ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE OF BERKS COUNTY, INC.

aka ARL   |   Birdsboro, PA   |  https://www.berksarl.org/

Mission

The mission of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County is that We Protect animals, Provide a safe haven, and Promote innovative programs and services to help both people and animals in need throughout Berks County. VISION: A world where people are empowered to respect and care for all animals with love and kindness.

Notes from the nonprofit

At the ARL, we believe that you should have the utmost confidence in how we use donor dollars. As a result, we try to be as transparent as possible and invite you to explore our numbers and policies by visiting our website at www.berksarl.org/donate and scrolling past the donate form to the bottom of the page, or by exploring the information on Guide Star and Charity Navigator. We are proud to hold the highest ratings from both of these reputable organizations. Our organization has been through significant change throughout our history, but we are steadfast in our commitment to constantly improve, and always have animals top of mind. At the ARL, we promise to use your funds exactly as you intend and to treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve each and every time you choose to support our organization. We are so grateful that you've chosen to research us, and we invite you to call or email anytime for a more in depth conversation or tour of our facility.

Ruling year info

1956

Executive Director

Alexis Pagoulatos

Main address

58 Kennel Rd

Birdsboro, PA 19508 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-1417505

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Veterinary Services (D40)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Each year, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide—and approximately 1.5 million are euthanized (ASPCA, 2020). Many factors contribute to companion animal overpopulation, most common of which are a lack of widespread sterilization that is affordable and accessible, the high cost of veterinary care, behavioral challenges, and a general lack of education surrounding pet welfare. Our communities need access to affordable pet care services as well as an education of what resources are available to them to properly care for their animals.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Patriotic Paws

Because no one deserves a hero more than a shelter pet, our Patriotic Paws program offers free pet adoptions every day to all qualifying veterans as one small way we can thank our brave service men and women for their sacrifice and service to our country. Started in 2012 by Dave Lis, a Vietnam Veteran and dedicated ARL volunteer, Dave recognized the struggles veterans went through upon returning home and readjusting to civilian life. As a volunteer at the shelter, he also recognized that animals often experience the same sense of loss and loneliness when being left by their family. Patriotic Paws brings veterans and shelter animals together by providing each other with companionship and unconditional devotion.

As part of this program, qualifying veterans who present a valid military ID or DD-214 will have their adoption fee waived for their spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped pet; and they will receive a program t-shirt or hat, and a leash/collar for dogs or a collar with a bell and starter kit for cats.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Adults

For more than a decade, the ARL has been the sole provider of animal cruelty and humane investigation services to companion and farm animals and residents throughout Berks County. Our humane officers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, and respond to nearly 2,000 calls per year to enforce Pennsylvania’s Cruelty to Animals law and to protect the welfare of animals in our community.

In general, our officers look for the following factors when investigating a case:

Does the animal have access to an appropriate shelter? A dog shelter should have four walls, a roof, floor and be sized proportionately to the dog so that body heat can be retained.
Does the animal have access to adequate food?
Does the animal have access to clean water?
Does the animal have access to veterinary care?
Our officers also enforce Code Blue and Code Red laws during the winter and summer months. Code Blue is called when the National Weather Service predicts a wind chill of 20⁰ or less, or ice/snow events with temperatures below 32⁰. Code Red is called when the National Weather Service predicts temperatures with a heat index of at least 95⁰ or higher. Code Blue or Red is announced at least 8 hours before taking effect, and is announced on our website and social media channels, as well as local news stations. Once the Code has been declared, dogs may not be left unattended outdoors except for brief walks and periods of exercise. Any dog left unattended outdoors for more than 15-20 minutes will be impounded and the owner fined. Fines range from $350 to $1,000 plus impoundment and court costs per violation.

Although we recommend that all pet owners in Berks County bring their pets indoors during extreme weather, Code Blue and Code Red is only enforceable in the City of Reading, and the law only pertains to dogs regardless of breed or tolerance of extreme weather conditions. For a full description of animal regulations in the City of Reading, please click here.

While no one knows better than we do how heartbreaking it is to see animals cared for in an unloving way, please understand that we’re limited by what the law allows us to do and not do when investigating complaints. Because animals are considered property, we cannot seize them without legal justification to do so. Animal cruelty and neglect is defined very differently legally than it is emotionally, and the law often requires us to respond to questionable situations by first educating pet owners and following up with welfare checks. Should you ever feel a pet is in danger, is being treated abusively or is being neglected, please report it to us with as much information as you can provide. The following is helpful:

An address of the location of the pet(s).
Timestamped pictures/video of the pet(s).
Your contact information and phone number. While we understand people may want to remain anonymous, it is much more helpful if we are able to gather relevant and important information with your cooperation.
To report a suspected case of animal abuse or negligence to our humane officer team, please call 610-373-8830.

Population(s) Served

As the county’s largest and busiest shelter with a dedicated animal control team on call 24/7 365 days a year, the ARL is one of the only shelters in Berks County uniquely positioned to handle the management of stray domesticated animals found within contracted municipalities, as well as enforce dog law and handle animal emergencies, including hoarding cases or natural disasters affecting domesticated animals. We’re pleased to offer each municipality in Berks County the opportunity to contract with us on a yearly basis to offer animal control services to its residents.

