CHICAGO (CBS) — If you are an animal lover and spend a lot of time online, you have probably seen pleas from rescue groups seeking homes for unwanted dogs and cats. The area’s biggest no-kill shelter welcomes the trend.

Approximately 10,000 animals each year are euthanized by Chicago Animal Care and Control, despite the efforts of rescue groups like PAWS Chicago. Thousands more are euthanized by suburban agencies.

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More and more appeals for help are appearing online, and they come from groups big and small. If you’re an animal lover, you’ve probably seen Facebook pleas from rescue groups big and small.

PAWS Chicago is not afraid to use Facebook pleas for specific animals.

“What’s nice about that is you can put out individual pleas,” said Sarah McDonald of PAWS Chicago. “If there’s an animal that needs our saving, may be they have a special ailment or something like that, we’re able to put that plea out there and the community really responds.”

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While PAWS raised more than $200,000 from a sold-out crowd of more than 450 to finance its Chicago-area operations during a benefit at the North Avenue Beach Thursday night, many other rescue groups are hand-to-mouth and must move quickly to save specific animals. Some have playful names such as Secondhand Snoots, Animal House Rescue and for pit bulls RescueMe.org and Peace for Pits. All are serious about finding “forever homes” for animals no one wants and are looking for volunteers as actively as they are seeking to adopt out. McDonald said they are allies, not competitors.

“We are thrilled to see more and more rescue groups wanting to make an impact,” she said.

As recently as 20 years ago, Chicago Animal Care euthanized more than 40,000 animals a year. The rescue groups would like to make that figure zero.

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McDonald said if a specific animal in a Facebook plea intrigues you, to do your homework and find out more about the animal and the breed. Some are lively, others are lap dogs. She said potential pet owners should weigh whether they have the time and financial resources needed to care for an animal over a period of years. And she said no matter how cute they look in photos, there is no substitute for meeting in-person.