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Michigan Certified Rescue Organization Code of Ethics

Adhering to the Code of Ethics is crucial to the mission of becoming a No Kill state.

Animal Bill of Rights

  1. We believe all animals deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, compassion and kindness.

  2. We recognize once an animal is taken into our rescue, we are fully responsible for the animal from intake until final disposition – adoption, transfer or demise.

  3. For any reason, we will accept the return of an animal that we have adopted out.

  4. At a minimum, animals in our care will have access to shelter, nutritious food, adequate water, a safe environment and receive regular and professional veterinary care.

  5. We will address all known illnesses promptly, not adopt out a sick animal and will ensure all treatments are completed (or provide provisions) prior to adoption.

  6. We will work diligently to reunite lost animals with their guardians.

  7. We will subscribe to the philosophy of “do no harm,” which includes refusal to allow cosmetic alternation of an animal or performance of unnecessary surgical procedures, including but are not limited to declawing, debarking, ear and tail cropping.  

  8. We will exhaust all resources, provide rehabilitation options to an animal, if needed, and seek out animal sanctuaries before choosing euthanasia.

  9. We will refrain from adopting any puppy or kitten until it is at least 8 weeks old.

  10. We will adopt locally to ensure the animal can be easily returned if needed.

Rules of Conduct

  1. We will make all attempts possible to be fair, polite and honest with other rescue groups, adopters, donors and related professional organizations.

  2. We will respect existing rules, treat others as they’d hope to be treated, consider mediation when attempts at communication fail and, in all our dealings, seek to elevate the reputation of certified rescue organizations.

  3. We agree to use standard animal welfare definitions and terminology in all our communications and written materials, as established in the Michigan Rescue Certification Program, in order to educate the general public and elevate their understanding and knowledge of homeless animal issues and welfare.

  4. We will help control the pet population by having all healthy dogs and cats, at least 8 weeks or older and two pounds in weight, sterilized prior to adoption.

  5. We will not support the breeding industry by any action that would serve to continue their operations, such as participating in events with or at pet stores that sell dogs or cats, buying or taking animals from an auction or relieving a breeder of excess stock.

  6. We will not participate in any “pet trafficking” by working with an animal broker or anyone in which the source of the animals is unknown.

  7. We will not import animals from out of state and contribute to the homeless animal problem here in Michigan.

  8. We will not engage in the practice of “flipping,” which involves obtaining animals for free or at a low cost, then quickly selling those same animals for profit.

  9. We will not provide animals for "give-away" to the public, such as puppies/kittens for charity raffles or auctions, dog fighting, racing, research or to brokers who supply research facilities, commercial wholesalers, dealers, brokers, retailers, pet shops or any other person or organization for resale.

  10. We will always report suspected hoarding, neglect or cruelty situations to the local authorities, including other “rescues” that are “collecting” animals and owning more than they can humanely care for.

  11. We will never take an animal from an owner in an attempt to “rescue” the animal from an unacceptable environment without the owner’s permission and full disclosure as to why the animals are being taken through the use of a signed surrender form.

  12. We adhere to our Conflict of Interest Policy and ensure that our board members and volunteers will not financially benefit from the rescue organization.

Adopter Bill of Rights

  1. We will fully inform potential adopters about the health, behavioral history, temperament and potential risk factors involved in becoming a specific animal’s guardian.

  2. We will fully screen potential adopters for personal and situational compatibility as thoroughly as our rescue group’s resources allow.

  3. We will offer consistent adoption fees.

  4. We will provide transparency to the public by providing details as to how the funding is raised and spent on a public platform.

Donor Bill of Rights

  1. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.

  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.

  3. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.

  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.

  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.

  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.

  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.

  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

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