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What is an animal shelter?

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Quick Answer

An animal shelter is a place where cats, dogs and other animals are temporarily homed and offered for adoption. Animal shelters are typically supported by charitable donations.

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Animal shelters serve as temporary homes for stray, lost or surrendered animals. According to veterinary news publisher DVM360, modern animal shelters also provide veterinary care and spay and neuter surgeries, and they can offer services to people, such as pet adoption and counseling.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, organized in 1866, was the first animal welfare society in the United States. Until the 1970s, the ASPCA and other animal shelters focused on euthanasia for unclaimed animals. In recent years, however, these shelters have made greater efforts toward establishing quality-of-life standards for shelter animals.

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