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The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards is a practical reference for any rescue or shelter caring for homeless pets. The standards provide guidance on practices that are considered acceptable as well as those that are not. 

The standards are based on the work of experts in the field of shelter management and shelter medicine. In developing the Standards, the Working Group consulted the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, created by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) Shelter Standards Task Force; the American SPCA’s Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines into Action; and the Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters: Supporting ASV Guidelines, published by the Canadian Advisory Council on National Shelter Standards. These documents were invaluable in creating the Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards. Additional new content was developed by the Working Group to reflect the needs of today’s rescues. 


While the standards in Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards are generally applicable to all dog and cat rescue situations, there may be specific practices that are not relevant for all shelter facilities or home-based foster networks.

The development of the standards is based on the belief that:  


  • All animals have intrinsic value

  • Animals must be relieved of distress (according to terms of The Animal Protection Act)

  • Animal cruelty must be prevented


Every rescued animal will receive adequate care according to the Five Freedoms.


The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards support the physical and mental well-being of animals as articulated in the “Five Freedoms.” Developed in 1965, and widely recognised, the Five Freedoms describe society’s expectations for the conditions animals should experience when under human care, namely:


  • Freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst; 

  • Freedom from fear and distress; 

  • Freedom from heat stress or physical discomfort; 

  • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease; and

  • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour. 

Considerations for the well-being of animals have evolved over time. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) believes the health and welfare of animals extends beyond the absence of disease, distress, discomfort and pain, but must also consider their emotional and social well-being. The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards help ensure “… the welfare of animals is respected, promoted, and advanced, in ways that complement the pursuit of animal health, human well-being, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability.”

In appreciation … 


We thank all the individuals and organizations who have been involved in the process of developing The Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards. Your hard work is very much appreciated. 

We extend our special thanks to the ASV and the ASPCA for permission to use and adapt their materials. 


Click here to download the Saskatchewan Animal Rescue Standards document (PDF).

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