Socially Conscious Sheltering

The Socially Conscious Animal Community framework allows each of us to understand our role in creating the best outcomes for pets. This concept is based on the most respectful treatment of animals. It’s about placing every healthy and safe animal that ends up in a shelter or rescue. It’s about transparency and leadership. It’s about thoughtful public policy. It’s about safe communities. We can work together to create the best outcomes for all animals while nurturing the human-animal bond, and we can educate colleagues, friends, family members, neighbors and policy makers so animals receive the care and respect they deserve. The cornerstone for Socially Conscious Animal Communities is Socially Conscious Sheltering.

What are the Tenets of Socially Conscious Sheltering?

Socially Conscious Sheltering is a compassionate, transparent and thoughtful model of how shelters can best support vulnerable animals. Socially Conscious Sheltering is a shared set of beliefs that animal welfare organizations around the world are embracing to create best possible outcomes for companion animals.

There are eight tenets of Socially Conscious Sheltering. Shelters across the country have committed to this way of caring for animals and, as a result, animals in these shelters and rescues are having superior outcomes. Every community has a responsibility to its animals and should demand that animals receive the care and respect they deserve. What follows is a summary of these tenets:

Place every healthy and safe animal.


Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care.


Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals and ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed.


Align shelter policy with the needs of the community.


Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions.


Enhance the human-animal bond through safe placements and post-adoption support.


Consider the health, wellness and safety of animals for each community when transferring animals.


Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision-making, mutual respect, continual learning and collaboration.