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Michigan Animal Shelter License Details & FAQ

  • Expires: Does not expire/good for life
  • Fee: No fee
  • Contact: Animal Industry Division at 517-284-5769
Forms & Fillable Forms:

  Who needs an Animal Shelter License?

An Animal Control Shelter is defined by state law as "a facility operated by a municipality for the impoundment and care of animals (dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, or any other non-rodent, non-livestock mammal) that are found in the streets or at large, animals that are otherwise held due to the violation of a municipal ordinance or state law, or animals that are surrendered to the animal control shelter." An Animal Protection Shelter is "a facility operated by a person, humane society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other nonprofit organization for the care of homeless animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, or any other non-rodent, non-livestock mammals)." You will need an Animal Shelter License to operate an animal control or animal protection shelter. Please note that organizations which operate solely via foster home rescues are exempt and do not need an Animal Shelter License.


  What fees are required in order to operate an Animal Shelter in Michigan?

There is no fee required.


 How Do I apply for an Animal Shelter License?

  1. Look over the Animal Shelter License application form. Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing animal shelters, as well as the additional materials pertaining to animal shelters.
  2. Arrange for veterinary service for the animal shelter.
  3. Complete the application form providing all of the information requested. If a section is not applicable, please put a line through that section.
Submit the completed application to:
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
Animal Industry Division
PO Box 30776
Lansing, MI 48909
  1. After your application has been approved and processed, a Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) employee will contact you to verify that your facility is ready for inspection. If the facility is ready for inspection, a MDARD inspector, typically a Field Veterinarian, will then contact you to set-up and conduct a pre-licensing inspection of the facility.
  2. Upon completion of the pre-license inspection, the inspection report is sent to the Lansing office for a manager's review. Once the facility has passed inspection and managerial review, an Animal Shelter License will be issued and mailed. Please note that if there are problems found either by the inspector or the manager, you will be given suggestions for improvement as well as a re-inspection date.
  3. After receiving the license, you may then operate an animal shelter.

 How long does it take to process my first-time application?

MDARD strives to provide a timely response to animal shelter license applications. Typically it takes 4-8 weeks to receive a license.
Processing may take considerably longer if your application is incomplete for any of the following reasons:

  • Portions of the application are left blank -- a letter and a copy of the application will be returned with to the sender with the blank fields marked. Please note that we must have a business phone number as well as veterinarian information. The application will not be processed until the form has been completed in its entirety and returned.

Your license can not be issued until you pass an inspection. As such, your license may also be delayed if your facility does not pass inspection or is not fully constructed. If your facility does not pass inspection, the department will provide feedback at the time of inspection for improvement as well as a re-inspection date.

You can help speed the processing of your application by being sure your application is complete and includes the correct fee; by thoroughly reviewing the laws, regulations, and other documents provided here; and by making sure your facility is constructed and ready for inspection.


  If we have sent in an application, when can we begin operating an Animal Shelter?

Once you receive your license from MDARD, you may then begin to operate an Animal Shelter. You must not obtain or adopt out regulated animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, etc) at your facility until you have received your shelter license.


  When does my Animal Shelter License expire?

Your Animal Shelter License does not expire.


 Is there anything I can do to speed the issuance of my license?

You can help speed the processing of your application by being sure your application is complete and includes the correct fee; by thoroughly reviewing the laws, regulations, and other documents; and by making sure your facility is constructed and ready for inspection.


 What is an Annual Shelter Report?

Michigan’s registered animal shelters are required to annually report their animal statistics for the prior year by March 31st of the subsequent year.  These statistics are reported on the Animal Shelter Annual Report, (form AI-034).  The statistics are a portion of the recordkeeping data that shelters are required to keep for at least 2 years. Pursuant to Act 287 of 1969 as amended, the reportable statistics primarily focus on dogs, cats, and ferrets and are broken out by age and alteration status at the time of adoption. Other information that is reported includes total number of animals adopted, the total number of animals that are transferred to other registered shelters, law enforcement agencies, or recognized service animal organizations, as well as the total number of animals that are reunited with their owners.


Each of the documents below contain individual Animal Shelter reports sorted alphabetically by facility name.

What should I do if there are changes in veterinarian or in company ownership, name, or address?

A business is issued a license. If there is a change in business address or ownership, the license does not transfer. As such, the license for the old address/owner becomes inactive. When such a change occurs, the applicant must submit a new application with the new license fee immediately. We will need to conduct a new inspection to make sure that the facility meets the requirements of the regulations. In addition, we will review the requirements with the new owner at the visit. Once the facility has passed inspection and licensure has been approved by the program manager, a license will be issued for the new business location or owner. Once the license is received, the business may then operate as an Animal Shelter.

If your business changes its business name under which it is licensed, but remains under the same ownership and address, please submit a completed copy of the application reflecting the changes immediately so that the license and records can be updated accordingly. You will receive an updated license in the mail reflecting the change.

Under Law, an animal shelter must work with a veterinarian. This veterinarian must be cited on the application. If your business changes veterinarians, please submit a completed copy of the application reflecting the changes immediately so that we may update our records.


 How do I file a complaint against an animal shelter?

Please contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development directly at 1-800-292-3939 to file a complaint. Please have the name and location of the facility, as well as the time and date you were at the facility, if visited.


 What Facilities are currently licensed as animal shelters?

See the Directory of Licensed Animal Shelters


Animal Welfare Fund

In 2007, a law went into effect in Michigan creating the Animal Welfare Fund.  The goal of the Animal Welfare Fund is to support projects that increase the number of Michigan dogs and cats that are sterilized prior to adoption, and that educate the public and animal care personnel on the proper care of animals per Michigan’s anti-cruelty laws. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) oversees the fund and annually offers grants to promote such activities pursuant to the Animal Welfare Fund Act, including spaying and neutering of Michigan dogs and cats, anti-cruelty and proper care programs, and certain anti-cruelty training for staff at Michigan’s registered shelters. Michigan’s homeless animals in registered shelters are the primary recipients of these grant dollars. Each year Michigan taxpayers have increased the amount of monies they contribute to help Michigan’s animals. The number of recipients has doubled since the grant program’s inception.  This is a fantastic opportunity made possible via voluntary contributions via Michigan Income Tax form 4642, which is updated by the Michigan Department of Treasury each year. Michigan’s shelter animals are the primary recipients of these grant dollars.

The Annual Grant Process
                 
The 2015 Animal Welfare Fund grant application is here.  MDARD has posted a 2015 Animal Shelter Letter that contains information about the grant The fillable form is listed below, and due November 10, 2015.

Anyone who receives grant payments from the State of Michigan must be registered with the State Budget Office’s Contract & Payment Express Vendor & Payee Registration to receive payments via Direct Deposit (Electronic Funds Transfer).

More information on how to register can be found on their website: Contract & Payment Express (C&PE)

 Laws and Regulations

The laws relative to Animal Shelters are (follow the links):


Additional Materials


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