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What does it mean to be an "Open Door, Open Heart" Animal Shelter?

We are Indian River County’s only open admission animal shelter. That’s an important distinction. It clearly sets us apart from every other Shelter in the area.




Vero Thrift Shop moves — next door!

After years located at  4445 20th Street, our Vero Beach Thrift Store has moved — to 4445 20th Street.

Yes, we're right next door, in the space formerly occupied by Big Lots! This larger space gives us extra room to showcase our many treasures and bargains.

We'll have a Grand Re-opening Celebration (and Sale) on Sunday, April 27 from 12 Noon until 4 PM. This sale will also be our annual Look For Less Fashion event, where top-of-the-line fashions appear on our racks at unbelievable prices. So, plan to be there.

«Download a special event flyer» and mark your calendar. We'll see you on April 27!

But, do our friends and supporters really understand what these words mean? Please take a minute and learn why the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County is so vitally important.

What is an Open Admission Animal Shelter?

HSVB&IRC is an open admission — or open door — animal shelter.


You can help us spread the word.

People are often surprised when they learn how our "Open Door, Open Heart" shelter fills such an important role in compassionate care for animals who cannot speak for themselves. We've provided a two-page "fact sheet" which you can «download» and share with others who will appreciate knowing why HSVB&IRC 's work is vital.


We like to refer to ourselves as the “Open Door, Open Heart” Shelter.

In short, it means that we will not turn away ANY animal that comes to our doors.

What happens after animals are admitted to HSVB&IRC?

Many healthy, good-natured dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, and other animals come to our shelter for adoption — and we never place a time limit on how long they can stay here. We assess each animal’s health and provide appropriate medical care through our staff veterinarians. We provide spaying or neutering. We evaluate every dog or cat’s personality so marginally adoptable animals can find homes where their temperaments will not be an issue. For more serious behavioral concerns, our trainers and animal behaviorists tirelessly work to remedy problems which could render an animal unadoptable. We take extraordinary steps to make certain every animal can be adopted. Still, at times, animals come to our shelter who are too sick, too severely injured, or too aggressive or behaviorally unsound to be adopted out into the community.

In these situations, we strongly believe that euthanasia is the most humane alternative to an existence of suffering and pain or being limited to life in a cage.

How does that make us different?

While open admission shelters like ours give refuge to ALL animals, many limited admission shelters – which often refer to themselves as “no-kill” – place restrictions on the animals they are willing to admit. Their decisions might be influenced by the animal’s adoptability or the owner’s willingness to make a donation. Animals that are old, sick, injured, or that have behavior issues might be denied on the grounds that the shelter has no space. When an animal is turned away from a limited admission shelter, that animal must go elsewhere. Often, that “elsewhere” is our open admission shelter.

How do we work to fulfill our mission?

The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County believes in helping the greatest number of animals with our available resources. It is not words or phrases that help animals but actual efforts, programs, and initiatives. Simply turning a back on these animals and merely pronouncing that euthanasia shouldn’t exist won’t make euthanasia go away. Tirelessly working toward more animal adoptions, comprehensive spay/neutering, animal rehabilitation, and educating the public will reduce the necessity of animal euthanasia in our community.

We are indebted to those in our community who commit their time, energies, and resources to assuring that each animal receives the best possible outcome. Thank you!

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