Animal Shelter, Inc. finds loving homes for puppies and dogs from great shelters and rescues! Each week our shelter van is out rescuing puppies and dogs and the occasional cat from situations that otherwise might have a tragic ending for them…

If your shelter or rescue is looking for help and is interested in working with us on relocation programs please review our 2014 TRANSPORT GUIDELINES. If your organization can meet/exceed our requirements we are happy to discuss a partnership please email Leigh Grady – Executive Director with more information

Many people ask our staff and volunteers:

Where do all these puppies come from? if you’ve ever been in the Carribean islands or backroads of the Southern states – you’ll often see homeless pets wandering the streets. The shelters and rescues we partner with are required to follow strict state/federal and shelter guidelines on transporting to our shelter. We EXCEED all state/federal guidelines in order to avoid bringing sick animals in to our shelter that could infect other animals. Some of the organizations we currently work with are listed below…
Do you get them from Puppy mills? Please let us answer this question…

NO, NO, NO and NO! Our shelter does NOT support puppy mills OR pet stores that SELL puppies – not now, NOT EVER. NO SHELTER or rescue organization would have anything at ALL to do with places that churn out hundreds of thousands of puppies each year with NO regard for their care, treatment, health or well being. Simply put… puppymills are horrible places. If you aren’t familiar with where those petstore puppies come from – PLEASE educate yourself NOW and educate others…..

Its often hard for us in New England to understand that in other parts of the good ole’ United States – in this day and time – there are still high kill animal control facilities AND POUNDS that find stray dogs and puppies wandering the streets, found in the parks and town dumps. Or that in this year, shelters use gas chambers AND OTHER BARBARIC FORMS to kill barrel fulls of unwanted animals… including beautiful, innocent puppies and kittens, because there simply aren’t enough homes for them.

We’d like to share some information about OUR programs and WHERE our puppies come from… so please check out the links for more information. We hope this information will bring awareness to the sad situation happening every second of the day in shelters across the United States WHERE 4-6 million ANIMALS ARE KILLED BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T SPAY & NEUTER THEIR PETS…

We are thankful that OUR SHELTER can make a SMALL difference for the ones we can – much like the Story of the Starfish… but all of our staff and volunteers wish we could do MORE…because we know what the sad reality is…and because we receive pleas each week from desperate shelters in the South and Midwest begging us to take their puppies – so they don’t have to fill another barrel of dead puppies.


Please learn more about our various canine rescue programs below

Virginia Homebound Hounds program – established Summer 2000 – is a Death Row Puppy (and dogs) Rescue Mission rescuing and re-homing puppies /dogs from the Southside SPCA in Meherrin, Virginia as well as Animal Control facilities and pounds in over 12 rural Virginia counties. Since its inception, Southside SPCA has transported THOUSANDS of puppies and dogs to loving new homes in New England. Our shelter also helps Southside SPCA with costs for immunizations, deworming, safe transportation and most importantly helps fund programs to spay the mother dogs of these puppies, in an attempt to end the vicious cycle of more puppies entering the world.

A note from Southside SPCA director – Sandy Wyatt – The Southside SPCA has been transporting puppies and dogs to the Animal Shelter, Inc. in Sterling, MA since the year 2000. Leigh and her staff have saved thousands of puppies and dogs. The unwanted litters do not have a chance in the South.We are very grateful for this program. Every week our shelter receives emails, pictures, letters and phone calls just to thank us for sending their new adopted baby to them. They always let me know how well they were treated at the Sterling Shelter staff. The Annual Whisker Walk and Rescuers Reunion says it all. Adopters returning with their babies, now beautiful, sweet, healthy dogs, waiting in line for the Virginia Volunteers to see them. Sandy Wyatt – Director – Southside SPCA – Meherrin, VA

* Each year our shelter hosts a Rescuers Reunion at the Whisker Walk where our partner organizations fly in to meet/greet all their alumni who’ve been adopted through our shelter… its a heartwarming reunion!

