Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

The ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters were originally created in 2010 to serve as a pivotal resource for the care of shelter animals in the US and around the world. The second edition of the Guidelines, published in December 2022, incorporates advances in shelter medicine knowledge and expands on the previous document with two new sections. Additionally, the second edition shifts its framework from the Five Freedoms to the Five Domains which provides a broader approach to achieving and maintaining positive welfare for shelter animals. 

Like the original, the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, Second Edition is written for all personnel caring for shelter animals in a variety of settings, including foster-based organizations, nonprofit humane societies and SPCAs, municipal animal services facilities, and sanctuaries. The Guidelines are also applicable for any other organization that routinely cares for populations of companion animals.

Read the Press Release
 
RESOURCES
Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, Second Edition

Checklist of key actionable statements from the Guidelines (coming soon)

Stay tuned for translated versions of the Second Edition of the Guidelines. In the meantime, we welcome you to access translated versions of the original document.



HISTORY OF THE 2ND EDITION
Authors

In 2019, the ASV convened a Guidelines Review task force of 19 shelter medicine veterinarians selected from a pool of nominees and original authors based on their areas of expertise, geographical locations, and current or previous roles in a variety of shelter types. Task force members completed literature reviews and consulted subject matter experts to inform their contributions.

Members of the Task Force:
top row:
 Drs. Phillip Bushby, Staci Cannon, Elise Gingrich, Brian DiGangi, Miranda Spindel (on screen), Martha Smith-Blackmore, Cristie Kamiya, Erin Doyle, Nancy Bradley, Jeanette O'Quin
bottom row: Drs. Lena DeTar, Uri Donnett, Elizabeth Berliner, Lucy Fuller, Sheila Sergurson, Chumkee Aziz, Cindy Karsten
not pictured: Drs. Stephanie Janeczko, Brenda Griffin

Goals

The Second Edition of the Guidelines maintains the same goals as the original document.  To provide:

  • a set of common standards for the care and welfare of companion animals in shelters based on scientific evidence and expert consensus
  • guidance that helps animal welfare organizations reduce overcrowding, stress, disease, and improve safety
  • a tool for animal welfare organizations and communities to assess and improve their shelters
  • references for creating regulations and statutes around sheltering, and benchmarks for organizational change
  • guidance for animal housing in existing facilities and priorities for the design of new construction
  • a living document that responds to developments in shelter medicine and animal care research and practice
 
Scope

The Guidelines document is:

  • an evidence-based guide to “what” is critical to support the positive welfare of shelter animals, as well as “why” these strategies are important
  • focused on the fundamental needs of cats and dogs 
  • based on the Five Domains Model of animal welfare assessment
  • a tool to help advocate for animal care and well-being in shelters and communities

The Guidelines document is not:

  • a detailed operations manual - “how” the strategies outlined in the Guidelines are implemented may vary by organization
  • expressly focused on the care of owned pets or community pet welfare, except for where that care intersects with policies and decisions impacting shelter admissions and outcomes.  However, the ASV recognizes the importance of activities supporting pet retention and access to veterinary care, and that shelters are playing a large role in providing those services

 

ENDORSEMENTS (More coming soon!)