Guidelines developed for relocation of dogs and cats for adoption

Beans and Cooper at Blum Animal HospitalTransporting adoptable pets from areas where shelters and rescue facilities are overcrowded to locations where new homes await can be rewarding and save lives. But, as veterinarians, we know that the transport of animals also poses risks. Trips must be carefully planned to ensure the animals’ good welfare during transport, prevent the spread of disease, and protect animal and human health and safety. 

The AVMA’s new publication, Relocation of Dogs and Cats for Adoption: Best Practices, is designed to assist those who are involved in relocation efforts so that the pet’s chances of finding its forever home are improved, while ensuring its safety and the safety of other animals and people. The guidelines apply to shelter-to-shelter relocations, grassroots efforts and commercial operations. 

The relocation guidelines, which were created by the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee with assistance from the AVMA Animal Welfare Division, address the following topics:

  • Reasons for relocating adoptable pets
  • Methods of relocation
  • Selection of dogs and cats for relocation, including whether they are suitable for transport
  • Responsibilities of participating individuals and organizations
  • Responsibilities at the point of origin, during transport and at the destination
  • Enclosure space and design
  • Special precautions for young animals, brachycephalic dog breeds, cats, and “special needs” dogs and cats 

We hope these new guidelines will help make the transport process safer, healthier and more pleasant for all involved, and bring us closer to our goal of reducing unnecessary euthanasia and finding happy homes for many more adoptable dogs and cats.

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