Animal Care Policy
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC)’s policy is to find new homes for all animals in its custody that are behaviorally and medically treatable or able to be rehabilitated. We partner with the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S., Best Friends Animal Society, Minnesota Animal Welfare Coalition and more than 65 rescue organizations on best practices to bring about the best possible outcome for all animals cared for at our facility.
Like many shelters owned, funded and managed by municipalities, MACC is an open admission shelter. That means it will take in all animals regardless of temperament, illness, injury or legal status. This is essential to maintain public safety so animals that pose public a threat through their behavior or exposure to rabies or other diseases transmittable to humans are kept away from people. In many cases these animals need to be euthanized to protect the public. This is in contrast to no-kill shelters, places where the euthanization rate is 10 percent or less, which have no obligation to accept any non-adoptable animals.
All dogs, cats and other pets in MACC’s custody that are healthy and safe are offered to the general public for adoption. Those with behavioral or medical issues that are treatable are offered to rescue partners, including no-kill shelters, so they can find appropriate new owners. Animals determined to be a public safety hazard or those that are ill or injured to the point that a veterinarian recommends euthanasia to prevent pain and suffering are not offered to the public for placement.
Every year, MACC handles approximately 3,000 dogs and cats that have been surrendered, recovered, seized or taken in as evidence in a criminal case. (In 2018, at least 350 of these animals were confiscated due to illegal activity.) An additional 623 wildlife and 122 other animals (e.g. chickens, goats, rabbits, etc.) entered the shelter. Veterinarians evaluate all of these animals to determine whether they can be adopted. Factors they consider include:
- Aggression – Before MACC evaluates an animal’s temperament, staff give it time to acclimate to the environment. Once acclimated, the animal’s temperament is evaluated through a systematic test which looks at:
- Food, toy and treat aggression.
- Reaction to touching.
- Reaction to body language.
- Animal history (aggression to humans, bite history, etc.).
- Observations made by staff and volunteers at the shelter.
- Mental health - Aggression is the hardest symptom to treat and, when placement with a rescue partner is not an option, it can often lead to euthanization. Housing animals for long periods of time can often contribute to mental health issues by triggering severe signs of anxiety, depression and aggression. The shelter staff and volunteers attempt to mitigate the stress associated with long-term sheltering, however in some animals it cannot be avoided.
- Disease – The close proximity of animals in shelters can make them breeding grounds for diseases. Even the cleanest shelter can’t eliminate the possibility of canine parvo virus, URI infections or other contagions of entering and endangering all animals in the facility. Therefore, MACC must consider the risk to the entire shelter population when deciding whether to treat or euthanize an individual animal for a disease.
- Physical injury – MACC treats animals suffering from a variety of physical injuries. However, due to its limited resources, considerations must be made for:
- The severity of injury.
- The chances of recovery.
- The cost and length of required treatment.
- The adoptability of the animal.
To learn more about MACC, visit us or volunteer at the shelter.
Last updated Feb 11, 2019