Shelter & Rescue Code of Ethics

Shelters and rescues do incredible, life-saving work and Good Dog is proud to support them in their missions. While most shelter and rescue organizations do all they can to support their animals and are consistently working to improve, we seek to highlight those that meet the standards presented here and encourage others to meet and exceed them as well.

Shelters and Rescues in Our Community

Shelter and rescue organizations in our community are held accountable to a set of standards created in collaboration with our shelter, rescue, veterinary, and academic advisors. We especially rely on the great work of groups such as Best Friends Animal Society and Charity Navigator who serve as indispensable resources to us. Members of our community not only provide support for their animals but also meet a high standard for transparency and financial discipline.

Shelter and Care

All participating shelters and rescues agree to:

  1. Maintain status as an approved 501(c)(3) public charity or municipal shelter.
  2. Provide the proper care and a clean, safe environment for all dogs on the premises, which includes at a minimum:
    • Veterinary care for dogs when sick or injured
    • Indoor spaces with protection from extreme temperatures
    • Outdoor access in a play yard and with walks
    • Appropriate daily food and water (in accordance with breed, age, and size)
    • Regular interaction, exercise, socialization, and other enrichment (e.g. toys)
    • Appropriate living space with no wire flooring
    • Cleaned at least daily with comfortable, padded spaces for sleeping
    • Access to toys and other enrichment items
  3. Ensure all dogs are seen by a licensed veterinarian as a part of a full veterinary exam with a clean bill of health (unless an exemption is applicable), are given appropriate shots and are dewormed or have a negative fecal exam before going to a new home. Appropriate shots should include age specific as well as region specific shots to prevent the spread of diseases upon transport.
  4. Spay or neuter all dogs if not already spayed or neutered upon arrival.
  5. Maintain detailed records on dogs surrendered, their time in the shelter or rescue’s care and adoption (and report this data publicly as much as possible).
  6. Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  7. When possible given availability of time and resources:
    • Encourage foster to adopt programming to help dogs transition into a family setting
    • Commit to training and rehabilitating dogs surrendered such that they are able to thrive in their new homes
    • Microchip all dogs
    • Work in their communities to educate on the importance of good dog ownership and surrender prevention
    • Encourage and participate in spay and neuter campaigns

Placing Dogs with New Owners

All participating shelters and rescues agree to:

  1. Screen all prospective owners to determine their suitability and motives for acquiring a dog using an application process.
  2. Disclose any known health or behavioral issues of a dog before it goes to a new home.
  3. Never misrepresent the characteristics or history of a dog (including the surrender history, breed, location of rescue, past health issues).
  4. Make sure that each dog, upon release to its new owners, is accompanied by the following:
    • Health certificate including vaccination and deworming dates
    • All prior available health records (unless an exemption is applicable)
  5. Maintain detailed records of each dog adopted.
  6. Provide resources and guidance for new dogs owners to ensure a good transition.
  7. Encourage new owners to abide by our Dog Parent Code of Ethics.