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What to look for in Animal Shelters

Not all animal shelters are created equal. With so many options available when adopting a pet, it can be hard to tell if you’re choosing the right one. As a prospective pet owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that the shelter you support exists in the best interest of the animals it houses. To better understand the differences between a proper animal shelter and a for-profit animal mill, check out the evaluation guidelines we’ve included below.


A proper animal shelter will have:

  • Staff with some level of formal or informal training
  • Accurate and up-to-date records of the animals in their care
  • Educational programs or opportunities to gain skills and knowledge
  • A will to engage the community
  • Posters or documents requesting volunteers
  • Housing of appropriate size and cleanliness for every animal
  • Proper ventilation
  • Water readily available for every animal
  • A schedule to ensure that every animal gets daily exercise
  • Standards in place to evaluate an animal’s fitness for adoption
  • Standards in place to evaluate a person’s fitness to adopt
  • Biosecurity standards to prevent the transmission of diseases
  • Emergency items available, including but not limited to a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and a smoke or fire detector
  • Adequate protection from the sun, wind, rain, snow, and excessive cold and heat for every animal
  • Registered charitable status
  • Local animals available for adoption, not exclusively imported animals


Adopting a pet is a noble choice, and with these guidelines you should be able to ensure that the shelter you choose has as good intentions as your own.

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