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466: Pet Homes

Pound or Purebreed?


Full episode script

Owning up here: I had no idea, when this question was written, the differences between a pound, a shelter, and a rescue. I also had no idea that “pound” could be considered a derogatory term to refer to shelters and rescues. So, right up front, thank you Jenna for correcting me on this one.

So, what are the differences?

A pound, usually, is the facility where municipal animal control will take pets and animals that are picked up. These facilities, most often, are not intended for long-term care of pets, and may or may not have adoption available.

A shelter, on the other hand, is one of a variety of facilities that houses and cares for animals that may be adoptable. Some of these shelters provide training, veterinary care, and other services. I’ve seen several examples, including here in Spokane, where the quote-unquote pound is a contracted service provided by a not-for-profit shelter instead. The most well-known organization here is the Humane Society.

Finally, rescues are usually also not-for-profit organizations — though some do operate on a for-profit basis — that are sometimes housed in individual’s homes. Rescues often also focus on specific breeds, types of animals, or populations, and have become more popular as pets are shipped around the country for adoption.

Much like the differences in these several kinds of homes for pets without homes, there are several kinds of quote-unquote purebreds. There are plenty of types of breeders, ethical and not– and that doesn’t even begin to get in to the difference between American Kennel Club registered pets and pets purchased but not papered.

The one thing that is for sure — there are millions of beloved pets, and the ASPCA estimates that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.