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Animal Shelter Standards and Oversight

The Office of Animal Welfare, under the Division of Public Health (DPH), has authority and oversight of the Delaware Shelter Standards Law, Delaware Code, Title 16, Chapter 30F for Animals Held in Shelter.

This law, passed in 2010, put Delaware in the forefront of shelter standards in the country by ensuring that shelters provide proper veterinary care to animals, take reasonable steps to increase the likelihood of animal adoption, make it easier for owners to find lost pets, and address euthanasia procedures and methods.

In 2013, the Office of Animal Welfare was established upon the recommendations of the General Assembly Animal Welfare Taskforce in order to consolidate and coordinate companion animal programs in Delaware.

In 2014, Senate Bill 201 was signed into law giving the office, through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS), authority and enforcement powers over existing shelter standards.

In spring 2015, regulations were adopted governing animals held in shelter to provide clarification and details for areas within the law. Specifically, these regulations apply to all animal shelters in the state and establish:

  • Minimum standards of care and treatment
  • Requirements for adoption and recovery
  • Euthanasia technician training and certification requirements
  • Acceptable standards, methods and procedures for euthanasia
  • Record keeping obligations
  • Procedures for complaints and inspections of animal shelters.

To view the law, see 16 Del.C. Ch. 30F

To view the regulations, see 16 DE Admin Code 4501

Inspections and Complaints of Animal Shelters

The Office of Animal Welfare oversees enforcement of the Delaware Shelter Standards Law. The office conducts routine inspections and investigates complaints of alleged violations of the law for animal shelters in Delaware. Follow this link for animal shelter inspection records.

Complaints concerning violations of the Shelter Standards Law must be made in writing to:

Office of Animal Welfare
Department of Public Health
Carvel Building Lower Level
1901 N. Dupont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

Complaints may also be sent via email to the Office of Animal Welfare.