Defense Fund is not law enforcement, they may be able to offer assistance to prosecutors after criminal charges have been filed. Similarly, if you are in a contractual relationship with a shelter or rescue that is being overrun, or you are a foster for an organization and your contract is being breached, the Animal Legal Defense Fund can try to locate counsel for you in your jurisdiction for a civil matter.

For organizations, rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries that are facing Overwhelm, the following resources may be beneficial:

  1. ASPCApro: This website provides resources and tools for animal welfare professionals, including information on managing shelter populations, fostering, and transfer programs.

  2. The Humane Society of the United States: The HSUS offers a variety of resources on animal welfare and shelter management, including guidelines for disaster response, managing large-scale rescues, and shelter population management.

  3. American Animal Hospital Association: The AAHA provides resources on animal care and shelter management, including guidelines on shelter medicine, managing infectious diseases in shelters, and animal behavior.

  4. Maddie's Fund: Maddie's Fund offers grants and resources to animal shelters and rescues, with a focus on increasing adoptions, fostering, and shelter population management.

  5. Best Friends Animal Society: Best Friends provides resources and tools for animal shelters and rescues, including guidance on community cat programs, foster care, and shelter medicine.

  6. The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement: This organization offers resources and training for animal welfare professionals, including information on fundraising, shelter management, and animal behavior.

  7. "Managing Animal Intake during COVID-19," ASPCApro.

  8. "Capacity for Care: Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters," The Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

  9. "Guide to Evacuating with Animals," American Red Cross.

  10. "Disaster Planning for Animal Shelters," ASPCApro.

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