Animal Intake Requirements and Holding Periods – Legal Considerations with Shelter PALS

Do you know which animals your shelter is required to take in and what the minimum legal hold times are?

When it comes to daily shelter activities, the most common questions, and greatest confusion, revolve around intake (if, when, who) of animals, and the applicable holding periods once intake occurs. 

This course will discuss the laws that shape intake and holding periods for animals in shelters in the state of California (but the basic concepts and discussion points will apply to all states). You’ll learn the California-specific state mandates and requirements surrounding intake, exceptions surrounding holding periods, and how to determine holding periods in various situations. If you’re not in California let this information guide you in what to research in your own state.

Knowing which animals should enter the shelter and how long they must stay is crucial to prioritizing intake of the animals who truly need to be at your shelter and minimizing length of stay in shelters for those animals.

As part of the Maddie’s®️ Million Pet Challenge’s Learniverse program, we’ve asked a legal expert to help us understand these important details.  We’ll be using the state of California and its legal requirements for these programs as an example.  You’ll want to speak to your own legal counsel to make sure your area (state, county, city or other locality) doesn’t have different regulations in place.

This short, self-paced course has been approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by National Animal Care and Control Association. 

This course has been approved for 1 hour of continuing education credit until November 14, 2024 in jurisdictions that recognize RACE approval. Upon completing the course and passing the quiz, upload your certificate to This is the broker used by the AAVSB to track your continuing education credits.

PLEASE CONTACT: if you have any questions or concerns about this course.

Learn more about the Maddie’s®️ Million Pet Challenge Learniverse.  #ThankstoMaddie

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