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Shelter design

As you strive to create a state-of-the-art animal shelter, take time to assess your community’s growth rate as well as your shelter’s animal data and programs to help determine your future needs. Read stories from shelters that have maximized their space and begin plans for your own shelter facility, whether you're retrofitting to maximize your current capacity or starting from scratch.

  • Making the shelter a happier place for animals

    We all want the animals in our care to be as healthy and happy as possible. To accomplish this, we must attend to both their physical and emotional needs. We protect the animals’ physical health through routine vaccination, parasite control, proper nutrition, spay/neuter and other basic medical care. We create a healthy environment for them—one that is clean and well-maintained, not crowded, kept at a comfortable temperature and with good air quality.

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  • Design for living

    Today’s animal shelters must meet a variety of needs: They’re expected to look like a shopping center and perform like a hospital, all while remaining a secure facility. They need to be functional, but also welcoming. They need to be welcoming, but not seem so extravagant they’ll make donors or taxpayers wonder where their money is going. They need to showcase adoptable pets in a friendly and appealing way, but also provide safe, secure space for animals who may be quarantined for health or behavior reasons.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Shelter design

  • Assessment

    Which Groups are Good Candidates for Mentorship?

    While most groups are happy to accept offers of resources, transport support, etc., not every organization is a good candidate for mentorship. To truly embrace the opportunity participation in a Shelter Ally program provides, groups must be willing to accept the recommendations for change and implement mentor group suggestions. Honest and forthright initial conversations must be had in order to determine the prospective mentee’s openness to change.

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  • Magazine Article

    Not your mother’s animal shelter

    After decades of innovation, sheltering has progressed far beyond its ‘dog pound’ roots

    Some longtime animal welfare professionals can remember the days of tiny cinderblock shelters hidden away from the community, bare concrete kennels and unthinkable euthanasia rates. Decades later, shelters leading the field are innovative, creative community centers that tackle animal homelessness at the roots and boast vastly improved live-release rates. How did we get here—and where will we go next?

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  • Blog Post

    Are they getting the care they deserve?

    Using the Five Freedoms to ensure quality of life for animals in our care

    In my days working in a shelter, when I turned out the lights and left at the end of the day, I would ask myself one very important question: “Did I give each and every animal the best possible care today?” 

    I’m guessing you do the same. But how can we be certain? How do we know for sure that any animal is living a good quality life, let alone an animal living in a shelter environment? The answer lies in something called “The Five Freedoms.”

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