Residents in contracted municipalities are able to drop off strays at the ARL for no charge, and to receive other animal control services, such as assistance with controlling outdoor-living community cats, access to low-cost microchip and vaccine clinics, and investigation of non-cruelty complaints, such as nuisance dogs.

Residents who drop off stray animals at the ARL are asked to first call the Admissions department at 610-373-8830. Please know that you may be asked to provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill so that we can ensure participating municipalities are billed accurately. Thank you!

Population(s) Served

Even the most dedicated pet owners sometimes find themselves in unexpected situations where they cannot keep their pets. At the ARL, we not only offer you a warm and caring place to surrender your pet, but we also offer you resources to help you through difficult situations so that you can keep your beloved companion.

In case you have exhausted all options and find yourself in a situation where you cannot keep your pet, our counselors will offer you an appointment in a supportive environment to surrender your pet. Because we want to set your pet up for success in the shelter and offer him/her every opportunity to find the best home, please know that your appointment time may be a few weeks from the time you contact us depending on available space at the shelter. We ask you to set aside at least half an hour for this appointment so we can do a thorough interview with you to learn as much as we can to ensure we place your pet in the best home. Please remember to bring all veterinary/medical records, any medications your pet takes, at least a few servings of the food they’re used to eating at home, and anything else that may make your pet’s transfer to the shelter as smooth and comforting as possible.

Because your pet will stay with us for at least a few days or longer and will need a medical exam and behavioral assessment, there is a $50 fee to surrender your cat or dog, and a $25 fee to surrender small animals (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.).

Population(s) Served

Proven to be safe, effective and–most of all–humane, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County supports trap-neuter-return (TNR) services to Berks County residents interested in controlling and reducing the number of free-roaming, outdoor community (feral) cats and kittens in their neighborhoods. Because these cats were not handled by humans or lived with humans, they have independent spirits and are used to outdoor, free-roaming living, which makes them unsuitable to be adopted as indoor house pets. Cats who are TNR’ed are humanely trapped, neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to the area where they were found.

Population(s) Served

Here at the ARL, we know one of the toughest and most difficult times for families is making the decision to say goodbye to a beloved pet. Our humane and compassionate euthanasia services offer families the opportunity to say goodbye to their pets in a loving and supportive environment. We also offer low-cost cremation services along with a variety of memorial items to remember your loved one.

We schedule euthanasia appointments most mornings dependent on staff availability. Please call our Admissions office at 610-373-8830 to speak to a counselor to learn more about our compassionate care and to receive further information about the options available to you.

Population(s) Served

The ARL offers affordable spay/neuter services to owned pets as part of our mission to reduce the number of unwanted pets in the community. Spay/neuter surgery can be performed on healthy kittens or puppies as young as 8-12 weeks old who have reached a certain weight. Please know that appointment availability varies based upon shelter needs and veterinarian availability. If we cannot accommodate your pet in our busy surgery schedule before your pet reaches reaches sexual maturity typically around 6 months old, we encourage you to contact your veterinarian or another area clinic to have your pet spayed/neutered as soon as possible.

Population(s) Served

At the ARL, we consider ourselves to be great matchmakers! Your adoption process starts by gathering information about the type of pet of you’re looking for to help you think through your desired personality traits of pet you’re hoping to adopt. Then, our adoption counselors work one on one with you to introduce you to pets at the shelter who they think would be best suited to you and your family. After you have spent some time with your selected pets, your adoption counselor will go over everything we know about your pet’s medical, personality and behavior history (including any notes that his/her previous owner may have made). If your adoption counselor and your family think a pet is a great fit for you and your family, unless otherwise noted, you will be able to take your pet home that day.

Population(s) Served

Using treats, clickers and lots of positive reinforcement, staff members at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County teach cats to “sit,” “stay,” “look” and give high fives as part of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation’s Cat Pawsitive program. In 2020, the ARL was selected as just as one of 55 shelters shelters nationwide to implement Cat Pawsitive, which is a life-saving initiative designed to keep adoptable cats mentally and physically active while providing them with fun training sessions that go beyond playtime as usual to help cats maintain their mojo. And in 2021, the ARL was again selected to take part in the Cat Pawsitive PRO program, furthering our team’s savvy clicker-training skills with shelter cats! These specially-designed training sessions, developed by Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” as well as a team of feline behavior experts, also help cats reduce their stress levels while at the shelter and build connections and confidence with staff, volunteers and potential adopters, allowing them to find homes faster than ever before! In fact, since 2016, more than 1,200 cats have been adopted during Cat Pawsitive semesters nationwide, with hundreds more cats benefitting from being in the program.

