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Shelter operations and management

Utilize our resources to improve the health and welfare of the animals in your care and ensure you're following the best and most current operations and management procedures.

  • No more guessing games

    It doesn’t take a marketing degree to know that, in the sheltering business, you shouldn’t be naming your dogs things like Trouble, Biter, Loud Mouth, Dimwit or Sir Sheds-A-Lot. But could you unintentionally be creating the same effect every time you put a breed label on a kennel card? Learn how the combination of breed stereotypes and breed guesses often works against the best interests of dogs and adopters—and why more shelters are choosing breed-free ways to describe the dogs in their care.

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  • Building quality leadership

    In the first quarter of 2016, the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) merged two century-old organizations who now provide care and outreach for more than 60,000 animals a year in the nation’s capital. As a result, we are blending a leadership team and, in many ways, reinventing ourselves: expanding programs and services, developing a new culture and unrolling a new brand and identity.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Shelter operations and management

  • Magazine Article

    Scrap the trap

    <em>Animal Sheltering</em> magazine Summer 2018

    Download this Mouthpiece to let your community know there are better ways to handle wildlife conflicts

    Download this Mouthpiece to let your community know that there are better ways to handle wildlife conflicts.

    Browse additional Mouthpieces designed to aid your community outreach. To submit a PSA your organization designed, contact us at

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  • Blog Post

    Rescuers to the rescue

    Rescue and shelter partnerships growing beyond adoption

    The animal sheltering field has changed. We can see it in the decline in the euthanasia rate for companion animals nationwide, the increase in adoption rates in animal shelters and the “community animal welfare center” role that many animal shelters are shifting to. Working to keep pets in homes through behavior assistance, affordable and accessible medical care and food pantries are all common in the portfolio of services offered by a large number of animal shelters in 2018.

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  • Magazine Article

    Taxing matters

    An accountant explains deductions for animal rescue activities

    If you volunteer for an animal rescue group, you’re probably too focused on finding foster homes, arranging transports or coordinating adoption fairs to worry about personal tax write-offs. Rescuers tend to be “all-in”—investing significant amounts of their time and money into the effort while overlooking or remaining unaware of existing opportunities for tax breaks.

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  • Magazine Article

    Model behavior

    Humane Society Silicon Valley in California is the first shelter to meet “model shelter” standards issued by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

    Humane Society Silicon Valley reaches a milestone by meeting ‘model shelter’ standards

    Like a mountain, a marathon or a long neglected inbox, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ standards for humane animal sheltering—all 543 of them—are out there, waiting to be conquered.

    Developed by 14 veterinary professionals and released in 2010, the ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters give animal welfare organizations of all types a road map for ongoing self-evaluation and improvement. The standards aim to help ensure that organizations recognize and meet their animals’ physical, mental and behavioral needs.

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  • Magazine Article

    We stand up for the five freedoms

    <em>Animal Sheltering</em> magazine Spring 2018

    Download this Mouthpiece to show your shelter is committed to providing the five freedoms

    The Five Freedoms is an animal welfare standard developed by the U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council and adapted by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians for pets in shelters. Download this Mouthpiece to show your community that your shelter is commited to providing your animals with the five freedoms.

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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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