SAFE Haven Cat Shelter and Clinic (SAFE Haven) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit no-kill animal shelter working very hard to help homeless cats and kittens throughout the great state of North Carolina (NC), USA.
SAFE Haven was founded in 1994 by Pamela Miller who still serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Under Ms. Miller’s guidance, and with the help of selfless volunteers, SAFE Haven has performed over 12,700 spay or neutering surgeries and rescued more than 5,300 animals. SAFE Haven has humble beginnings, armed with a steadfast desire to make a difference and help animals, Ms. Miller’s first action was to convert her garage to serve as a shelter for the cats and kittens, and to this day still is the only no-kill animal shelter in Raleigh, NC. SAFE Haven serves communities beyond the city of Raleigh to include Wake, Durham and Franklin counties—a population of nearly 1.3 million residents and a land mass of 1,642 square miles. I wanted to learn more about this great group and all of the work that they do, so I visited with my friend Teresa Nichols, who serves as SAFE Haven’s Communications and Development Manager.
Mission and Programs
“Here at SAFE Haven,” said Teresa as she greeted me enthusiastically upon my arrival, “our philosophy is to always keep with our mission through whatever activity we participate in and do. SAFE Haven’s mission is to ensure the well-being of every cat through adoption, affordable spay and neuter services, community outreach and adherence to no-kill principles.” That is a commendable and large mission—it takes a lot of resources to meet the needs of such a comprehensive mission; SAFE Haven is a very agile and forward-thinking organization, up to the task of helping save as many cats and kittens as possible. “Yes, Mattie, that’s right, here at SAFE Haven we have several different community outreach programs,” offered Teresa. “One of the most popular activities is the C.A.T.S. (Cat Advocacy Traveling Show) program, where we take cats into senior living facilities. We usually provide education and some time for the elderly residents to spend time and bond with the cats. Also, we also started a Pet Food Pantry (PFP) for individuals who cannot afford to feed their animals. We have served over 50 families and over 100 cats and dogs through the PFP program—the goal is to keep families together regardless of their ability to pay.”
“Sadly Mattie,” said Teresa, “our county is still a very high euthanasia area—we at SAFE Haven do everything we can to help change this. There is not a great local understanding of the issues of overpopulation and the need for spay and neutering animals. We work every day to educate the public more on these issues. We collaborate with local shelter staff to help advance our no-kill objectives and we take cats from them whenever possible. They will also contact us if they have a particular medical case since they know we have a veterinarian (Dr. Betsy King, D.V.M.) on staff. Additionally, we worked closely with the county shelter to get the TNR (trap-neuter-return) ordinance passed that would reduce the euthanasia of feral cats.” This approach helps to make SAFE Haven spay and neuter program a big success. SAFE Haven’s spay and neuter clinic is open five days a week and currently performs nine surgeries a day. SAFE Haven has plans to expand its services to that of a ‘”high-volume model” so that by the end of June 2013, they will be able to perform 20 spay and neutering surgeries per day. “We work with several local voucher programs and offer a ‘$20 Fix,’ through various SPCA vouchers,” offered Teresa. Also, SAFE Haven is a literal safe haven for feral cats—offering an affordable TNR program, that also includes education and guidance on managing a community cat colony.
Adopting and Getting Involved
As we walk inside SAFE Haven I notice all of the happy cats and kittens who are eagerly waiting for adoption. Adopting an animal is one of the most rewarding, life-altering decisions you can make—it is recommended that if you are looking to adopt, take your time to get to know the animal; the highest rate of success comes from making a fully informed decision with the intent of lifetime commitment. “SAFE Haven has a wonderful adoption program—our adoption counselors are highly trained to help identify an adopter’s desires and needs and find a cat or kitten that exhibits the most likely match,” said Teresa. Sometimes, for many different reasons, you may not be able to physically have an animal in your life—and that is okay too, your virtual support and love of animals in need of adoption is still needed. SAFE Haven has a great option that allows for “sponsoring” a cat—through sponsorship you can help defray the costs associated with the care and feeding of an animal that touches your heart. Take a peek at the cats that are waiting for sponsorship and adoption—they are lovely, wonderful and worth your time and attention.
SAFE Haven does so much for so many with so little—they have great programs that emphasis spay and neutering, exposing humans and animals to one another in safe and loving atmospheres, teaches children how to properly handle animals, works to mitigate feral cat populations, provides discounted services to those in need, holds rabies and microchip clinics and re-homes cats and kittens through various adoption services. SAFE Haven is able to do all of this great work by having highly dedicated staff and volunteers who give of themselves so that animals will get a better life. “We always have need of volunteers,” said Teresa. “If any of your readers are in the Raleigh, NC area, please encourage them to get involved.” SAFE Haven has a lot of ways to get involved, check out some of their current volunteer opportunities by clicking here—also, SAFE Haven has a great need for foster homes for adult cats and underage kittens and hospice care takers.
Kudos and Thanks
If you’d like to learn more about SAFE Haven please visit their website, Like them on Facebook and tweet them on Twitter at @SAFEHaven4Cats and check out its heart-warming YouTube videos. Please reach out and thank SAFE Haven for all their hard work and commitment to helping animals—on behalf of The Anipal Times, we are indebted to you, SAFE Haven Cat Shelter and Clinic!
Read “Rescue Me” to tour the world and meet some great people and organizations dedicated to sparing the lives of animals. If you know of an individual, group or organization that could be featured in “Rescue Me,” please email me mattiedog AT anipaltimes DOT com or @MattieDog on Twitter.