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Frequently Asked Questions

If you're an animal care professional or volunteer, The Humane Society of the United States has a wealth of resources designed to help you in your work for animals.

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions and top searched resources:

Top Searched Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I find information on preventing or responding to a disease outbreak? Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, University of Florida offers disease outbreak response assistance and shelter health assessments, plus a shelter medicine library with access to webinars, research, tools, tips, and fact sheets. In addition, the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program offers a variety of services including shelter health evaluations, a shelter retainer service, and diagnostic services, plus a comprehensive shelter health portal with access to a resource library, information sheets, and answers to questions from peers.
  • Where can I find humane euthanasia training and compassion fatigue resources? Access a free digital version of The HSUS Euthanasia Reference Manual (2013) along with other information on humane euthanasia training and compassion fatigue, helping you to ensure that when euthanasia is the only option, it is performed as humanely as possible.
  • Where can I go for help developing standard operating procedures (SOPs)? Visit ASPCAPro to review a three part series on creating, implementing, and updating SOPs, and download a comprehensive template to jumpstart your process. Remember that any SOPs you create should be in accordance with the ASV Guidelines.
  • Where can I find data and national sheltering statistics? While the HSUS publishes national shelter estimates, they are not a substitute for actual shelter data. The new national database project, Shelter Animals Count, is a collaborative effort with broad representation from the animal welfare community designed to create standardized reporting and definitions for shelter statistics including intake, adoptions, return-to-owner, transfers, and euthanasia, in order to increase live outcomes and lifesaving opportunities.
  • How can I measure my organization’s practices against others? The UC Davis Virtual Consultant makes it easy to compare your polices against best practices identified by the shelter medicine experts and the ASV Guidelines. Compare notes with similar organizations by taking advantage of networking opportunities through SAWA , Rescue Central Forum, and the Volunteer Management listserv. See the assessments inclusing The Shelter Diagnostic System (SDS) is an affordable service designed to help staffed organizations assess employee perceptions of working for your agency. Anonymous, agency wide results are compared to SDS benchmarks in a custom report. The Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) is yet another assessment tool developed for the animal sheltering field.
  • Where can I find one-on-one consultation and evaluation services? Both the UC-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program and the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program offer in-depth shelter health assessments. A growing list of individuals and companies also offer one-on-one consulting services on various aspects of shelter design and operations, email us to find one that would best suit your needs.
  • Where can I find staff training? Use our training and events calendar to search for training opportunities offered by The HSUS and other national and state agencies by category, type, and location. Find numerous recorded and live webinars by searching websites listed below under “Professional Development.” Networking sites like SAWA and Rescue Central Forum also offer opportunities to learn about training practices from colleagues across the nation.
  • Where do I find information on forming a new animal welfare organization? Before embarking on this effort, take a moment to consider whether a shelter or rescue is most needed, or if efforts more focused on preventing pet homelessness in the first place will have the greatest impact. Review the Pets for Life Toolkit to learn how to assess the needs of your community, and better determine where there are voids to be filled. If a shelter/rescue group truly is what’s needed, see the ASV Guidelines to learn standards for humane shelter operations, and visit Rescue Central for information on starting and operating an effective, humane rescue group.

Professional Development

  • The HSUS’ Humane Society Academy offers development opportunities for professionals, volunteers, and advocates in the field of animal protection, including self-paced and instructor-led courses, certificate programs, and webinars. Scholarships are available.
  • ASPCAPro: Find webinars, tools, tips, blogs, grants, and more about spay/neuter, disaster & cruelty, shelter management, shelter health and proactive programs to save lives.
  • PetSmart Charities: Access grants and emergency relief funding, collaborate on adoption and rescue programs, and join an online learning community for webinars and more.
  • Maddie’s Institute: The academic arm of Maddie’s Fund delivers e-learning, survey results, blogs, articles and more to shelter staff, veterinarians, rescue groups and community members.
  • Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, University of Florida: Access disease outbreak response assistance, and shelter health assessments, plus a shelter medicine library with access to webinars, research, tools, tips, and fact sheets.
  • UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program offers a variety of services including shelter health evaluations, a shelter retainer service, and diagnostic services, plus a comprehensive shelter health portal with access to free resources including a reference library, information sheets, and answers to questions from peers.
  • National Animal Control Association (NACA) offers an online community for NACA members, including news and calendar updates for training and opportunities.
  • PetfinderPro offers online resources for animal welfare professionals including webinars, adoption promotion tips, an event calendar, blogs, and more.
  • Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) is a membership organization that promotes professionalism (including CAWA certification) and the benefits of networking (through an active list-serv). Resources focus on human resources and management.
  • Center for Shelter Dogs: Find resources on training and enriching shelter dogs, including videos and supplemental materials, templates and detailed procedures, and training to help incorporate ideas in your shelter or rescue.
  • Read, subscribe or renew Animal Sheltering magazine

Didn't find what you're looking for? Search our site or email us at info@animalsheltering.org.