Shelter Standards Task Force

Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

The ASV Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters were originally released in 2010 to serve as a pivotal resource for the care of shelter animals in the US and around the world. The second edition of the Guidelines, published in December 2022, incorporates advances in shelter medicine knowledge to expand on the previous document.  

Like the original, the Second Edition is written for all personnel caring for shelter animals in a variety of settings, including foster-based organizations, nonprofit humane societies and SPCAs, municipal animal services facilities, and sanctuaries. The Guidelines are also applicable to any other organization that routinely cares for populations of companion animals. For more information about the history and content of the Guidelines, please see the History of the Document.



  • Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, Second Edition
  • Checklist of key actionable statements from the Guidelines
    • PDF
    • Spreadsheet (sortable) - coming soon!

The ASV strives to make the Guidelines accessible to all who are interested in its content. The document is compatible with screen readers and images contain alt text.

The following translations are also available:

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  This document was published in the English language and has been professionally translated from the original. While reasonable care has been taken to accurately translate this document, readers relying upon the content of this translated document assume all risk of errors in translation or related misinterpretations. Where clarification of content is needed please refer to the English version for original intent.


The 2022 version of the ASV guidelines center around the need for shelters to manage intake at all costs in order to ensure adequate care can be provided for the animals once they enter the shelter system.  This ensures not only the health and safety of the animals, but the mental health and physical safety of the animal welfare staff providing services to their community.  It is exciting to see a set of guidelines that looks at our organizations/industry holistically and prioritizes the health and safety of both pets and people!  - Dr. Josh A. Fisher, MHA, CAWA - President, NACA