Operational Guides for Animal Shelters

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Animal Adoption

This resource offers guidelines, forms and reports to create an effective animal adoption program, including information on interviewing potential adopters and training volunteers and staff as counselors. It includes a list of free sources for pet care materials.

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Animal Ordinance Preparation

Preparing an ordinance for your community can be a challenging task. This guide provides an overview of common ordinance sections including cat issues, dog issues, cruelty, dangerous dogs, enforcement, licensing, livestock and permits. Two sample ordinances are included.

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Behavior Assessment Programs

This guide provides an overview of temperament assessment tests. It also discusses ways to build program support and measure the success of a program. A list of additional resources is provided.

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Chemical Capture

This guide examines the use of remote-delivered chemical compounds for restraining and capturing stray, fractious and feral animals. It includes guidelines for training, equipment, procedures and drugs, as well as a bibliography and list of suppliers.

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Companion Animal Zoonotic Diseases

This guide describes 50 zoonotic diseases that are of concern for animal shelters and includes explanations of transmission, prevention and symptoms of infection in animals and people. It also includes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, a bibliography and other useful resources.

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Fundraising Plans

This guide includes ways to develop a fundraising plan and the board of directors' role in fundraising, and explains different types of fundraising and what you should consider before implementing them.

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Horse Care and Abuse Investigation

This guide gives animal care professionals in-depth information on equine health issues, dietary needs, housing requirements, common horse abuses, how to assess levels of abuse and neglect and the steps of a proper investigation.

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Humane Education

The purpose of this guide is to assist animal shelter and humane organization directors, board members and managers in balancing the many options and opportunities associated with deciding whether or not to offer humane education in the community.

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This informative guide discusses the legal definition of cruelty, official authorization, uniforms versus plain clothes and complaints. It includes guidelines for writing reports, conducting investigations, gathering evidence and appearing in court.

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Personnel Selection and Management

This guide presents ideas and procedures that can help you hire the right people, facilitate employee motivation and promote organizational productivity. It addresses the key topics of employee selection and personnel planning, employee training, employee evaluation process and personnel management.

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Planning and Building an Animal Shelter

With suggestions and preliminary drawings, this guide offers a blueprint for planning and constructing an animal shelter. It includes comments on general construction features, heating, ventilation, drainage and other considerations.

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Public and Media Relations

This guide outlines the different types and benefits of public relations, as well as keys to successful PR. It explains specific PR programs with a guide to public speaking and audio-visual presentations. It also includes tips on how to select and manage a PR person.

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Recommendations for City/County Animal Control Contracts

This guide is a necessary resource for humane agencies considering contracting with their local government to manage animal control. It includes arguments for and against contracting, suggested contract clauses and an example of a model contract.

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Record Keeping

Accurate and efficient record keeping is crucial to all animal shelters. This manual lays the groundwork for successful record keeping and makes it easier to keep accurate and efficient records. You’ll find sample forms and helpful tips for keeping records on adoptions, animal behavior, spay/neuter, cruelty investigations, controlled substance use, lost and found, intake, daily activities, and more.

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Reptile Care

This operational guide focuses on the care of reptiles -- lizards, snakes and turtles -- in the shelter environment. It includes information on health assessment, habitat and food requirements, adoption, euthanasia and species-specific care.

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Sanitation and Disease Control in the Shelter Environment

This guide outlines an animal healthcare program for shelters, including design considerations, cleaning materials, animal handling, preventive medicine and planning. It also includes a glossary of terms.

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Small Mammals

This guide offers information on how to house, feed and care for small animals other than dogs and cats in shelters, such a rabbits, rodents, ferrets and other exotic pets. The guide also includes a sample small mammal personality profile and surrender form.

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Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is critical for organizations that want to thrive, not just survive, especially during challenging times. This guide goes through the steps involved in the planning process and explains why organizations should plan and cases when they should not plan.

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Volunteer Management

From how to recruit volunteers, to training and supervising them, this guide covers it all. This guide includes pages of sample forms, interview questions and much more. You'll also get a comprehensive resource guide with books, organizations and software to help you manage your volunteers effectively.

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