The AARF logo shows three animals on a yellow AARF life raft, floating on the sea with gray clouds; sunlight peeks down on them, representing hope.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



AARF FAQs

Here are common questions we are asked:

  1. What is AARF and what do you do?

    The Anguilla Animal Rescue Foundation (AARF), founded in 2000, is a non–profit organization that dedicates its work to the welfare of the cats and dogs on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Our main focus areas are local adoptions, spay and neuter and education. We are 100% unpaid and 100% volunteer–driven with an adoption center and rescue shelter located within Anguilla’s only veterinary clinic.

    If you want to adopt a great Anguillian dog or cat, AARF is the place to turn to! Whether visiting or living on Anguilla, our available pets are housed at the shelter after being examined and vaccinated, and our adoption process is fast and inexpensive.

    Visitors wanting toe bring a pet back home should visit our web site, and, better yet, come to our shelter. While a few days preperation and advance warning is needed for legal paperwork (for the USA and other countries), and visitors need to make a reservation with their airlines, AARF and Morlens will help with the process.

  2. How do I contact AARF or visit the shelter?

    • Location: We are located in the same building as Morlens Veterinary Clinic in Sandy Hill, Anguilla B.W.I. Morlens is the manager of the day to day operation of the AARF shelter and the adoptions.

      Hours of operation: The AARF shelter is open:

      10:30 am – 12:30 pm on Monday through Saturday, and

      3:30 pm – 5:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (no afternoon hours on Thursday or Saturday)

    • (Please respect these visiting hours to give the shelter animals peace and quiet for meals and maintenance.)

    • Email:

      graphic showing the aarfinfo email address

    • Telephone: +1 (264) 497–4600. This is the main number for Morlens Veterinary Clinic and we share this number with them; please call for adoptions, shelter and animal concerns. It’s better to send us email or, failing that, a Facebook message for any reason.

    • Web site: www.aarf.ai (the web site has photos of our adoptable dogs and cats as well as news)

    • Facebook: Aarf Anguilla (or search for @aarf_anguilla)

      (Facebook Messenger is one of the fastest ways to get in contact with the right person within our organization to address any question you may have.)

    • Instagram: We have two accounts:

      @aarf_adoption (gallery of cats and dogs available for adoption)

      @aarf_anguilla (our account for fun photos and news)

  3. How does AARF get its funding?

    We depend entirely on generous donations from our supporters for our funding. We are not affiliated with the Government of Anguilla — nor do we receive any government agency funding.

    Our work is made possible by the continuous private donations, and we are extremely are grateful forthem. We also raise money via our thrift store, Second Chances (on the Long Path road, in the BIG Store building), fundraising events and our locally sold merchandise.

    Donations can be made in various ways, bu,t for U.S. taxpayers, AARF has a tax–deductible corporation based in the USA. The Anguilla Animal Rescue Corporation (AARC) is registered as a 501(c)(3) non–profit organization and donations may be made to AARC using PayPal and recurring GoFundMe campaigns. It is possible to make donations to AARF on Anguilla too. THey are very happily accepted, but are not deductible for US taxpayers, since they are made in the country of Anguilla to AARF, a local Anguillian corporation.

  4. Is AARF a “no–kill” shelter?

    No. As much as we would like to be a “no–kill” shelter, we are not. As the only animal shelter in Anguilla, it would not be responsible to have a no–euthanasia policy. This is a very complex and emotionally charged question, but let us explain:

    • As the only animal shelter in Anguilla, we do not charge for surrendered cats and dogs and we do not want to turn away animals under any circumstances. To be able to offer refuge to every animal in need at all times, we have to euthanize (humanely put to sleep by injection administered by a veterinarian) animals that are deemed unadoptable or remain unadopted for a certain time. Why? Because there has always been and there still is more animals surrendered than there are available homes. This means that no matter how many kennels we could build, the shelter would eventually still become full, by which time we would have no choice but to turn away surrenders. It is a brutal reality to which responsible pet ownership and spay & neuter is the long–term solution.

    • Would it help if AARF had more money? Yes, but also no. Like in so many other parts of the world, there are still always more cats and dogs being surrendered than being adopted. With more money we could have more kennels and ability to treat more severe health issues and unsociable behavior, but it would not increase our adoptions. Furthermore, the shelter is a temporary home for abandoned and stray–born animals, where we provide the care that they need while we search for forever homes. It is not set up for long–term living and can therefore not be a forever home by itself.

