Chatham’s CARE focuses on rescue, responsible pet ownership

Posted 3/8/19

With more than 30 volunteers working on a daily basis to help care for and support animals, Chatham Animal Rescue & Education is an animal shelter without a physical shelter. This week, we speak …

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Chatham’s CARE focuses on rescue, responsible pet ownership

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With more than 30 volunteers working on a daily basis to help care for and support animals, Chatham Animal Rescue & Education is an animal shelter without a physical shelter. This week, we speak with CARE’s Executive Director, Bridget Roy, about pet ownership, the uniqueness of CARE and its low-cost spay/neuter program. CARE is a nonprofit animal welfare organization whose mission is to ensure the health and safety of all dogs and cats in Chatham County. CARE promotes responsible pet ownership by educating the community, providing targeted spay/neuter programs, and fostering homeless cats and dogs until they are placed in loving, permanent homes. CARE foster caregivers provide loving, stable homes to homeless cats and dogs, helping them become the best possible pets for their future forever families. Roy is a proud Chatham County resident and lives here with her husband, young son, two dogs and two horses. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Old Dominion University and has enjoyed a career in non-profit administration and leadership for more than 10 years in both small and large organizations. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and horseback riding. CARE works with the Chatham County Animal Shelter to save the lives of unwanted cats and dogs, manages feral cat colonies, and serves as an educational resource. CARE’s Lillie’s Fund is a targeted spay/neuter program, subsidizing sterilization surgeries for pets owned by lower income families in Chatham County. CARE has served the community since 1975 and relies on individual and corporate donors for support.

What does responsible pet ownership look like?

Above and beyond anything else, responsible pet ownership looks like a healthy relationship. Our pets look to us for companionship and care, not unlike the humans in our lives. Our pets look to us for care, protection and teaching. As family members we should be doing our part to provide a healthy balanced diet, providing medical care when it is required — annual vaccines and on-going veterinary care and making sure that our pets are spayed or neutered, to help protect them from unwanted behaviors and costly health issues. In addition to these protections, CARE is a strong advocate of microchipping your pets. Microchipping offers some of the best protection of finding your pet in the event that they get lost. It’s quick to do and offers a lifetime of protection. Pets need attention, love, exercise and stimulation; providing for these needs is a critical element of responsible pet ownership. These needs should be individualized for each pet and any questions about how to best support your pets needs should be directed to your vet or other expert, such as a trainer, when appropriate.

Part of that is to spay/neuter your pet — can you discuss your low-cost program?

CARE is proud to offer “Lillie’s Fund,” a low-cost option for spay/neuter to the Chatham County community. Now through May we are offering a “Three for Free” campaign, qualifying households are eligible for up to three female pets to be spayed with no out-of-pocket expense. In addition to our “Three for Free” campaign, we offer a low cost spay/neuter program on an on-going basis. This program has a $20 co-pay per pet for qualifying families. We work with several vets in Chatham county and are excited to be bringing SNAP-NC, a mobile low cost spay/neuter vet clinic, back to Chatham County as well. Our low-cost program does not have weight limits on the animals that can be accepted and provides all appropriate medications as prescribed by the veterinarians that we work with. In addition to spay/neuter services, we are able to include several vaccines and microchip as well. For more information, email

CARE has a no-kill philosophy. Can you speak to that, and how you manage it?

Yes, CARE has a no-kill philosoph; our volunteers are incredibly dedicated to providing for the animals in our care. As an organization we have a close relationship with the Chatham County Animal Shelter, and work to support them with their on-going needs for support. The county shelter is an “open admission” shelter, meaning that if an animal comes in, they need to admit it. CARE is a privately-funded organization; all of our support comes from individual and local business donors. We are not an open-admission facility. Our capacity is restricted by the availability of foster caregiver homes. Given the nature of the county shelter, we primarily reserve the space in our foster homes for those animals at the shelter that are in the most need, including animals such as those with health issues requiring intervention, feral cats, pregnant animals or young puppies or kittens that the shelter is not able to care for.

What else makes CARE unique?

CARE is a rescue organization that runs primarily on volunteers, with more than 30 volunteers working on a daily basis to provide care and support to our animals. We do not have a physical shelter but our adoptable animals all live with foster caregivers so they get to know these animals exceptionally well. Given the intimacy of this relationship, our caregivers are able to be diligent in helping families not just adopt any pet, but adopt a pet that is right for their family. Our caregivers give careful consideration to how much exercise a pet needs, is it a pet that is safe to live in an environment with small children? Our goal is that every pet we place is finding its “fur-ever” home. Sometimes our matching process does take a bit longer than other rescues, but our adopters know that they have lots of support from the foster and resource team, should the need ever arise. All of our adoptable animals are fully vetted, spay/neutered and microchipped before going home!

In addition to supporting the Chatham County shelter, CARE is proud to offer educational programming to local school districts. We believe that responsible pet ownership starts at a young age and we want to help foster that respect. Programming is catered to 4th grade classrooms and is offered to local organizations throughout the county. CARE prioritizes care for all companion animals within the county so we also provide support and supervision for several feral cat communities within the county. The cats are trapped, spay/neutered and vaccinated and then returned to their homes. These efforts allow us to reduce the number of feral cats coming into the shelter while still supporting population control and health of the animals.

CARE has a number of special events on the horizon. Can you talk about them?

We are so excited about the “Great American Pawdown” that we’re hosting on May 19 at the Chatham Agricultural Center. It will be an afternoon of country western fun, good local BBQ and great music! It’s a family friendly event with activities for everyone! Admission is $20/adult ($25 at the door) and includes a delicious BBQ lunch. Tickets can be purchased through our website or our Facebook page and go on sale on March 15.

In addition to the Great American Pawdown, we are bringing back Yappy Hour at Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro again this year. Yappy Hour is held from 5:30-7:30 on the third Monday of March, April, May, June, September, October and November on the patio. Tickets are $10 at the door and include a Yappy Hour gift and two beverage tickets. This event is weather dependent, so check our Facebook page for any updates.

We have a great year planned and are excited to be adding more events to the calendar this year, we encourage anyone to check our website or Facebook page for all of our latest updates!


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