Shelter Standards Task Force

In 2010, ASV established the Standards of Care in Animal Shelters guidelines. These first of their kind guidelines established a benchmark for shelter medicine, creating a foundation for better overall sheltered animal care.

The Guidelines are currently under review and we anticipate the release of updated Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters in late 2022, helping shelters to stay up to date on the latest in evidence based care for shelter animals.  Stay tuned for more information closer to the release date!

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  • 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”