These are typically private groups, and private individuals, who need to file 501C3 papers with the IRS in order to become legally recognized non-profits. Your adoption fee or contribution is NOT tax decuctable unless they’re covered on their annual reports and 9-90 filings (CHECK THAT). These are required by the government to be filed every year. There are literally tens of thousands of rescue groups around the country, many of which go bankrupt in a matter of a couple of years. People can have the best of intentions when starting a rescue group, but it is very expensive to do this particularly when a rescue dog is in need of vet care or surgery. One rescue we know of actaully spent more than $25,000 on a single dog, and ended up dissolving the rescue for financial reasons.