So you Want to Start an Animal Sanctuary?

April 30, 2021

You’re passionate about helping animals and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty. So starting an animal sanctuary seems like a natural fit — or is it? There’s a lot to love about giving critters of all kinds a new start, but opening an animal sanctuary isn’t the only way to help animals. Here’s what Amber’s Pampered Pets wants you to know about starting an animal sanctuary, along with other ways you can make a difference for animals in need.

Are you looking for the best pet care for your critter in South Bend? Amber’s Pampered Pets offers a variety of services to give your pet tons of love and affection when you can’t be there, whether for an afternoon or an evening. Get in touch by emailing us to learn more or to book your appointment!

Starting an Animal Sanctuary

Many animal lovers dream of opening a sanctuary where they can give abandoned, abused, and neglected animals the care they deserve. But what does it really take to start this type of organization?

Successful animal sanctuaries run on more than good intentions. Before starting this journey, make sure you have the skills, resources, and resilience the job requires.
Best Friends Animal Society has a step-by-step guide to starting an animal sanctuary, including zoning, licensing, and insurance considerations.
Most rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries operate as 501(c)(3) nonprofits. However, you don’t have to organize as a nonprofit to fundraise. LLCs, corporations, and other business entities can fundraise with fiscal sponsorship.
Very small organizations may form as an LLC instead of a nonprofit to take advantage of the much simpler requirements. Forming an LLC in Indiana only requires naming your company, appointing a registered agent, and paying the associated fees — all of which can be accomplished online.
Succession planning and contingency planning are critical pieces of any sanctuary or shelter’s business plan. Who will take over when you’re no longer able to provide for the animals in your care?

Ways to Help Pets in Your Community

Maybe running an animal sanctuary isn’t for you — and that’s ok! There’s still a lot you can do to help animals in your community.

Residents can connect with other local volunteer opportunities through the United Way of St. Joseph County.
Donate — in addition to local animal rescues, there are a number of national and international organizations that deserve your support.
Speak out. From reporting animal neglect and abuse to advocating for animal welfare legislation at the state and national level, advocating for homeless pets doesn’t have to cost a thing but makes a big difference.

How to Get Involved in Farm Animal Rescue

Are you passionate about ending factory farming? If you’re committed to helping farm animals, here’s where to start.

Fight back against factory farming by cutting out factory-farmed foods, supporting legislation that protects farm animals, and opposing the construction or expansion of factory farms in your area.
Volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary. You can use Vegan Navigator to find a farm sanctuary near you, but know that many of these organizations don’t require you to be a vegan to volunteer with them.
Adopt a farm animal. The Farm Animal Adoption Networkfinds safe, permanent homes for rescued farm animals.
If your home isn’t cut out for farm animals, sponsor an animal at your local rescue instead.


For some of us, starting a farm sanctuary is our calling. However, that’s far from the only way to help animals. Whether you want to reduce the number of homeless pets in your community or put an end to factory farming, there’s a way that YOU can make a meaningful difference for animals.

Jessica Brody

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