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#SpotlightOnCLT Animal Welfare

#SpotlightOnCLT Animal Welfare

#SpotlightOnCLT is SHARE Charlotte’s monthly content series that highlights a different cause or issue each month (often referred to as the "theme" of the month). This series allows us to explore the crucial work being done in that particular arena by our local nonprofit partners.

This February, we’re featuring nonprofits who support Animal Welfare. We will lead a conversation, focusing our spotlight on nonprofits whose core work supports rescue, education, outreach, and advocacy of wild or domesticated animals in the Charlotte area.

What can you do?

  • Read this guide to animal nonprofits in the Charlotte area, and share with your friends.
  • Click the links below to see each nonprofit’s profile.
  • Give in ways that matter most to you. 
    • Volunteer
    • Donate
    • Shop a wishlist
    • Or simply give them a follow on social media

Everything helps.

Your Guide to Animal Welfare Nonprofits in Charlotte

Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love

Great Dane Friends of Ruff Love was born in 2009 to meet a major need in the world of rescue: the emphasis of quality of rescues instead of just quantity. Their belief is that their handling of each case should be top quality, even at the expense of time or money, so that in the long run they are able to make a larger dent in the quantity of dogs they successfully save.

Great Dane Friends helps people to:

  • Determine the right breed for their lifestyle.
  • Find healthy, compatible dogs who fit their wants and needs.
  • Find new homes for dogs whose families can no longer keep them.
  • Provide all necessary medical care to return the Dane to good health.

Current Need: They can always use volunteers to help with transports, phone calls and processing applications. 

Stand for Animals Veterinary Clinic

Stand for Animals provides affordable veterinary care and spay neuter to prevent animal surrender and euthanasia. Their Medical Assistance Fund provides subsidies to pet owners who need assistance providing treatment for their pet.  

In 2023 they received a grant to fix and vaccinate 1000 pit bulls a year.  Pit bulls are surrendered and euthanized in local shelters at greater numbers than any other breed of dog.  Fixing and vaccinating these dogs will hopefully dramatically decrease the numbers in local shelters. In conjunction with the program they formed a partnership with CMACC and provide certificates for free veterinary care for the shelters longest standing residents. 

Current Need: They do not accept volunteers unless they are willing to commit to a consistent day and time so they can be appropriately trained (we are a medical facility).  We can always use blankets, towels, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and pet food for our pantry.

Agape Acres

 Agape Acres exists to pair vulnerable and special needs youth with a trained mentor and rescue horse to find hope, love, and encouragement. Their horses are rescued due to abuse, neglect, old age, or health issues.  They may have been deemed un-useful or unwanted by others, but they are precious and are given a second chance and a new purpose at Agape Acres.  They rehabilitate injured, sick, or unhealthy horses as they are able.

Impact Story: Pebbles, an older paint pony, came to Agape Acres in severe pain from laminitis (a condition that can be caused by the wrong diet, including too much sugar, or too much grass).  It causes intense pain and swelling in the horse's hooves.  In the worst stages, it makes it unbearable for a horse to walk and bear weight on their feet. Pebble's previous owners loved her, but they did not know how to take care of her. She was living with their goats, and she had been quickly deteriorating. 

The day Pebbles was brought to us she laid down in pain unable to get up to eat or drink.  We called the vet prepared to do the kindest thing for her in her situation (if we were not able to give her relief). We gave her the best pain medicine and care we could and the vet said to give her another day to see if she had the will to live and get better.  With each visit the vet said to give her another day...With each day, Pebbles continued to improve.  

After two weeks she was up and walking around regularly.  Today, Pebbles is no longer in pain and runs and plays with her horse friends as well as her human ones. Agape Acres gave Pebbles a second chance and a new life as a happy and healthy horse!

Current Need: Donations, please! Caring for horses (especially special needs horses) is extremely expensive.  Our small organization depends on generous donors. We are currently fully volunteer- run, so all donations go directly to the care of the horses and our program.