    • When is an animal euthanized? All animals that enter the veterinary clinic and shelter are treated with dignity and respect. The decision to euthanize an animal is made by the on–duty veterinarian with regard to all prevailing circumstances. Some surrendered animals have such serious health issues or aggressive behavior that they will be euthanized upon arrival to the clinic. If we stand helpless and cannot provide anything else for the animal, we will at least be there by their side for a painless release.

    • People surrendering pets will also be told that euthanasia is the last resort when a home cannot be found for a cat or dog and all available options have been exhausted. However, there are programs that have helped greatly when local forever homes have been hard to find. The Anguilla Puppy Express international adoption program (APE) was a founding program that AARF ran from 2010 to 2019 rescuing over 1,800 dogs and cats by sending them to the USA and Canada. The independent organization Anguilla Freedom Flyer Dog Rescue runs a similar program and because of these organizations, AARF has increasingly been able to avoid euthanasia of healthy animals.

    • Are you striving to become a “no–kill” shelter? Yes, of course. Our dream is that one day unwanted puppies and kittens would no longer be born and that we could invest in every animal surrendered to the clinic without any financial or time restrictions and find them all a forever home.

    • Is there anything I can do to help AARF become a “no–kill” shelter? Yes, help us spread awareness and the knowledge of the importance of spay & neuter — and ADOPT!

  5. How can the AARF shelter at times be financially strained while AARF at the same time is running expensive free spay & neuter programs?

    We think that Spay and Neuter is the most efficient way to (try and!) control overpopulation of cats and dogs in Anguilla. Others agree, and many donations are earmarked for this specific purpose only (meaning they are specified by donors to be used exclusively for this specific purpose). That is why you hear a lot about our Spay and Neuter initiatves, programs and events.

    Please note that we welcome donors to specify exactly how we should to use their donations. Donated money is always spent for the donor–specified purpose for which it has been donated — even our main fund (which we use mostly to operate our day to day shelter and adoptions programs).

  6. What does it mean when the shelter is at capacity?

    There are strict guidelines on how many animals we can safely host in our shelter premises and bending those guidelines can put the animals’ health at risk. When the AARF shelter is at capacity it means that there is no room for AARF to take in additional cats or dogs to the shelter until space has been freed up.

  7. Why don’t build more kennels if you continue to often be at capacity?

    AARF doesn’t have the financial means and space to buy property and then build and run a larger shelter. Plus, we think it’s fabulous that we presently operate in the same space as the only veterinary clinic on island.

    But it is not only a monetary consideration. An animal shelter is intended to be a temporary home. No dog or cat should be living in a cage or kennel for a continuous period of time. And it is a fact that more animals will come into the shelter than there are available homes for. So expanding the shelter is not a sensible option even if it were possible. (That said, if a wealthly benefactor wanted to buy a large tract of land and build a modern shelter space, we would be thrilled!)

    In case of temporary capacity challenges, placing shelter guests in foster care is one solution we try and utilize. We dearly welcome anyone wanting to help us with fostering!

  8. Why can’t dogs and cats on Anguilla live “freely”?

    Many wonder why we try to save all dogs and cats that do not have owners, as some seem very “happy” living on their own. But cats and dogs living in the wild on Anguilla can live a hard life and have an adverse affect on local wildlife and people.

    Cats can, to a certain extent, live lives as feral animals (i.e. with no social relationship to people) and can survive in their environment — and some do in Anguilla. However, tropical diseases are rampant, so there is a risk of Feline Leukemia or Aids. Untreated cats can lead to epidemics. And overpopulation is always a threat on an island.

    This is why immunization and sterilization is necessary, and those are very difficult to do with feral cats. Trapping and immunizing cats is hard to do if they live in the bush and they can be wild and unsocial.

    From an overpopulation standpoint, just 1 (ONE!) unspayed female cat and her offspring can lead to 370,000 kittens in 7 years.

    Wild cats also affect the environment by killing other animals such as birds and lizards. On an island, there is a limited population of such animals.

    Requiring cats to live off the land is bad for them and does not provide for a steady feeding of the cats.

    Unlike cats, dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and are poorly equipped to live without humans. Local experience shows that dogs whose basic needs are not met by an owner may become a threat to themselves and their environment.

