WHO WE ARE
Animal Advocates of Howard County is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preventing the suffering of animals in our area. Although we focus primarily on the plight of homeless pets, we are also interested in animal health, safety, and environmental issues, and promote activities which strengthen the human-animal bond. We are actively involved in legislative issues regarding animal cruelty, and also those which affect wildlife. We believe that the way animals are treated is a reflection of the quality of our society. Hundreds of members, volunteers, and supporters share in this belief and have helped us become the strongest and most respected animal welfare group in the area. We are not affiliated with the Howard County Animal Welfare Society nor any other organization including those using the term "Animal Advocates" in the name.
WHAT WE DO
We promote the adoption of pets from Howard County Animal Control ("The Shelter"). Our volunteers help to place given-up and unclaimed stray cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, and occasional reptiles into permanent homes. We do this by working in kennels and cages at the shelter exercising, socializing and showing animals to potential adopters, taking photos of the animals and delivering them on picture boards to over 90 locations in the area, and posting them on our website.
We work extensively with dozens of species, breed, and wildlife rescue groups, all of which pull animals in trouble from local shelters. We provide financial, volunteer, and administrative support to these groups, and secure temporary shelter to save countless animals each year.
We provide free spay/neuter services to income-eligible residents, and provide information regarding reduced cost services to all others. We even provide pet transportation when necessary. Our progressive program has been nationally recognized. An unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce over 420,000 additional cats in only 7 years, and an unspayed female dog and her offspring 67,000 additional dogs in 6 years. No wonder over 12 million pets are killed in our nation's shelters every year! Howard County, like most other shelter facilities, has a very small shelter and a relatively low budget for unwanted animals, and cannot afford to dedicate space and funds to animals whose birth was easily preventable.
We participate in many humane education programs for young people of all ages in schools and through other organizations. Last year, our volunteers spoke to approximately 3000 children about responsible pet care. We realize that kids have a natural empathy for animals, and by encouraging, supporting, and expanding on this interest during their early years, we can build a better future for animals, one in which all living creatures are treated with the respect they deserve.
Our educational efforts include adults as well. We offer pet selection and training advice, and professional resources for behavioral problems. We also help the public understand difficult issues such as puppy mills, so-called no-kill shelters, and humane alternatives to dealing with feral cats and wildlife.
We are recognized by several national organizations as the local affiliate when action is needed for animal welfare issues. We are a member of the Maryland Link Coalition, an organization of social and law enforcement agencies which understands that violence toward animals, spouses, and children are closely connected.
We operate an "animal helpline" and will try our best to address your questions, concerns, and issues directly, or refer you to appropriate contacts.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
We need help with all of the aforementioned activities!
Volunteering at the shelter is an emotionally rewarding, and sometimes difficult, experience. To truly understand, talk to any volunteer about the lives they have helped save. Watch their eyes light up as they tell you their favorite happy ending stories. If you decide this is not for you, or you aren't old enough (18 years of age) there are still many ways you can help such as:
Picking up and delivering adoption picture boards to local businesses once a month.
Helping with the website. Computer experience is a plus, but our volunteers are willing to train.
Assisting with our spay/neuter program. This could include hanging and rechecking our posters throughout the area, answering phone messages, or transporting an occasional pet to or from its appointment.
Participating in educating young people. You can do this as a peer, parent, teacher, Scout Leader, and/or as one of our volunteers who visit schools, camps, or religious facilities.
Answering communications from the public. Although this can be done from your home, and will be shared with others, it is a big responsibility. Because of the varied nature of inquiries, this job requires fairly extensive training from our more experienced volunteers.
If your time is limited, we have special occasion events for which you can volunteer such as our yard sale, various community fairs, Santa Claws photos, and our yearly Walk for Paws.
We are always open to new ways to reach people. Please share your ideas!
WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN
Whether you are able to give a lot, a little, or even no time to our activities, your membership is important to us. Your dues and donations help to keep our programs going! We typically meet every other month. It's okay if you can't attend, but one of the best parts of belonging to Animal Advocates of Howard County is that you will meet others who will soon become friends, and you'll have the opportunity to share information with kind and compassionate people who love animals and care about the way they are treated.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." ~Albert Schweitzer