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Strengthen Your Shelter or Rescue

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians - Guidelines for Standards of Care (ASV Guidelines) is the best tool available to help every type and size of animal care organization to maximize the quality of life provided to animals in their care and their total lifesaving capacity as a whole. We recommend that you read the document thoroughly and use it to immediately eliminate any practices identified as “unacceptable” and begin exploring options for achieving practices identified as “ideal” or “best.” The ASV Guidelines address core areas, including:

shelter cat being held
  • animal handling, restraint, and equipment use
  • animal transport*
  • cleaning and disease control
  • dog and cat enrichment*
  • euthanasia
  • facility design and environment
  • group /colony housing*
  • humane capacity*
  • management and record keeping*
  • medical health and physical well-being*
  • public health*
  • spaying and neutering*

*Issues identified as most relevant for foster-based rescue groups.

For information on how other agencies have used the ASV Guidelines to make lifesaving changes in their shelter, see the Animal Sheltering Magazine Series, ASV Guidelines in Real Life.

Once you have read the ASV Guidelines, you can measure the strength and effectiveness of your organization’s current policies using the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Virtual Consultant. A free, private tool created by the shelter medicine experts at UC Davis, the Virtual Consultant uses straightforward online surveys to compare your procedures and policies against best practices, highlighting opportunities for improvement and pointing you to the best available resources for making any needed protocol adjustments.

Frequently Asked Questions


ASV Guidelines in Real Life 
Animal Sheltering magazine series

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