People and Animals in Community Together

Each of us has a role in supporting the welfare and well-being of animals in our community. Whether you’re a humane educator teaching children to respect the living world or a community volunteer at a local animal shelter or rescue, you are helping to create the best outcomes for animals – both near and far.

Driven by compassion, transparency, and leadership, People and Animals in Community Together (PACT) recognizes the power of working together. Companion animals thrive when people from all walks of life lend their knowledge and experience to supporting animal welfare, nurturing the human-animal bond and fostering safe, inclusive, and humane communities.

We invite your organization to use the resources found in the communications toolkit below to promote your organization's commitment to the PACT tenets. Please feel free to customize PACT graphics with your own branding and graphic standards in order to connect your organization with PACT.

Register & Watch the Webinar Recording about PACT

Make a Commitment to be a PACT Organization.

PACT is a compassionate, transparent and thoughtful model of how shelters, rescues, and other animal welfare organizations can best support vulnerable animals. PACT is a shared set of tenents that animal welfare organizations around the world are embracing to create best possible outcomes for companion animals.

There are nine tenets of PACT and animal shelters across the country have committed to this way of caring for animals and, as a result, animals in these shelters and rescues are having the best possible outcomes. Every community has a responsibility to its animals and should demand that animals receive the care and respect they deserve. What follows is a summary of these tenets:


Ensure Every Unwanted or Homeless Pet has a Safe Place to Go for Care.
Every community must have a safe place where homeless or unwanted animals can receive care. Ongoing outreach and engagement are critical to increasing community awareness of the services the shelter provides. PACT shelters, rescues, and other safe places support each other and collaborate to make their resources meaningful and accessible to their respective communities.
Place Every Healthy and Safe Animal.

PACT shelters and rescues find placements for all pets who:

  • Either have no signs of clinical disease or have evidence of disease that has a good or excellent prognosis for a comfortable life, AND
  • Have not exhibited behavior that is likely to result in severe injury or death to another animal or person.

Notably, this tenet does not preclude PACT shelters from placing pets who have medical or behavioral conditions that can be safely and effectively managed outside of the shelter environment.

Assess the Medical and Behavioral Needs of Homeless Animals, and Ensure These Needs are Thoughtfully Addressed.

PACT shelters are committed to preventing and easing suffering for each animal in their care. To that end, animals housed in shelters or rescues must receive regular health assessments and proper veterinary care to treat any injury or disease. Shelters must also assess each animal’s individual behavioral needs and provide thoughtful enrichment to keep them comfortable and prevent or redirect any destructive, obsessive-compulsive, or similar coping behaviors.

Alleviate Suffering and Make Appropriate Euthanasia Decisions. 
PACT shelters have open discussions about how to prevent and alleviate suffering for the animals in their care. Through relationships with local and national coalition partners, shelters can reduce the euthanasia of healthy, treatable, and safe animals. When a pet is diagnosed with a severe illness or has a behavior issue that presents a risk to the community or pet owners, PACT shelters will determine if humane euthanasia is the most compassionate choice for that animal.
Align Policy with the Needs of the Community.
The PACT sheltering framework acknowledges that one size doesn’t fit all in animal welfare. Shelters in every community serve a diverse range of people and animals and have different challenges and opportunities. Shelters and rescues tailor their policies and practices to the unique needs of their community to support pets, people, and the bonds they share.
Enhance the Human-Animal Bond through Thoughtful Placements and Post-Adoption Support.
PACT shelters strive to make loving and lifelong connections for the pets they place by understanding the needs of animals and prospective adopters. However, introducing an animal to a new home can be challenging. Shelters have a responsibility to support the adoptive family, which, at a minimum, means they will accept the animal back to their facility without judgment. Organizations can also provide additional post-adoption support, such as behavior classes and free or subsidized veterinary care to address shelter-related medical needs.
Consider the Health and Wellness of Each Animal and Community When Transferring Animals Between Communities.
Consider the health and wellness of each animal and each community when transferring animals. It is important to invest in "source" shelters to address their animal welfare realities and understand the disease risks and needs of local animals when deciding to import animals.
Implement Inclusive Policies and Practices.
Animals thrive when opportunities and resources are accessible and shared equitably. PACT shelters and rescues implement policies and practices that represent, honor, and elevate the diverse voices in their communities. They prioritize equity and inclusion when determining how to support pets and their people. They humbly seek and embrace diverse viewpoints and nurture productive relationships with community partners to keep animals safe, healthy, and with the people who love them most.
Foster a Culture of Transparency, Ethical Decision Making, Mutual Respect, Continual Learning, and Collaboration.
PACT shelters are committed to full transparency, including reporting accurate statistics and program data, sharing policies, and admitting missteps. Integrity and building trust must be the foundation of all decisions. Every shelter can learn something from every other shelter—it is essential to be curious and to share innovative solutions to common problems. Only by working together can we ensure the best outcomes for all animals.


Infographics (PDF)
The infographics below represent the seven different communities who contribute to People and Animals in Community Together (PACT). Each infographic shows the different ways that each group can contribute to making a PACT.

These are resources to assist with the implementation of each tenet of PACT.

Ensure every unwanted or homeless pet has a safe place to go for shelter and care.

Place (at least) every healthy and safe animal.

Assess the medical and behavioral needs of homeless animals, and ensure these needs are thoughtfully addressed.

    Alleviate suffering and make appropriate euthanasia decisions.

    Consider the health and wellness of each animal and community when transferring animals between communities.

    Implement inclusive policies and practices.

    Foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision making, mutual respect, continual learning, and collaboration.

    Communications Toolkit

    The components of this toolkit will help you get started sharing PACT with your community and stakeholders. Download these materials and start advocating about PACT today.