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Download PDF of full program document.

Rescue Organizations lack the luxury of having a national or statewide umbrella organization to set standards, provide guidance or act as a resource. Each organization not only cares for the homeless cats and dogs in its care and seeks to rehome them, but each organization is also required to set-up a legal organizational structure, develop protocols, policies, documents, financial systems and fundraise to pay for it all. It is a daunting task, especially for what is usually a 100% volunteer-run organization. However, several hundred such organizations have been established in Michigan alone and have accomplished these tasks successfully.

The purpose of this program, along with the additional resources and supporting materials on the website is to gather and present the best practices for various operations and functions of rescue organizations.

Best Practices evolves as the animal welfare community evolves. Some may be surprised to see a medical protocol that indicates that spay/neuter surgery can be performed for heartworm positive dogs in stage one or stage two of the disease. This is a best practice in shelter medicine and one which needs to be adopted by the rescue community as well.


In order to ensure that Michigan’s rescue community stays up-to-date with best practices, the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance produces annual education and learning opportunities.

Finally, these Best Practices (Animal Care Standards, Organizational Standards, and Operational Standards) along with the adherence to the Code of Ethics will be used as the basis for compliance with the Michigan Rescue Certification Program.

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