Shelter Standards Task Force

The ASV Shelter Guidelines project was initiated by the 2007 Board of Directors.



  • 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

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”