Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter (Bozeman, Montana 59718) is a private 501(c)(3) non-profit animal shelter located in Bozeman and serving the Gallatin and Madison valleys.
Its primary service territory encompasses the area between West Yellowstone, Three Forks, and Livingston. Heart of the Valley also has contracts to serve as an impound facility for animal control officers for Gallatin County, the City of Bozeman, and the Town of West Yellowstone.
HOV handles more than 2,500 cats, dogs, and rabbits every year. The average daily census in the summer is about 300 animals (200 cats, 90 dogs, 10 rabbits). The average daily census in the winter is about 200 animals (130 cats, 65 dogs, 5 rabbits).
One of the unusual facts about HOV is that it is both an “open door” and “no kill” shelter. Most “no kill” shelters have no animal control impound contracts and are not “open door,” allowing them to turn away undesirable animals.
Being an “open door” shelter means that HOV accepts any lost, abandoned, or surrendered companion animals (cats, dogs and rabbits) from anywhere. The animals arrive at HOV for all sorts of reasons and in every imaginable condition. No matter the circumstance or condition, HOV accepts them.
Being a “no kill” shelter means that all incoming animals are given both a medical and behavioral evaluation. If they are deemed adoptable with reasonable medical and/or behavioral treatment, then they are held until they are adopted. If they are deemed unadoptable, then they are humanely euthanized. Animals are re-evaluated regularly to ensure that they remain adoptable and are maintaining a reasonable quality of life. Animals are never euthanized at HOV after an arbitrary number of days or for space.
“No kill” is a term that can be confusing because it suggests no animal is ever euthanized. However, it is a term widely used in the shelter industry and shelters that never euthanize are called animal sanctuaries. HOV is not a sanctuary.
As important as re-homing is, HOV also takes seriously its obligation to the community to ensure it does not send out animals that are sick or a danger to the community. Nobody wants to live near an aggressive dog that might bite a child or kill another dog or cat. HOV is committed to the concept that every animal that leaves HOV for a new home must be an ambassador, not a liability, for other homeless animals waiting in shelters to be adopted.
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