    Lack of immunization against the widespread and often fatal sicknesses such as Parvo and Distemper and preventative care for Heartworm and Tick fever lead to island wide epidemics. In the tropics, these diseases flourish year–round and regular vaccinations are always needed.

    Most homes don’t have fenced yards, which make problems much worse as wild and unfenced dogs wander looking for (scarce) food and water.

    As such, other risks include: poor health, territorial aggression, traffic hazards, barking, rushing or attacking pets, attacks on livestock and even people, and almost instant overpopulation due to their being no natural enemies in this urban environment.

    Finally, sadly, for these reasons, poisoning is quite common on island and besides providing cruel and painful deaths, laid out poison traps affect innocent animals of all kinds.

  9. What happens when a cat or dog is surrendered to the shelter?

    Unwanted cats and dogs of any age can be surrendered at no cost and no animal will be turned away.

    Technically, the animal is surrendered to Morlens Veterinary Clinic, where it will be observed for a minimum of three days by the veterinarian on duty. Having been deemed healthy for adoption, bathed, dewormed and vaccinated, the cat/dog moves into the shelter.

    For at least 14 business days AARF will do its utmost to find a local forever home for the cat/dog, and, of course, any visiting tourist is encouraged to adopt and take a pet back home. This is a very easy process if you live in the US or in Canada and AARF and Morlens Veterinary Clinic helps with the adoptions.

    The sad reality is, though, that we often get in more puppies and cats than we can find homes for.

    While we have limited space, the shelter stay can be extended if we can do so. If we think that i’s likely that a home can be found with more time at the shelter, we’ll try and do so. But that has to always be based on current circumstances as to how full the shelter is, public interest, and adoptability of the animal.

    In short, we consider euthanasia to be the very last resort when a home can’t be found and all available options have been exhausted.

    Surrendered animals require the person giving up the animal to fill out a surrender form, and we inform people that we'll try and find a home but that it's not guaranteed. That said, surrendering is always a better option than abandoning an animal or “setting them free”, for reasons we cover elsewhere.)

  10. Is there a fee to adopt a pet from AARF?

    Yes. AARF charges a small fee of USD $25 of those wishing to give our shelter animals a forever home. Why? First, we require a token of sincerity from the adopter to ensure that the new family has a vested interest in their new pet. Second, the fee attempts to recover some of the expenses the shelter has had for the pet, which include any of the following: examination by a veterinarian, deworming treatment, flea bath, fecal sample, blood test, vaccination(s), and boarding fee. As a future expense of AARF, any cat or dog that is adopted from AARF will be spayed/neutered for free when it has reached the age of six months.

  11. What shall I do if I see a stray cat or dog in need of help or one posing a threat to itself or others?

    By law, AARF is not and cannot be an animal control organization nor a dog catcher on Anguilla. We cannot offer any services of pickup of animals. Any reports of animals in need of assistance or posing a threat to themselves or others need to be directed to the Department of Agriculture (+1 (264) 497–2615) with whom we work closely. When a stray or any other cat or dog is brought into the AARF shelter it will be cared for medically by Morlens Veterinary Clinic and AARF will undertake to try to find it a good home.

    Any reports of aggressive dogs or excessive barking, as well as concerns relating to a starving, inhumanely chained or mistreated animal need also be directed to the Department of Agriculture. Please remember that not all dogs without a collar are strays; in fact, commonly, they are not. Many dogs in Anguilla have owners and caregivers even though they are roaming free. Also, we do not recommend that you try to catch a dog or cat on your own, especially not an adult dog or cat, as its behaviour when it feels trapped is unpredictable. Especially if it has never been touched by a person before, which can be a common situation. In case of a medical emergency relating to an animal, always contact Morlens Veterinary Clinic (+1 (264) 497—4600) and after hours emergencies (+1 (264) 581–4600).

  12. I lost my cat/dog or I found a cat/dog — what should I do?

    Please contact Morlens Veterinary Clinic (+1 (264) 497–4600) and/or the Department of Agriculture (+1 (264) 497—2615). A found cat/dog will be advertised on social media for 3 business days before being treated as a surrendered stray cat/dog.

  13. Do you sell any merchandise?

    Yes. We sell AARF–branded car stickers, reusable grocery and bottle bags, adult and children’s t–shirts and ball caps at the AARF shelter and at SeaSpray/Iced & Easy Smoothies which is located at the Sandy Ground round–about. New products are continuously added to the selection and our newest addition is a turquoise AARF tumbler with straw.

