Rescue/Shelter Requirements and Expectations

RescueGroups.org is interested in developing partnerships with reputable animal welfare organizations which meet the following requirements:

  • Must be operating as a non-profit business (501(c)(3) is not necessarily required)
  • Must be in the business of preventing or rescuing homeless animals (or helping those that perform those activities)
  • Must not promote breeding or the sale of pets
  • Must have documented spay/neuter rules
  • Must have a public information or education program to promote spay/neuter and humane education
  • For all services other than the Pet Adoption Portal you must be incorporated as a non-profit company, and be in the process of obtaining or already have non-profit status

NOTE: Your organization does NOT need to have non-profit status in order to use the Pet Adoption Portal service. For all other services, you must either have your non-profit status or be in the process of gaining non-profit status.

If you are not sure if your organization meets our requirements, please contact us.

Required Documentation

What information and documentation will be requested?

  1. One of the following non-profit status documents (unless you are a Municipal or Tribal Agency, or are an organization signing up for the Pet adoption Portal service only):
    1. IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter or Canadian Registered Charitable Status
    2. Non-profit application submission confirmation letter
    3. Estimated non-profit application submission date (for use with 3-month trial)
  2. Veterinarian’s reference letter
  3. Adoption contract

General Sign-up Requirements

The Veterinarian Reference letter must include the following, on veterinarian letterhead:

  • Veterinarian office contact information
  • Veterinarian license number and state
  • List of services performed for your organization
  • How long services have been performed

Each partner organization must also provide the following information during the sign-up process:

  • A valid phone number and/or email address for public contact
  • A valid phone number, email address and mailing address for private communication
  • A valid secondary contact for the organization

Ongoing/Continuous Organization Expectations

RescueGroups.org expects your organization to maintain a high-level of professionalism and customer service at all times.  Specifically, we expect the following (as applicable for your organization):

  • All public animal information will be kept up-to-date and adopted or otherwise unavailable pets marked with an appropriate status immediately.
  • All animal listings will be accurate and honest
  • All public and private contact information will be accurate (both organization and animal specific contact information)
  • All email and phone inquiries will be responded to within an appropriate time -- including situations where the inquiry is for a pet that is no longer available
  • Incorporation and non-profit verification provided when requested
  • All local and state required permits and licenses will be maintained
  • No animal control or cruelty citations, violations or convictions
  • Each volunteer will use their own user account in the RescueGroups.org system, and user names and passwords will not be shared

Common Questions

Do I need to already have non-profit status before signing-up with RescueGroups.org?

No, you don't.  If you are using the Pet Adoption Portal you only need to operate as a non-profit.  For all other services you must be in the process of gaining non-profit status.

Why does RescueGroups.org have strict requirements and high expectations?

RescueGroups.org partners with for-profit and non-profit companies to help gain exposure for adoptable pets and animal welfare organizations.  It's important that your animal and contact information be accurate, and that you be responsive to inquiries from the community.

How are complaints handled?

If we receive a complaint from the community concerning you or your organization we will investigate.  If you are violating any of our requirements, expectations or terms of service your account will be closed.

Are organizations ever removed from RescueGroups.org?

Yes, we cancel accounts if they violate any of our requirements, expectations or terms of service.