The Best of Savannah

Best Animal Rescue Service

Renegade Paws Rescue

Photo by Jennifer Taylor
Renegade Paws Rescue is about to celebrate its second birthday. Founded on June 3, 2019, this young and ambitious organization is trying to redefine expectations for animal rescue.

Co-founded by Jennifer Taylor, Kristin Staples, Becca Watts, and Shelby Westberry, Renegade Paws Rescue is a non-profit organization that rescues and cares for abused, neglected, injured, and abandoned dogs.

Taylor, the organization’s director has been working with pet rescues in Savannah since she relocated here nine years ago. After finding a stray dog, working with a local rescue and going through the fostering process, Taylor was hooked. She’s been volunteering and working with animal rescues ever since.

With their years of experience, Taylor, Staples, Watts, and Westberry all recognized a need for rescues to be open, nurturing spaces of inclusivity.

“Our main focus is to keep pets in homes instead of surrendering them to shelters and rescues,” Taylor said. “No matter who you are, if you care about animals, we are happy to help you and welcome your support. We are different from most rescues and we are doing something everyone told us we couldn’t.”

With this in mind, Sara Dietrich created the rescue’s slogan: Rebels for the Paws.

They chose Renegade Paws as their name because it’s the term for going your own way. For Taylor, education and awareness are central to Renegade Paw’s mission.

“To be honest we cannot rescue our way out of animal issues in the South,” Taylor said. “We need to educate the community. If we join together, we can do this. We can make a big difference.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Renegade Paws is helping more people who need help securing food for their animals. In just two years, they’ve rescued and placed over 1,000 dogs and have helped over 100 owners with spay/neuter expenses.

Renegade Paws is the only rescue working with the Savannah Police Department and Chatham County Animal Services. Taylor says that her phone number is all over the internet.

“All of the officers have my number,” she said. “If they come across an animal in need, they call us in to help. We also work closely with the homeless community. We visit homeless camps at least once per week and make sure the animals have food and flea and tick prevention. Pet companionship is very important. The love of pets shouldn’t be only for wealthy communities.”

Renegade Paws operates by private donations and without city or government funding. They hold fundraisers in person and on Facebook. Occasionally they receive a grant and they hope this will grow in the future. Mark your calendar for Wag-O-Ween, their biggest fundraiser held every October.

“It is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen,” Taylor said. “All the dogs wear costumes. So, make your plans to come and check it out this year.”

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