Bright Side Youth Ranch

Bright Side Youth Ranch exists to inspire the next generation toward hope. They work with ages 8 to 18 who are dealing with crisis and trauma and point them towards hope and healing by partnering them with a mentor and a horse. 

All of their horses have a story to tell and become connecting points for the kids and teens that come to the ranch. Some of their horses have experienced abuse, abandonment, or neglect, which is not too different from the stories of some of their participants. Some of the other horses are no longer able to perform their previous roles or jobs due to health issues, physical limitations, or injuries, so they get to give and receive love at Bright Side.

Impact Story: One of their participants was abused sexually by a relative and struggled with so many layers of pain and emotions. From the moment she arrived at the ranch seeking help, she was drawn to one of thier largest horses. That horse had been hit on her face and abused before a friend of the ranch found her and rescued her. Together, the horse and the girl found a deep connection that grew from an understanding. The horse was able to give the girl hope that she can find a way to move forward in her growth and healing.

Current Need: We love volunteers and have lots of different opportunities to get involved.

Friends of Feral Felines

Friends of Feral Felines is an all-volunteer organization on a mission to improve the lives of community cats through Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return (TNVR).  They are also committed to educating the public about stray and feral community cats, how to best help these unowned cats live healthier lives, and the importance of spaying and neutering.

Friends of Feral Felines partners with citizens who care by providing education, mentorship, and support through email, a phone hotline, social media, and a website about Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return so community cats live healthier lives.  

FFF also provides spay/neuter subsidies and financial assistance for injury/illness and crisis care of community cats to ensure that unowned community cats are able to receive vet care.  

In 2023, FFF helped subsidize the spay/neuter and vaccination services of 1,530 community cats - 909 were female cats, and 621 were male cats.  We were able to prevent a MINIMUM of 5,454 unnecessary kitten births to outdoor mom cats in and around Charlotte, NC, in 2023.  (909 female spays × 6 the minimum number of kittens from 1 female cat per year = 5,454)  If these unowned cats had not been spayed/neutered and vaccinated, thousands and thousands of kittens would have been born outside to suffer and/or would enter the already crowded shelter and rescue systems.

Current Need: To ensure that community cats are able to receive spay/neuter and vaccination services at local clinics, Friends of Feral Felines' greatest need is monetary donations so they can continue to provide financial subsidies to help community members care for community cats.  They also ask that community members advocate for these unowned community cats, the importance of Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, and Return (TNVR), and low-cost spay/neuter in our community.

Wildlife Rescue of Charlotte

WRC rescues, rehabilitates & releases local native wildlife that is sick, injured and/or orphaned.  They also rescue & rehome discarded exotic pets. They took in 292 animals in 2023 and over 400 animals in 2022.

Current Need: In addition to always needing donations they always need new foster homes for domestic rabbits.  It also helps to follow them on social media and share their posts.  They do $5 Fridays where they encourage people to donate just $5 and Wishlist Wednesdays where they share the items they need the most from their Amazon Wishlist.

Pit Stop Ferret Center

To provide quality care for ferrets in need during a pit stop on the journey to their forever home. PSFC provides a service to the ferret community that is not served by the traditional animal rescues. Ferrets require specific care and enrichment.  They strive to connect owners looking to rehome directly to qualified adopters. If the owner can not safely care for the ferret until a home can be found, they have a limited number of spaces available in their micro-rescue center.

Current Need: They do not have volunteer opportunities as they are a home-based micro-rescue.  Sharing their social media or giving donations are the best way to support them.

Tails of the Unwanted

They rescue dogs and cats from high kill shelters and from our community when their owner can no longer care for them. They are a foster based rescue.

Volunteer Story: ” I adopted my dog, Captain, from TotU.  About a year after his adoption they made a post saying they needed help - I responded and 5 years later, I’m still helping.”

