Sanctuary Criteria

ASA is striving to form an alliance of all organizations that can contribute a vital service to thousands of unwanted animals, many of whom are killed unnecessarily because of a lack of communication, cooperation and working in unification to assist these animals. Therefore the ASA will avoid inadvertently alienating those that can participate by allowing case by case evaluations instead of creating unconditional statements in our policies and guidelines. The ASA realizes that there is NO EASY way of separating the organizations that truly exist to help animals, from those that are using animals for personal or commercial gain. The ASA will make an exceptional effort to impartially evaluate individual cases to avoid unfairly denying membership to any organization. 

Policies and Procedures - click for printable version
1. No Breeding.

2. No use of animals for any commercial activity that is exploitive in nature. Commercial activities are defined as follows:

• Allowing free roaming public access to the animals or the sanctuary.
• Using sanctuary animals for exhibition
• Using sanctuary animals for entertainment.
• Buying, selling, trading or auctioning animals or their body parts.
• Any other activity inconsistent with the humane care and welfare of sanctuary animals.

3. Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain federal non-profit tax exempt status at all times.

4. Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain all permits and licenses required under city, county, state, federal, and international laws and statutes.

5. Sanctuaries will obtain and maintain individual organizational policies that will outline and provide acceptable responsibility for the lifetime care and welfare of animals in their custody, or if the animal can be rehabilitated, until they are released in the wild.

6. Sanctuaries will establish and maintain an emergency plan for animal escapes, fire, flood or other catastrophes.

7. Sanctuaries will provide proper veterinary care for all animals in which they are responsible.

8. Sanctuaries will establish and maintain a humane euthanasia policy for animals who are severely injured, terminally ill or suffering. This program will be under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

9. Accreditation and membership in ASA will be granted by the Board of Directors after approval and acceptance of the sanctuary accreditation application and a site visit from a member of ASA's Board of Directors or other individual authorized by the Board.

10. Upon acceptance, an annual fee of $200.00 will be required for membership

11. A person with authority to act on behalf of the applicant sanctuary will complete the sanctuary accreditation application in full before any evaluation and acceptance will be considered.

12. All sanctuaries accepted for membership in ASA agree to work cooperatively with other approved sanctuaries. Any problems, disagreements or grievances will be presented to the ASA Board of Directors.

13. All approved sanctuaries agree not to initiate or distribute misinformation or rumors that will cause harm to another sanctuary that is affiliated with ASA.

14. Additions, deletions and changes to policies may be requested by member sanctuaries through the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is authorized to add, delete or change these policies by a majority vote.

15. All member organizations agree to help recruit other new member sanctuaries.

Justification for Exceptions to Policies

1. Exception to the no breeding clause: Occasionally a sanctuary may be involved in an approved USDI endangered species survival program. A case by case evaluation will enable ASA to accept those that are breeding for the right reasons and eliminate those that are concealing their commercial purpose. In most cases a viable plan for wild release will be required for ASA approval of the breeding exception.

2. Exception to no commercial activity, allowing free roaming public access to resident animals: Some zoological facilities assist in the rescue and placement of unwanted animals. A case by case evaluation will allow ASA to accept those that can be a valuable asset and eliminate those that are involved in the surplus breeding and trade in animals. This exception shall not be construed to apply to facilities commonly referred to as "roadside zoos," or "roadside attractions." These facilities generally breed, sell or trade animals, or use them commercially, and their facilities are usually substandard.

3. Exception to utilizing sanctuary animals for exhibition clause: There are many sanctuaries that are licensed by the USDA that give excellent guided educational presentations to schools and the general public, emphasizing the injustices of keeping wild and exotic animals as "pets." A case by case evaluation will allow the ASA to accept these worthwhile organizations and eliminate those that use animals for commercial purposes. Additional housing requirements may be required that includes enclosure design that allows animals to go "off exhibit" by providing unimpeded access to a privacy area.

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