ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

The ASV Shelter Guidelines Project is a major initiative that was undertaken by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Board of Directors. In the following pages you will find information regarding the project:


Goals of the Shelter Guidelines Project

  • Provide shelters and communities a tool for self-assessment and improvement
  • Increase consistency of care across US
  • Promote highest standards of welfare, for existing facilities as well as new construction
  • Provide sound reference material for regulatory purposes when communities look for guidance
  • Provide a benchmark for when corrective action is needed
  • Create a living document that will be responsive to developments in shelter medicine and animal care
  • Establish what is required for a decent quality of life for populations of companion animals
  • Dispel notions that high morbidity and mortality from disease and injury is the norm in shelters
  • Connect expectations of sanitation, medical care, and mental/behavioral well-being to acceptable sheltering, and dispel any notion that these essentials are frivolous “extras” or cosmetic


Shelter Guidelines Scope and Intention

  • Apply to any shelter caring for companion animals
  • Written by shelter veterinarians as a tool to help advocate for animal care and well-being more effectively in shelters and communities
  • To be equally important for shelter veterinarians, directors, managers, board members, and members of the community
  • Emphasize the important contributions of shelter medicine for quality animal care
  • Based on the “Five Freedoms”


Special Thanks

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians is grateful to our colleagues who authored a foreword to the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters – The National Federation of Humane Societies, The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, The National Animal Control Association, The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States. Download the Guidelines complete with this foreword here!