Current Need: We currently have a See’s Candie’s fundraiser going on. Volunteering for TotU may look different for different people. They are open to all ideas and suggestions. There is always room for more help!

Hearts United for Good

The goal of our organization is to serve our community with dedication, compassion, integrity, and love. Their mission is to not only provide support; but to also focus on creating avenues of prevention and sustainable solutions.

Their Animal Welfare Program involves canvassing the neighborhoods of Charlotte identifying dogs living chained, tethered, or run (unfortunately technically legal) inhumane conditions, and working with the owner to educate them on proper care and treatment - along with building a free, large enclosure for the pets to run in and enjoy the quality of life they deserve. They also provide food, toys, vet care assistance (when funding allows), straw (for colder weather), and tarps (for summer shade).

This program also works closely with Mecklenburg County's Street Outreach group to help support the pets of our shelter-less neighbors. They work to help register Service/Therapy dogs rating to housing opportunities, and regularly provide food and vet care whenever possible to ensure their health and safety.

Additionally, they were recently featured on The Dodo for their efforts in consistently rescuing dogs about to be euthanized simply for space - instead bringing them to their offices to decompress, rest, socialize, and become their best selves in a comfortable environment so that they can get them adopted to their perfect forever homes!

Current Need: They are looking for individuals to help drive their animal welfare program even further in our service efforts. They are hoping for people with patience, good social skills, and an unconditional love for animals to help us work with local owners to improve the lives of their pets. They are also welcoming anyone interested in helping to build fences on weekends when they have client approval, and volunteers to help transport pets en route to adoption.

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of migratory birds, as well as the adoption of domestic birds surrendered or placed in wild habitats where they wouldn’t survive.  They also accept wild and domestic reptiles, and farm animals.

Volunteer Story: Founder Jennifer Gordon started CWR in 2003 when she saw a growing need for helping birds in the Charlotte area. Licensed for all migratory birds, except raptors, CWR receives birds from all over the eastern US. CWR has gone from helping 300 birds its first year to helping over 7,000 animals in 2023.

Current Need: CWR is 100% donation-run and receives no government funding of any kind. This means animals receive medical care, but also incubation, species-specific food, species-specific simulated habitats and housing, and hours of volunteer and staff labor.

The public’s financial generosity enables them to stay in operation. Donations can be in the form of volunteering your time too! More than 80% of their workforce are volunteers. 

They have a few community outreach events slated for Spring 2024, including a Pint Night fundraiser at Suffolk Punch Brewing at SouthPark Mall on Monday, February 12 from 5:30 PM. $1 from each pint purchased will be donated to the animals!

The Humane Society of Charlotte

To champion the wellbeing of companion animals and strengthen their bond with the people who know, love, and need them.

At HSC, they believe every animal deserves a loving home and a happy life. They’re more than just the four walls of the Animal Resource Center; they’re a passionate community dedicated to preventing pet homelessness, providing compassionate care, and assisting those who need our services most. 

They offer low-cost spay/neuter services, support community members with their Pet Food Bank, and operate a low-cost essential care wellness clinic. They also provide training and behavior support to keep pets in their homes and enrich the lives of animals in their shelter. Their foster and adoption programs help animals find loving families, while transfer partnerships with municipal shelters expand their reach across surrounding communities. Through education programs, volunteer opportunities, and advocacy efforts, they raise awareness and inspire action for animal welfare. Join us in making a difference, one paw at a time!

Current Need: Always onboarding new volunteers! 

Event: They have Plates for Paws coming up on 2/7 and Pet Palooza on 4/6!

Charlotte Black Dogs

Mission: To work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote adoptions and bring awareness to Black Dog Syndrome.

Black Dogs have the lowest adoption rate and the highest euthanasia rate than any other color dog in the shelter.  Charlotte Black Dogs is dedicated to leveling the playing field for Black Dogs.

Big upcoming event! Paws in the Park on April 13, 2024 at Pineville Lake Park

Share With Us!

We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!