Position Statement on Best Practices in Animal Transport Protocols
Frequently, animal protection groups in different geographic locales may face fundamentally different problems. This results in some shelters taking in more dogs than they can care and find homes for, while others may have trouble finding enough "adoptable" dogs to keep up with a community's demand.The result is a burgeoning practice of transporting animals from one area to another.What once began as an informal and piecemeal effort of volunteers has now become the standard practice of animal transport for many animal welfare organizations.
The nation-wide experience in response to Hurricane Katrina, national cooperative efforts like the Asilomar Accords, and the coordinating roles played by larger national groups, have all encouraged the development of this trend.It is now common practice to transport animals rescued in large-scale operations - from natural disasters, hoarding situations, or puppy mills, for example - to share the burden of their care and adoption between groups, many of which may be located hundreds of miles from the site of the rescue.Animals are also imported to meet the needs in communities where specific breeds or size drive more adoptions.
Transporting animals, however, raises numerous questions for both source and destination shelters as well as state and local authorities. To date, there has been little effort made to create standard answers to these questions despite the prevalence of the practice.
The National Federation of Humane Societies believes that companion animal transport programs can provide a useful tool in balancing the needs of both source and destination shelters while meeting the needs of transported animals humanely.The NFHS believes a tiered approach to animal transfer is necessary to recognize the varying resources of participants and their capacity for participation.Best practices developed by animal welfare groups, state veterinarians, and federal agencies are essential and all organizations engaged in animal transport programs should use them. Best practice guidelines must govern and ensure humane animal care, good shelter medicine protocols, compliance with all local, state and federal regulations and encourage strong communication between all transfer parties.Such practices support humane transport, transparency and efficiency.Transport must benefit both the animals and the organizations which care for them.