How did your organization get started?
The story of Safe Haven for Animals, Inc. began in 2004, when a small group of dedicated animal lovers decided to try to make a dent in the statistics of everyday tragedy. The Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area has a startling euthanasia rate for dogs and cats—an average of over 1,000 animals are put to death every week for lack of adequate housing space.
Safe Haven for Animals became incorporated, and started a no-kill foster and adoption program to help as many animals as possible find homes. Safe Haven pledges to supply a place for rescued animals to live out their natural lives, in a cage-free environment, without fear of euthanasia. For Safe Haven, euthanasia is only an option if an animal is suffering from a painful or debilitating medical condition with little to no chance of improvement in their quality of life; behavioral issues, treatable conditions, or space are never justifications for euthanasia. With that philosophy, the founders of Safe Haven for Animals worked to realize the ultimate dream of operating a sanctuary for homeless animals.
In the first two years of existence (2004 to 2006), Safe Haven for Animals’ founders developed a foster and adoption program, took classes on starting an animal sanctuary, attained IRS nonprofit status as a 501c(3) public charity, and began to look towards the goal of operating a sanctuary facility.
In late 2006, Safe Haven for Animals heard a cry for help: a small, privately run cat shelter in Scottsdale had lost its primary caretaker and source of funding. This shelter, unofficially named “SOS Kitty,” had been operating for many years and was funded almost entirely by local benefactor and community figure Chris Pischke and his partner Tracy Petefish. Upon Chris’s death in October 2006, the shelter and its residents were left with no benefactor and needed help to survive. Out of this tragedy, Safe Haven for Animals created hope; the cats that were left behind continued to have sanctuary, and Safe Haven was able to fulfill its pledge to help homeless animals.
Today, Safe Haven for Animals is a cage-less, no-kill shelter located in Scottsdale, Arizona, providing care for approximately 60 cats at any given time, with the population increasing significantly during kitten season. Annually, Safe Haven is able to find homes for an average of 120 animals.
What is your mission?
Our primary objective is to place every companion animal in a loving, safe home. The animals received at Safe Haven’s shelter which are not adopted will always have food, shelter, veterinary care, love, and a safe place to live out their lives. Safe Haven for Animals is an entirely volunteer run organization; there are no paid staff members, only dedicated animal lovers working hard to make a difference in the lives of homeless animals.
How do most of your animals find their way to you?
We work within the animal rescue network in Arizona to support the people that are on the front lines rescuing animals day in and day out. Almost all of our cats come from other rescues that need assistance with placement, including the County and other government animal control agencies.
What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
They have a pretty sweet life for homeless cats! We operate a cage-free sanctuary where the cats have a close approximation to a normal housecat’s life. It is a private residence that has been converted to a cat sanctuary; no humans live there anymore, but we have a dedicated group of volunteers that care for the cats every day. All of our cats are available for adoption, and we are committed to caring for them as long as it takes. Sometimes they are with us for years, and we are home to them until their forever home comes along.
Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
Brother was born with a severe deformity of his back legs and spine. He has no idea that he is “disabled.”
This amazing kitty gets along just fine with only two functioning legs. He just puts his hiney in the air and zooms around on his front legs. He can also climb cat towers and plays like a normal cat, with no trouble whatsover. Brother is the welcoming ambassador in our cat sanctuary, and is always the first to make friends with a new kitty. He also makes human friends fast, and won’t let you walk through his room without acknowledging him!