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About Us

Founded in 1874, the Morris Animal Refuge (MAR) is America's First Animal Shelter. The Refuge continues to operate today in Elizabeth Morris' original house in Center City Philadelphia at 1242 Lombard Street.

As the only privately funded (non-animal control) open admission shelter in Philadelphia (and one of the few remaining in the country), MAR provides care for a wide range of animals, from those ready for placement in a new home to those exhibiting severe behavioral, medical, or aggression issues that aren't able to immediately be placed. While we are dedicated to our mission of never turning an animal away, we are also committed to reducing unnecessary euthanasia and ensuring that every animal that enters our care is given a chance at a loving home. Our hard work has paid off - and today we are happy to report that we have a 97% Save Rate!

Open Admission

As an open admission shelter, Morris Animal Refuge admits all animals, regardless of age, health, behavior, breed, or species. We believe that always providing an animal a place to go is central to fulfilling our role in animal welfare, in Philadelphia and nationally. We believe that always providing owners with this option is central to supporting our community and ensuring no animal is left without care. 

Life Saving Organization

As a life saving organization, Morris Animal Refuge is committed to the mission of finding forever homes for all adoptable animals. Morris Animal Refuge seeks to expand the definition of what animals are considered to be "adoptable" and to support other shelters and rescue organizations by transferring in animals. Throughout the history of animal sheltering, only young, perfectly healthy animals with no recognized behavioral issues were considered suitable for adoption. We've turned to an adoption counseling method, which focuses on finding the best fit between adopter and animal, and we've begun to build resources for medical care and behavioral rehabilitation through our Life Saver Fund. Through these changes, we've found more homes for animals with chronic medical conditions or behavioral issues that require consistent training. As the Refuge has been able to adopt out more animals efficiently, we've had the ability to begin transferring in medical and behavioral cases from local and out-of-state rescue partners. We seek to support the larger mission of animal welfare, not only throughout our city and state, but throughout the country.

The Morris Animal Refuge is a nonprofit organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service under their code, section 501(c)(3). The refuge is dependent on the community's tax-deductible contributions to provide a second chance for these deserving animals.

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