  14. Why does AARF promote spay/neuter?

    Sterilizing cats and dogs is the most important method of controlling overpopulation of cats and dogs in Anguilla and the number of surrendered pets. When adopting a pet from AARF you commit to be part of the solution by having your adoptee spayed/neutered at the age of 6 months, which is the recommended age by veterinarians. Not only will sterilization decrease the number of unwanted puppies and kittens born in Anguilla, it also has a lot of health benefits for your pet. Spaying and neutering offers protection from certain diseases and cancers; your female will be healthier and not harassed by male dogs when she is in heat; (With a healthy diet and exercise she will also not get fat!); your male will not feel a need to roam away from home to find a mate; it is also cost–effective as you don’t have to care for a litter or the consequences of your dog getting into fights over mating partners with other unneutered dogs.

    AARF offers two six week periods of free spay & neuter surgeries per year as well as on request and the surgery is always free for a cat/dog adopted from AARF.

    If you would like to get a local animal spayed or neutered, make sure you have the permission of the owner. Since AARF does not have the manpower or physical resources to offer a pick–up service, we are unable to assist with transportation. If you choose to bring the animal into AARF for neutering (AFTER receiving the owner’s permission or determining the animal is stray), please call Morlens Veterinary clinic (+1 (264) 497–4600) to schedule an appointment in advance.

  15. How can I help?

    There are many ways in which you can help.

    • Adopt

      Whether you live permanently in Anguilla or you are here visiting, you can adopt a pet from the AARF shelter. If you are visiting the island stop by at the shelter and speak with the Morlens Veterinary Clinic staff regarding this process. Many visitors from the US and Canada adopt from the shelter and take their new family members home with them. Morlens and AARF can help with the process and paperwork. Just ask!

    • Foster

      We are often in need of loving foster families for cats and dogs that have been surrendered to the shelter and need special care due to e.g. young age, health or socialization issues before they can be deemed adoptable and become shelter guests. If you can consider any kind of fostering, please let us know so that we can have your contact details on record, as the need for a foster family often arises on short notice.

    • Volunteer

      Whether you’re on island for only a few days, a few months or permanently, AARF would love to have you volunteer! There are many ways and places to volunteer: At the shelter: Volunteer at the shelter during its opening hours to socialize the animals in our care. At the thrift store: Volunteer at our thrift store Second Chances where an extra pair of hands is always needed. Other: There are a lot of other tasks, like picking up newspapers for shelter use, tending to the landscaping around the thrift store and shelter, hanging flyers around the island, transportation of animals for spay/neuter surgeries, helping out at events — if you have got time to donate, we will put your time to good use.

    • Donate

      We survive on donations! Here are key donations we need:

      • Shelter donations: We always welcome donations of collars, leashes, bowls and pet treats to the shelter. Please check our Wishlist on our web site for more details. The shelter is always in need of newspapers; any papers are welcomed at the shelter. Thrift store donations: Bring your gently used clothes, shoes, household items and books to our thrift store Second Chances. Second Chances is located in the Big Store building in the Quarter and is open 9 am — noon on Tuesdays and Saturdays (high season also on Fridays). Donations can also be brought to the drop–box in the Valley, located on the southern side of St Gerard’s church.

      • Financial donations: Support the running of the shelter and our continued efforts to help the animals of Anguilla with your financial donations. All funds go directly to the benefit of the animals.

        AARF has a US–based registered 501(c)(3) charity to which donations are tax deductible. It is the Anguilla Animal Rescue Corporation (AARC). Common ways to donate to AARC include PayPal and recurring GoFundMe campaigns. See our web site’s “How to Help”page for more information. Donors can donate to our main operating Fund or to specific funds (like Spay & Neuter) that control how the donation is used. Thank you in advance for donating!

    • Educate and help spread awareness

      Encourage your friends and neighbors to adopt from AARF and to bring their pets to AARF for free spay/neuter surgeries. Share your knowledge about responsible pet care and the benefits of spay and neuter in an encouraging way. Help us spread awareness of the AARF shelter and Morlens Veterinary Clinic as a door that is always open when caring for your animal becomes overwhelming and as a place to turn to when you are looking to add a furry member to your family.

Thank you for all of the great questions and comments you have sent us over the years! We will update this list of questions as needed.