a note from a Southside SPCA volunteer and foster mom – During my June 2009 visit to the Sterling Animal Shelter I witnessed first hand the adoptions of approximately 15 puppies and dogs..some of which were from our rural shelter in Virginia. I was overwhelmed with the responsible and enthusiastic adopters. Never before had I witnessed so many adoptions in one day, and never before was I so thrilled with each and every home they got. There was not one moment of concern for these dog’s future. What a remarkable feeling. Our puppies are truly saved. They are cast-offs, victims of pet over-population, left at euthanizing pounds, along highways and dumpsters. They come to us in all kinds of conditions…starving, cold, afraid. BUT, they all have one thing in common…Sterling Shelter is there to save them. The sad truth is there are just not enough responsible homes in Virginia for these puppies. They would never stand a chance without “Home Bound Hounds”. Francee Schuma – Southside SPCA – Dog Adoptions Volunteer

Please got a box of tissues and click here to enjoy a touching video we created and presented to the Staff and Volunteers at the Southside SPCA – to THANK THEM for caring enough to save thousands of these thrown away souls… the puppies and dogs featured in this video have ALL been adopted through our program with Southside.

Our Homebound Hounds have had many NATIONAL stories featured by TV and Print … Click here to see our Homebound Hound story that was featured on the CBS Early Morning Show and another National Newspaper story from the Christian Science Monitor.

If you’ve ever traveled to the Caribean Islands you’ve probably seen homeless dogs and cats begging for scraps of food …but more so – a kind word and a soft loving pat on the head…its hard to ignore and even harder to turn and walk away if you love animals. The daily atrocities—from abandonment and gross neglect to beatings, shootings, burnings, machete attacks, poisonings and more—carried out on dogs, cats and even horses would be top stories anywhere else but in Puerto Rico – this happens daily… Our shelter wanted to help!

Our S.O.S. – Save Our Satos– program was founded in February 1999 to help find loving homes for the abandoned dogs of Puerto Rico. Sato is a Puerto Rican slang term for a mixed breed dog. Our S.O.S. partner is All Sato Rescue, (ASR), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Puerto Rico’s homeless and neglected animals. ASR volunteers rescue Satos from the streets and beaches provide them with medical care, food and shelter, and plenty of love. When the dogs have been fully vetted for health and behavioral issues, they are flown to Boston and picked up by Sterling volunteers.

a note from our friends in Puerto Rico –We are truly honored to have had this long partnership with the gang at Sterling. Through our combined efforts, thousands of Satos have found wonderful homes in Massachusetts. We are so grateful to Sterling, not just for the important reason of finding homes for our animals, but also because the entire staff has always been so supportive of our mission and so willing to go above and beyond to do whatever it takes to help a dog in need.

Satos are like snowflakes—each one is uniquely special. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and breed combinations. But they usually have one thing in common—they make extraordinarily appreciative and loyal family members. Our Sato adopters write to us all the time to tell us how happy they are to have enriched their lives and homes with a little touch of Puerto Rico.

Working with the staff to educate them on appropriate animal handling and care, trying to improve conditions. And, when they’re at the shelter, they often can’t help but pick up some of the puppies that need extra help. For there IS NO HOPE they will find loving homes in the shelters. Adopters often write us – that they are very grateful to the volunteers of Puerto Rico for saving lives of the unwanted creatures, as well as for enhancing the lives of the families in New England who get to adopt these angels. Twig Mowatt

Our TN rescue program – due to the success of our Virginia’s Homebound Hounds rescue…we’ve been able to help other organizations. We partnered with the TN Companion Pet Rescue volunteers in 2007.

A note from Molli Bowen – Director of Companion Pet Rescue and Transport – Sterling Animal Shelter and Companion Pet Rescue ( started working together in 2007 to alleviate the overpopulation of unwanted puppies and dogs in rural West Tennessee. The collaborative effort has been able to offer assistance to many impoverished areas of West Tennessee to rehome unwanted pups and spay the mothers of the litters. Anytime the mother of the litter is in the picture, we pay for the spay of the mother if she is a personal pet and if she is a stray, all of her vet bills are covered to get her ready for adoption. Since we started working together, Sterling Animal Shelter has rehomed thousands of puppies and dogs from TN whose fate was less than favorable. These poor creatures would have been euthanized at the animal control facility (if the county in which they happened to be born even HAS animal control). If the pups were unfortunate enough to be born in a county with no animal control, they faced being shot, run over in the road, starving to death or dying of some disease with no one to care for them. SADLY, The Southern states have no pet licensing laws and their enforcement of the minimal laws governing animal care are lackluster at best. Our partnership with Sterling is truly a LIFE SAVING program for pets who have no options other than death.

Molli Bowen, Executive Director
Companion Pet Rescue & Transport