07.19.2018

Portal – wording for stray, owner surrender, etc.


  • We don’t speculate or go into great detail about an animal’s life before being rescued. Negative details fuel the misconception that all shelter animals are broken or have a dark past, and feeling sorry for an animal or angry at past owners won’t get them adopted- a positive connection will!
  • If the pet was surrendered, we share that info without saying or implying anything negative about the surrendering owner. Part of PAWS’ mission is to support and assist struggling pet owners, so that means that we take a nonjudgmental approach.
    • When in doubt: “their owner was no longer able to care for them”
  • Most PAWS animals came from ACCT, the city’s open-intake animal control shelter, where their lives are in danger when too many animals come in and space runs out. ACCT is PAWS’ primary rescue partner and they work very hard to save as many animals as they can, so we do not say or imply negative things about them. We focus on the positive; for example, we do not say the animal came from a “kill shelter,” but we do say that PAWS saved its life.
  • Examples of wording to use for strays:
    • Found as a stray in Frankford
    • Found wandering the streets in Kensington
    • Found fending for himself on the streets of South Philly