The numbers are staggering. Reports say that Americans happily spend at least $62.75 billion on their furry (or scaly) friends. And yet, there exists a sad dichotomy: studies suggest tens of millions of stray dogs and cats live on America’s streets or in rural areas. In Houston alone, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC) once estimated 1 million stray animals are fighting for survival. Estimates vary on how many are euthanized in shelters annually — solely due to lack of space or willing adopters — but some figure BARC alone put down 15 animals per day in 2017.
Fortunately for the Bayou City’s four-legged population, myriad local charities are stepping up to assist, especially championing the no-kill movement. These groups range from on-the-ground rescues to networking and umbrella organizations. Their sole cause: the betterment of homeless and struggling animals’ lives in Houston. While hundreds of small groups exist, we’ve rounded up 18 organizations doing the yeoman’s work — and we’ve included a handy link to make a difference today.
A Place for Peanut
A Place for Peanut is a nonprofit horse sanctuary that mostly rescues miniature horses. Many of the horses at A Place for Peanut were rescued from kill pens and are rehabilitated and rehomed with families. The organization also strives to educate the public about kill pens and the horror that horses endure.
Barrio Dogs works with the mission of raising awareness about proper animal care and the importance of spaying and neutering pets — as well as the importance of animal birth control and humane treatment. While Barrio Dogs is not a rescue group, they have rescued many street dogs that were in especially poor physical condition, nursed them back to health, and found them homes. By focusing on the reasons why homeless animals exist, Barrio Dogs sheds light on other community problems and possible long-term solutions.
Citizens for Animal Protection
Founded in 1972, Citizens for Animal Protection is committed to sheltering, rescuing, and placing homeless animals. They also work towards relieving animal suffering by preventing animal cruelty, providing humane education to develop an aware and responsive community, and advocating respect and compassion for animal life.
The DAWG Foundation provides a companion canine for U.S. military veterans (and select first responders) battling PTSD. The companion canine is well trained by DAWG Foundation-approved trainers, and is meant to provide everything from simple companionship and emotional support to limited mobility/distress assistance. Part of the DAWG Foundation’s mission is to adequately provide post-training counseling and inspections on the veteran/companion team.
Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue
Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue is a breed-specific group dedicated to the rescue of German Shepherd dogs. The dogs are obtained from public shelters where they are scheduled to be euthanized, or they are given to the group directly by their owners. All dogs receive necessary healthcare, including spaying/neutering, and are microchipped before being placed in a foster home until they are adopted. The group also provides information and education to the community to develop a better life for all German Shepherds. This year marks its 10th anniversary making a difference for discarded, ill, or surrendered dogs.
HOPE (Homeless & Orphaned Pets Endeavor)
Hope is a coalition of animal advocates who are dedicated to ending the homelessness of dogs and cats in Houston through foster to adoption, feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return, and education. The organization is totally volunteer driven and happily accepts donations towards helping care for the many animals that are abandoned or homeless in Houston.
Houston BARC Foundation
The Houston BARC Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for all animals in Houston — especially those under the care of the City of Houston’s BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions. Donations directly benefit animals sheltered at, or otherwise cared for by, BARC through purchases of medical, kennel, sanitary, and other supplies and equipment. The foundation also raises awareness about homeless and at-risk animals throughout our community and hosts community events.
Houston Humane Society
The Houston Humane Society is dedicated to providing the highest quality of life possible to animals while also working toward ending cruelty, abuse, and overpopulation of animals. They receive no outside funding and depend entirely upon donations. They host events such as pet adoptions, humane education, and a spay/neuter clinic to encourage public education and aid.
Houston PetSet is an umbrella organization that provides grants to animal welfare-related nonprofits in Houston. Through these grants, the organization seeks to end homelessness and alleviate suffering of animals. They hope to help those who are “in the trenches” on a daily basis rescuing, spaying, neutering, fostering, and adopting.
The century-old Houston SPCA is Houston’s first and largest animal protection agency in the Gulf Coast region. It provides more than a dozen vital services and programs for the community, including adoptions, 24-hour injured animal rescue ambulance, and educational programs and outreach that promote commitment to and respect for all animals to help free them from suffering, abuse, and exploitation.
K-9 Angels Rescue
K-9 Angels Rescue is committed to rescuing and rehoming shelter dogs in and around the city of Houston, regardless of their breed or their circumstance. The group seeks to address the dire need to educate the public about the effects of irresponsible breeding practices, while helping the community by alleviating overcrowding in area shelters.
K9s4COPS was formed to address the need for funding the purchase of K9s for law enforcement agencies. K9s cost around $15,000 to $25,000 per dog, and most agencies struggle when budgeting for the purchase of a service animal. What most departments can budget for, however, is the required care, training, and transportation of a K9. K9s4COPs was founded to bridge this gap and ensure that K9 cost never keeps an officer from having their K9 partner.
Rescued Pets Movement
One of Houston’s most high-profile and aggressive pet foster groups, Rescued Pets Movement provides a second chance for cats and dogs through rehabilitation, foster families, and finally, a home. Volunteers, donations, and foster families are crucial to RPM and the many animals they save each year from being euthanized. Sending animals as far away as Colorado, the group has saved more than 27,000 animal lives since 2013 and hosts an annual fundraising Fur Ball.
SAVE Rescue Coalition
Save Rescue Coalition was formed to help animal rescue groups in Houston work together to reduce the homeless pet problem. The organization is entirely led by volunteers and receives no government funding, so they depend upon help from the community to care for homeless animals in Houston.
Scout’s Honor Rescue
Scout’s Honor rescues animals from city pounds, local shelters, and the streets to provide them with a second chance in a loving home. The organization will take in animals regardless of their health or breed, but many times is limited by their funding, which prevents them from being able to save animals in need.
SIRE’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship activities and therapies, and educational outreach. The organization depends upon volunteers to assist clients both inside and outside the riding arena. Donations allow people with special needs to be partnered with SIRE’s specially trained horses, bringing about life-changing results.
The Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation
Houston Astros pitcher and fan favorite Lance McCullers Jr. is known for promoting his charity nearly as much as he does his World Series team. The young ace started the foundation to to invest time and resources into the promotion of pet adoptions, raise awareness for shelters and programs, and promote the idea of a no-kill world. McCullers and his wife Kara are hands-on leaders, hosting regular events in Houston. McCullers hopes to create a mobile pet adoption vehicle that can also be purposed as a rescue transport during natural disasters.
Westbury C.A.R.E (Compassionate Animal Rescue Efforts)
Westbury CARE addresses many of the growing animal-related problems in Houston. This includes roaming and stray animals, the trapping and neuter return of feral cats, lost and found animals, and a lack of neutering, spaying, and microchipping. CARE is completely volunteer-run and depends on fosters, volunteers, and donors to continue its critical work and connect with the Houston community through outreach and events, to help people understand the importance of caring for animals with kindness and providing pets with food, water, shelter, and love.