Shelter Regulations – notice from MDAR

The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts

Executive Office Of Energy And Environmental Affairs

Department of Agricultural Resources

251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114

617-626-1700   fax:  617-626-1850



Attached please find a copy of the proposed regulations at 330 CMR 30.00 – Animal Rescue and Shelter Regulations.  I am encouraging all registered organizations to review these proposed regulations and provide written comments to the Department at your earliest convenience.  Should you have any questions regarding the meaning or intent of any of the language, please contact me directly.  I am interested in incorporating any requested changes prior to the scheduled public hearing.

The public hearing for the proposed Animal Rescue and Shelter Regulations has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 24, 2013, from 2pm to 5pm, in the 2nd floor conference rooms B, C and D, at 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02114.  We would like to have an opportunity to receive your feedback prior to this hearing so we can make the most of the limited time we have at the hearing.  Any written comments will be accepted between now and 5pm on September 24.

The proposed regulations seek to establish minimum standards for the operation of animal rescue organizations and set requirements for importation, handling, care and transfer (adoption) of animals to Massachusetts residents.

The following topics have been addressed within the proposed regulations:

Registration: Registration is required for any person or organization that operates an animal rescue, shelter, or facility, including those that import animals into the Commonwealth for the purpose of transferring ownership.

Fostering / Foster Homes:  Animal shelters and rescue organizations may establish a foster care network for animals belonging to the organization.  People providing foster care may only do so under a written agreement with the registered organization.  Each foster care giver will have to sign an acknowledgement of having received and read the document “Best Practices for Providing Foster Care” that will outline the guidelines and some issues of concern for foster families.  This document is still being drafted, and we will make copies available as soon as possible.

Off-Site Adoptions:  Off-Site adoptions will be allowed under the new regulations.  You can host an off-site adoption event anywhere that meets the basic animal care standards.  Adoption events held in conjunction with licensed pet stores will continue to fall under the Pet Shop regulations at 330 CMR 12.

Transferring Animals:  Transferring an animal includes bartering, exchanging, adopting out, gifting, giving away or otherwise transferring ownership of a domestic animal to a person other than the animal shelter / rescue organization.

·         Every dog must undergo a behavioral assessment prior to transfer.

·         Every domestic animal must be accompanied by disclosure statements detailing any medical or behavior issues upon transfer.

·         No organization may transfer an animal that exhibits signs of serious aggressive tendencies or any contagious ailment.  This includes kennel cough and internal or external parasites.

·         Any animal transferred with a non-contagious medical condition must be accompanied with an estimate of the cost of treatment for said non-contagious condition.  This condition must also be noted in the medical disclosure statement.

·         If an animal is examined by a veterinarian within 14 days following adoption, and the animal is found to have a medical or significant behavioral issue that is not addressed in the disclosure statement, the animal may be returned to the organization for a full refund of the adoption fee, or, if both the organization and the prospective adopter agree, a replacement animal.

Animal Care and Facility Standards: All locations where animals are housed must be of sufficient size and design for the animals within; be cleaned daily and more often as necessary to maintain sanitary conditions; provide unimpeded access to fresh food and water at appropriate intervals; maintain an ambient temperature of between 65° and 85°F; and provide adequate shelter from sun and inclement weather when outside.  Shelter facilities must further ensure:

·         Adequate staffing to provide care for all animals

·         All surfaces where animals are housed or treated are impervious and rust resistant

·         That no carpeted flooring is present in areas where animals are housed

·         Natural of artificial illumination at appropriate times

·         That adequate control measures are taken to prevent the infestation of external parasites, insects and vermin

Importing Animals:  The importation requirements remain similar to those established in Order 1-AHO-05.  Under the new regulations, owner-surrendered animals from any New England state and the State of New York, which are transported to Massachusetts by their owner, will not be required to undergo a 48-hour isolation period.  Any other out of state animal being transferred to a Massachusetts resident must first be isolated for at least 48 hours at a facility approved by the Department.  Approved isolation facilities must pass an inspection to confirm that they:

·         Meet the Animal Care and Facility Standards

·         Are completely separate from other shelter animals or equipment

·         Have a dedicated ventilation system

·         Have a dedicated entrance to prevent exposure to other animals currently housed in the facility

·         Have a dedicated wash area with both hot and cold running water used to sanitize anything used in the isolation area (food and water bowls, toys, equipment, utensils, etc.)

·         Each person that enters an isolation room must wear protective clothing, including protective outerwear, gloves and shoe covers.  They must remove these items and thoroughly disinfect hands immediately upon leaving the isolation room.

·         If an animal is suspected of having a zoonotic disease the organization must notify their veterinarian immediately.  If the disease is found on our Reportable Disease List they must notify the Department.

Again, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly.  Also, feel free to distribute this email to any board members, staff or volunteers that may be interested.

Michael Cahill, Director

Division of Animal Health

[email protected]

(617) 626-1794