Frequently Asked Questions

IS RCHS a no-kill shelter?

While RCHS policies and practices about euthanasia are the same as most no-kill shelters we choose to not use that term. RCHS does not euthanize animals who are adoptable regardless of length of stay or space available in the shelter. When we do decide to put an animal down, it is because of illnesses that cannot be easily treated and/or are a threat to other animals or because of aggressive behavior that could present a danger to adopters and the community.

Why isn’t RCHS no-kill?

It is our belief that it is cruel to cage an animal for the rest of his life if he cannot be placed in a home. We also must protect other shelter animals and the people and pets in the community from an animal that comes in with a serious illness or severe aggression. Making the decision to euthanize an animal is always difficult. Staff who must put an animal down do so in the most gentle and caring way possible.

Is Rutland County Humane Society part of the Humane Society of the United States or connected to other humane societies? Is RCHS a government organization?

RCHS is a private non-profit organization serving Rutland County Vermont. Although we interact and when appropriate work with other Humane Societies including national ones, we are not a branch of them or governed by them, etc. While the shelter is licensed by the Department of Agriculture, we are not a government agency. Donated money is used locally to save animals.

Then where does RCHS get the Funds to operate?

We rely on donations, fees for services, and fund raising activities to bring in the income to run the shelter 365 days a year and to provide programs to the community that benefit animals and people.

Does the Government provide funds for RCHS?

We do not receive any federal or state funds. We do receive some funding from local towns either to provide contracted services or as a charitable contribution.

Is RCHS a volunteer organization?

RCHS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and operated by paid staff. Volunteers do a tremendous amount of work at RCHS and are very much appreciated.

How many animals does RCHS care for at the shelter?

At any given time there may be 50 to 120 animals at the shelter. Summer is our busiest season as most cats give birth between March and October and their kittens are brought to us. Although many people think dogs when they think of the shelter, in fact 70% of the more than 1,400 animals who come in are felines, 29% are canines and 1% are birds, rabbits or rodents. We do not take in reptiles or exotic pets.

Isn’t it true that animals are put down after 5 days if no one adopts them?

This is a common myth that is often seen on TV shows that use this in their story line. We will keep an adoptable animal as long as it takes to find a home for it. Some cats have been with us for over a year, some dogs for 6 or more months. Although some shelters and pounds in high population areas must set a time limit, we do not.

Why does RCHS charge a fee to adopt a pet?

Adoptions fees help pay for the care of all shelter animals. Every cat, dog and rabbit that goes up for adoption is spayed or neutered and given vaccinations. Although it may seem costly, if a person cannot afford the fee, how will they pay for food, supplies and most importantly, veterinary care for the pet?

When considering whether to adopt from the shelter or get a free pet, consider that the shelter has provided the spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations, saving you more than the adoption fee. Currently there is no set fee to adopt an adult cat- a donation is accepted in lieu of a fee.

What is the purpose of all the questions during the adoption process?

RCHS wants to make sure that the animal you select is a good match to your family, home environment and lifestyle. We do our best to determine if the dog or cat will be good with kids or other pets. Does this animal need a family who is active and will see that it gets enough exercise? Will they be home enough to provide the companionship the animal needs?

We try to reduce the possibility that the animal will be returned, although there are always unknowns. Sometimes a behavior develops in a home that we do not see at the shelter.

Do you ever deny an adoption?

Sometimes, but what we are usually saying is not this animal or not at this time. If other animals in the household haven’t been to see a vet in a year or if the person wants an animal that isn’t appropriate for their household we are likely to say no. There are other reasons we might deny an adoption and we reserve the right to do so.

Does RCHS pick up strays?

RCHS accepts stray animals from citizens and Animal Control Officers but does not go out and “catch” them.

Is it true most shelter animals have issues with behavior?

While some of our animals have been neglected they are still eager to please, well behaved and very affectionate. We will give you tips on dealing with any quirks we have seen in their behavior and will answer questions after the adoption should new ones arise. Many animals come from good homes who are just no longer able to care for them.

Does RCHS have “Animal Cops”?

RCHS takes calls concerning animals who maybe neglected, abused or treated cruelly and our humane agent investigates these calls. We then work with law enforcement and, when appropriate, charge a person with criminal neglect, abuse or cruelty. Animal abuse is defined by law and often what you or we may think is neglect does not meet the legal standard. Often these matters can be resolved by educating the person about animal care.

If I surrender an animal or bring in a stray, will I ever be allowed to adopt again?

Bringing in a stray has no impact on your ability to adopt. While surrendering an owned animal must be considered in the adoption process, it does not completely eliminate your ability to adopt a pet in the future.

Does RCHS provide veterinary services like spay/neuter surgery or vaccinations?

RCHS does not have a veterinarian on staff. We are generously served by local veterinarians who donate their time to examine and provide other clinical services for animals who are going up for adoption.

What does it cost to surrender an animal?

There is no fee. We know that most people who are surrendering do so because money is a problem. We would much rather have the animal come to us than to have it abandoned. While a donation is always appreciated, it is not required. What we do ask is that you provide us with accurate and complete information on the animal. Appointments must be made in order to make certain we have the room to take the animal in.

A complete list of RCHS programs is available on this website.