At the ARL, you’ll see once-shy and shut-down cats now greet visitors by coming to their front of their kennels; feisty cats learning how to play nicely; and, once in a while, an especially outgoing cat will learn how to give a potential adopter a “high five,” endearing him or her to all he or she meets! Through this revolutionary program, adopters learn that shelter cats are pretty cool and can be trained to perform some basic commands in a short period of time, increasing their adoptability and enriching their day-to-day life while in our care.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Citation 2017

Commonwealth of PA

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animals surrendered by their owner

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Surrender Prevention

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2020 was the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a year when many Americans suffered financially, impacting their housing, income, and time. We anticipated a spike in owner surrenders as a result of COVID.

Average number of days of shelter stay for cats and small animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Pet Adoptions

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Average number of days of shelter stay for dogs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Pet Adoptions

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of sheltered animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In 2019, the ARL revamped our municipal animal control contracts, changing our intake policies throughout the county. We now manage admission based on space and resources for sustainability.

Number of animal adoptions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Pet Adoptions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Animal intake effects totals. Percentage of animals adopted are: 61% in 2020, 58% in 2019, 56% in 2018. *These numbers do not include transfers out, reclaimed pets, or natural deaths.

Number of animals rescued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Animal Cruelty & Humane Investigation

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

These numbers are comprised of the number of animals rescued as a result of animal cruelty and humane investigations.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

While we are always aiming to place animals in homes that will love and care for them for a lifetime, in the last year we have expanded our scope of services and strategic priorities to address the needs of both animals and humans. At the forefront, our focus is on keeping pets in their homes/keeping families together by providing the resources necessary to accomplish that goal. While we will always be a place where new families can find a furry companion, our organization seeks to be a resource to solve the root cause that forces people to need to give up their pets.

Animal homelessness, rescue, and protection are complex issues that require global collaboration and innovation to begin to solve. The ARL prides itself on following industry best practices and being an early adopter of innovative programs and philosophies that have been created by national industry leaders such as Best Friends, Maddie's Fund, ASPCA, etc. Starting in 2020, we have focused on three main strategic priorities to accomplish our vision and mission:
1. Keeping pets in homes and rescuing those in need
2. Advocating, collaborating, and educating with other like minded organizations and our community
3. Organizational strength and sustainability

The ARL is Berks County's largest animal shelter and the sole provider of animal cruelty and humane investigation services to companion and farm animals and residents. For more than 65 years, we’ve worked tirelessly to care for the sick, treat the injured, comfort the unwanted and protect the abused. Whether helping people in need keep their pets through surrender prevention programs, offering low-cost veterinary services and clinics, as well as outreach and education events throughout the county, our work goes far beyond the walls of the shelter.

We employ talented and forward thinking employees that not only have the skills and expertise to provide these services, but the enthusiasm and heart to do it well. Governed by a thoughtful and talented Board of Directors, our strategic vision is rooted in science and the financial support our donors provide gives us the ability to make an impact for animals in our community.

Although our policies, philosophies and practices have evolved over time to meet the needs of today’s animals and our community and to reflect the best practices in the sheltering community, our mission to save and give second chances to as many animals as possible has stayed constant throughout our long and rich history, which began with Mary Archer’s vision and dream to help as many animals as she could.

Some of our key accomplishments are:
- In 1965, ARL leaders urged state lawmakers to completely update and revise PA Dog Law, resulting in the PA governor signing the new anti-cruelty law into effect.
-In 2018, the ARL announced it has adopted a “no-kill” philosophy and will no longer euthanize treatable and adoptable animals when it runs out of kennel space. The ARL dramatically increases its cat live release rate from 44% in 2017 to 90% in 2020 and its dog live release rate from 86% in 2017 to 94% in 2020.
- In 2020, the ARL decreases the length of stay for cats and dogs dramatically ( a direct result of better quality of care, adoption tactics, and innovative behavior modification programs). Cat's average length of stay went from 36 days in 2019 to 19 days in 2020. Dog's length of stay went from 70 days to 10 days.

More accomplishments and a complete history of our organization can be found by visiting our website at: www.berksarl.org

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In 2017 the ARL mistakenly euthanized two owned cats within one month of each other, calling into light the shelter’s euthanasia rates and policies, which created community outrage. Shelter leadership began reevaluating its euthanasia policies and practices in response to the overwhelming demand from our community to shift our operational structure. In 2018, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County announced it would be adopting a “no-kill” philosophy and would no longer euthanize treatable and adoptable animals when it runs out of kennel space. The ARL dramatically increases its cat live release rate from 44% in 2017 to 85% in 2018 and its dog live release rate from 86% in 2017 to 96% in 2018. This change prompted the creation of several different programs aimed at improving live release.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE OF BERKS COUNTY, INC.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

ANIMAL RESCUE LEAGUE OF BERKS COUNTY, INC.

Board of directors
as of 8/6/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Shelly Nowotarski

Specialty Rigging

Richard Hoffman

Retired

Susan Monk

Penn State University

Tina Saracino

State Farm Insurance

Stacey Scrivani

Stevens & Lee

Ken Simon

Coatesville Scrap

Shelly Nowotarski

Specialty Rigging

Jon Chalmers

Chalmers Security

Jennifer Raynor

Edward Jones Investments

Keith McLaughlin

RKL LLP

Timothy Malloy

Barley Snyder

Thomas Hubric

Hubric Resources

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/11/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability