In memory of Tuk

Siberian Husky Rescue Site

SHCA FormsSetting up a Rescue

SHCA Rescue Committee

Suggested Guidelines


When a Club decides to start a Rescue committee, it should be willing to support it with some of the Club funds, at least as a loan until the Rescue Committee is self-supporting.  If a group chooses to start a Rescue effort separate from a breed club, it is suggested (but not required) to incorporate.

As a general rule, a rescue group should not be totally separated from a breed club willing to support a Rescue Committee.  Rescue should be an integral part of a club's purpose to preserve and protect Siberian Huskies.


Keep the organization as simple as possible.  If the rescue group is part of a club, have a chairman of the committee, a secretary to keep all records and correspondence, and a treasurer to keep accurate financial records and pay all bills.  If you incorporate separately, follow the laws of the state in which you are incorporated.

Your committee, if possible, should also consist of a person in charge of accepting dogs into your program, another person in charge of finding homes, and a third in charge of placing the dogs.

Whichever way you organize, keep the structure simple.  Spend your time, money and effort saving Siberians, not having meetings.


The rescue group should make contact with the local animal control agencies (pounds, shelters, humane societies--public and private) and get to know the personnel of these agencies.  Ask that a committee member (your person in charge of accepting dogs into your program or an alternate) be contacted if a Siberian Husky should appear in their facility.  Tell these people about the work you are doing and be sure to follow up with a letter requesting their cooperation.  Include in your letter the names and phone numbers of people your committee has authorized to pick up a dog in the rescue group's name.

Request that all Siberians be released to you as quickly as possible.  There is usually a holding period for a stray, but dogs turned in by their owners may often be turned over immediately.  (If a lack of cooperation occurs at this level, contact your local County Commissioner or the person at the next level up.)  You might find some of these agencies unwilling to work with rescue groups.  Quite often this is because a rescue group ahead of you did not perform or live up to the rules.  If you are called regarding a Siberian:  1) go to the facility, 2) check on the dog, and 3) follow up in a few days if the dog is not yet available for adoption.  After your organization becomes known in your community, you will find that people wanting to dispose of their Siberians will call you directly.  This will save the dog the trauma of what is often less than an ideal kennel situation.  IT IS THIS COMMITTEE'S FEELING THAT SHELTER ANIMALS BE GIVEN PRIORITY.  Those animals that are in immediate danger of being euthanized must be given priority over a dog whose owner no longer wants him, if you are faced with rescuing one or the other.  With the give-up you may be able to buy some time until you are able to foster the dog.


PLEASE REMEMBER THAT NOT ALL SIBERIANS ARE ADOPTABLE!  Rules will have to be made by your committee.  The SHCA Rescue Committee is not anxious to promote the current fear of dogs infecting this country by placing dogs with bad temperaments, who have not been properly socialized or are, due to unfortunate breeding practice, just plain vicious.  Bad-tempered and infirm old dogs are usually the most common causes for euthanasia.  Be sure that the people on your committee charged with evaluating the rescue dogs are capable of this judgment.  You cannot use up a place with a Siberian Husky who has a bad temperament and hope to someday change its personality while you allow others to die for lack of space.


Stray dogs that come into your rescue group should be carefully handled.  As your work becomes known, people who find a Siberian will automatically call you.  Make yourself thoroughly familiar with the laws of your city, state, and county.  As an example, in one state the law requires the dog be advertised as "found" (these ads in daily newspapers are usually free.)  If no claim or identification is made within five days, the dog then belongs to the finder.  Your group must routinely spay and neuter. However, be careful not to perform any treatment or altering except in an emergency until at least the required time has elapsed.  If the dog belongs to rescue and the owner turns up after the required time, you can return the dog, but require reimbursement by the owner for any veterinary or other care you have given.


All dogs you receive must be taken to a veterinarian and completely checked over.  (It is suggested to check first for heartworm and brucellosis--two problems which will perhaps cause you to have the dog euthanized.)  If the dog checks out negative on these two tests, have him checked for other parasites and problems.  The dog should then be brought up-to-date on all vaccinations (DA2PL, Parvo, rabies, etc.)  Neutering should then be performed if the dog is in otherwise good health.

If the dog is too emaciated to undergo neutering, it should stay in your system until the veterinarian feels this procedure to be safe.  If you rescue a puppy which is too young to be altered, you should write in a clause on your adoption contract requiring neutering as soon as the veterinarian feels is appropriate.  In this case, follow up with the new owner involved as well as the veterinarian to confirm that the surgery has been completed.  SPAYING AND NEUTERING IS A MAJOR RESPONSIBILITY OF A RESCUE COMMITTEE.

Many veterinarians will work with a rescue group.  Each committee member should approach his/her vet and discuss this problem with them.  Many will offer a discount in order to help the rescue group.  If the area you cover is large it would be advantageous to enlist the aid of several vets in various areas (possibly in the area of your foster homes, etc.)

Confirm your verbal agreement with your veterinarian in writing.  It is strongly recommended that you operate on a cash basis--better for your budget and many vets are quicker to cooperate when they know they will get paid right away.  Also, the vet has a good chance of securing new clients from your referrals.


