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Maddie's Fund Categorizations/Definitions of Shelter Animals

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Types of Organizations

Animal Control: Municipal agencies or animal organizations that contract with local governments to provide animal control services.

Traditional: Animal organizations that manage shelter populations by euthanizing pets who are considered to be healthy or treatable in addition to unhealthy & untreatable animals.

Adoption Guarantee: Organizations that save all the healthy and treatable animals under their care, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy & untreatable animals. An adoption guarantee organization could be an animal shelter, rescue group, foster care organization, or sanctuary.

A shelter does not have to say it's an adoption guarantee organization, but it does have to: 1) Save all of the healthy and treatable animals who come under its care; and 2) Use the definitions of healthy, treatable, and unhealthy & untreatable as defined by Maddie's Fund. Additionally, the shelter must clearly articulate to its community that it saves all healthy and treatable animals and provide appropriate shelter data to Maddie's Fund.

Categorizations/Definitions of Shelter Animals

Healthy: The term healthy means and includes all dogs and cats eight weeks of age or older who, at or subsequent to the time the animal is taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral or temperamental characteristic that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the future.

Treatable: The term treatable means and includes all dogs and cats who are rehabilitatable and all dogs and cats who are manageable.

Rehabilitatable: The term rehabilitatable means and includes all dogs and cats who are not healthy, but who are likely to become healthy if given medical, foster, behavioral, or other care equivalent to the care typically provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners/guardians in the community. (These conditions are generally considered to be curable.)

Manageable: The term manageable means and includes all dogs and cats who are not healthy and who are not likely to become healthy, regardless of the care provided; but who would likely maintain a satisfactory quality of life if given medical, foster, behavioral, or other care, including long-term care, equivalent to the care typically provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners/guardians in the community; provided, however, that the term manageable does not include any dog or cat who is determined to pose a significant risk to human health or safety or to the health or safety of other animals. (These conditions are generally considered to be chronic.)

Unhealthy & Untreatable: The term unhealthy & untreatable means and includes dogs and cats who, at or subsequent to the time they are taken into possession,:

Have a behavioral or temperamental characteristic that poses a health or safety risk or otherwise makes the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and are not likely to become healthy or treatable even if provided the care typically provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners/guardians in the community; or

Are suffering from a disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the animal's health or is likely to adversely affect the animal's health in the future, and are not likely to become healthy or treatable even if provided the care typically provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners/guardians in the community; or

Are under the age of eight weeks and are not likely to become healthy or treatable, even if provided the care typically provided to pets by reasonable and caring pet owners/guardians in the community.