Shelter Inspection Program

Shelter Inspection Program


The Louisiana Animal Welfare Commission Shelter Inspection Program is an agency/shelter evaluation process that works to improve public animal shelters in our state.  The goal of the program is to assess the proficiency of agencies in enforcing shelter standards specified in Louisiana’s Revised Statutes, and to make important recommendations specified in the “Guidelines for Louisiana Public Animal Shelters”. Our goal is to assist agencies in achieving their goals of offering a quality, effective shelter to the animals and communities they serve.

LAWC operates within the office of the governor and is unique it is function as the only governing agency authorized to conduct shelter/agency inspections. The evaluation process is thorough and comprehensive in nature, offering recommendations in a wide range of shelter operation areas.  The commission works closely with agency directors and staff to understand the needs, challenges, and goals of each shelter.  The commission’s recommendations are given to the appropriate local governing authority and shelter leadership for improvements to their facilities and operations. The inspection program also works to support and educate local governing bodies on animal laws and advances in shelter operations. These recommendations are put forth by state government with the suggestion that they be adopted by local and parish governments and included in local parish ordinances.  

The commission has the authority to request and retain shelter records concerning the operations of agencies and their compliance with state & local animal laws. Information obtained is used during the inspection process to help formulate plans to deal with pet overpopulation, develop strategies to improve compliance with the state & local animal laws, identify areas in need of improvement, and build on areas & programs that are working successfully.

Since its inception, the program has conducted 46 inspections. In 2015, the program was enhanced to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the agencies’ performance in many important areas.  The LAWC inspection process involves two components. The first portion of the evaluation deals with compliance with Louisiana law and shelter management guidelines. The second part of the inspection is concerned with shelter development of “standard practices” related to humane programs, community outreach & initiatives, education, leadership, enforcement of laws, and progress toward the ability to offer the public a quality, effective agency/shelter. Both sections are intended to provide valuable feedback to shelters and serve as a guide for future development.   

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Ensure that all shelters meet the minimum standards set forth in statues.
  • Promote & recommend implementation of shelter “Best Practices” set forth in the Guidelines for Louisiana Public Animal Shelters.
  • Through education and example, promote shelter improvements in hygiene, preventive medicine, public health and population control.
  • Create an atmosphere where all shelters work to improve with the goal of eventually adopting all reasonable standards set forth by the National Animal Control Association Guidelines, Humane Society of the United States, and Association of Shelter Veterinarians.
  • Ensure that local communities strive to improve and increase compliance with state, parish, and local rabies vaccination requirements.
  • Recommend the implementation of a mandatory rabies registration & licensing law.

Every agency/shelter is evaluated on both components of the inspection process. The first component focuses on the following categories:

  • š  Animal Euthanasia (written protocols)
  • š  Management
  • š  Records
  • š  General Structure
  • š  Water & Electric Power
  • š  Waste Disposal
  • š  Storage
  • š  Primary Enclosures
  • š  Feeding & Watering
  • š  Pest Control
  • š  Rabies Quarantine
  • š  Infection Control & Rabies Vaccination Requirements
  • š  Population Control

The second component of the inspection process focusing on shelter development and “standard practices” which include:

  • š  Executive Leadership
  • š  Shelter Programs
  • š  Community Outreach & Partnerships
  • š  Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Planning

A scoring system is implemented to evaluate the performance of the agency in each section.

The LAWC Shelter Inspection Program has proven to an invaluable program to improving agencies across the state.  The program receives no state funding and is solely funded by the donations received from the generous citizens of our state. Please consider making a donation to help LAWC continue to the important work of this critical program.

View Inspection Reports

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