Your committee will have to secure as many foster homes as possible from among the members of your club and other interested persons.  You can place notices in vets' offices and even advertise in your local newspaper (as you will for adoptive homes.)

Because foster homes generally have their own dogs, you must be considerate before placing a problem animal about which you know nothing.  Occasionally, a dog will display temperament problems after it goes to a foster home.  Sometimes the problem will not show up until several weeks later.  Investigate carefully.  Remember, most of the dogs you are dealing with have an unknown history.  While Siberians are, in general, a pretty stable group when it comes to temperament, there are cases where until the dog became comfortable in the new surroundings, it did not display its true attitude.

Local boarding kennels will sometimes keep rescue dogs at reduced rates.  Any foster home should be willing to keep and care for the rescued Siberian Husky for an indeterminate (within reason) period of time.  Some rescue groups provide the food and nothing more.  Some groups provide a minimal fee of perhaps $2.00 per day.  If you can pay some amount, it is advisable to do so, as it can ward off "Foster Home Burnout."  ALL FOSTER HOMES SHOULD BE EVALUATED AS TO THEIR SUITABILITY.  In any kind of foster situation, a General Foster Care Agreement should be used.


There are many ways to find homes: advertisements in your local newspaper, notices in vets' offices, newspaper feature stories, radio spots (local stations do help), your club newsletter, company bulletin boards, etc.  If you have a committee member in charge of finding homes, that person should be sure that the placement member has an updated list of all homes available and approved.

Screen your applicants CAREFULLY, have more than one person conduct an interview, and if possible do a house check of the prospective adopter.  A lot depends on the radius of your operation as well as the number of volunteers that are available for assistance.  Some rescues cover a large area which may necessitate a direct referral of an applicant to a shelter rather than physically removing the dog themselves.


A minimum charge or fee should be set by your committee for adoptions as well as give-up fees.  It seems best to have one set fee (called a Donation to Rescue).  The dogs you receive who have already been neutered, had shots, etc., will save you money that you can spend on the Siberian who has been injured or is sick.  NO SIBERIAN HUSKY SHOULD BE GIVEN AWAY unless your committee decides that the circumstances are exceptional, i.e., a healthy "oldster" who would otherwise die.  At present, rescue groups are charging between $75 and $150.  We are in favor of the lower end of the scale.

Give-up fees should be charged to those individuals that need to place their Siberian for whatever reason.  Many owners welcome this fee as it helps ease their guilt over giving up their dog, coupled with relief at not having to go to a shelter.  You will have to feed, pay foster care, neuter (in some case), etc.  Therefore, you are justified in asking for this fee.  You can be flexible with the give-up fee depending on the circumstances involved.  An already neutered and fully-vetted dog will cost less to the Rescue group than an intact, ill, or neglected dog.   $100.00 is not unreasonable in most cases.


Some paperwork is necessary.  A "Release/Surrender Form" must be filled out and signed by anyone who turns a Siberian Husky over to you.  Be sure a health record and all information relating to the dog's temperament, likes, dislikes, quirks, eating habits, history with other animals, etc., are made available.  Shelters usually have their own releases or forms, but get as much information as you can when the Siberian is picked up.  As stated in the Foster Home section, use a "Foster Care Agreement" when placing the dog in foster care. Leave a copy of the release with the foster home and keep a signed copy in your files.  "Adoption Contracts" should be filled out in duplicate, one for the new owner and one for the Rescue group.   If you make up your own forms be sure to include as much information as possible on the contract.  A release of liability and indemnification clause should be typed in bold print, capital letters, and signed by the individual/family adopting the animal.  This disclaimer of responsibility for the dog's behavior must be part of the contract.


Any financial assistance the SHCA Rescue Committee is able to offer will not begin to cover your total expense.  You must become self-reliant.  Fund raising is an absolute necessity!  If you are a Rescue stemming from a Breed Club, encourage, at least in the beginning, "seed money" to begin your rescue group.  After that the committee is obliged to become creative in their fund raising techniques.  There are many ways to raise funds, i.e., bumper stickers with a rescue slogan, raffles, greeting cards,  Chinese auctions, solicitation (where permitted), handling classes, etc.


You must continually educate the public regarding responsible dog ownership.  There are many ways to accomplish this.  Be responsible when you sell your own puppies, use spay/neuter contracts or non-breeding registration.  Along with your breed club hold mini-seminars or demonstrations on obedience training, housebreaking, crate training, etc.  Even if you are not doing rescue work, visit shelters in your area and pass out literature pertaining to the Siberian Husky.  This will make the shelter volunteers aware of the characteristics of a Siberian and enable them to pass the information along to potential owners should a Siberian enter their facility.


If your rescue committee is part of a club, hopefully club members will assist.  If you are not involved in any club or the club members are unwilling to participate in the Rescue effort, you will have to go outside your club for volunteers.  You may be able to find fanciers of your particular breed that are not club members but live in your area or community, or you may have to get in contact with an all breed rescue group.  Other possibilities are people you have sold dogs to in the past, or just a dog lover, etc.  In any case, rescue needs volunteers to make it work.

Comments and questions on the above material should be directed to the SHCA National Rescue Chairman

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