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Animal Shelters

Who needs an Animal Shelter Registration?

A municipality that operates a housing facility for the impoundment and care of dogs, cats, and other specific animals that are:

  • strays, lost, or surrendered by their owners,
  • impounded or otherwise being held for animal law violations.

A person, a business, or a non-profit organization that operates a housing facility for the care of dogs, cats, and other specific animals that are:

  • surrendered by their owners,
  • transferred or adopted from other shelters and otherwise homeless.

Housing facilities includes a separate room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure(s) such as cages, kennels, or community cat rooms. Organizations that operate solely through a network of foster homes where the animal lives in the home as their pet would do not qualify for a shelter registration as they do not have a housing facility.

How Do I Apply for a Registration?

Contact the Animal Industry Division at 517-284-5769, 800-292-3939, or via email: for more information regarding operating an animal shelter and the specific facility requirements.

Complete the Animal Shelter Registration Application (Form AH-025) and submit to our Lansing Office.  Once the application is found to be complete, it will be forwarded to program staff to initiate an inspection.

Your shelter must pass a facility inspection before a registration will be issued, therefore it should be reasonably ready at the time you apply for the registration.

Resources & Forms for Registered Shelters

*NEW* Public Act 287 was recently updated and changes were made to the importation requirements for dogs and cats going to animal shelters. There are now age-related, vaccination and treatment requirements.

For animal shelters that receive animals from other states, importation requirements for specific animals can be found on MDARD's animal movement pages .

Each registered shelter is required to annually report their animal statistics for the prior year by March 31st of the subsequent year. The statistics are a portion of the records that shelters are required to keep for at least two years. The report elements focus on companion animals by age and alteration status at the time of adoption. Other information includes total number of animals adopted, transferred to other registered shelters, reunited with their owners, and euthanized.

Forms for Registered Shelters

Individual Annual Reports

Animal Shelter Resources

Animal Welfare Fund

The Animal Welfare Fund Act, Act 132 of 2007, allows Michigan taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to the fund via Income Tax Form 4642. MDARD oversees the fund and annually offers grants to promote:

  • Increasing the number of Michigan shelters' dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered prior to adoption
  • Educating the public on the proper care of animals
  • Anti-cruelty training for animal law enforcement personnel

Michigan's homeless shelter animals are the primary beneficiaries of these donated dollars.

The annual grant cycle (please note change in grant cycle dates) is February 1st - September 1st. Applications must be received by October 15th of the year prior to the Grant cycle. Use our checklist to help ensure your application packet is complete: Animal Welfare Fund Grant Checklist


For more information about this grant opportunity, please contact the Animal Industry Division, 517-284-5684.



    Grant Recipient Payment Instructions

    Anyone who receives grant payments from the State of Michigan must be registered with SIGMA Vendor Self Service (VSS) financial and business system. Vendors previously registered to receive payment from the State of Michigan under the previous system, "Contract & Payment Express" (C&PE), were automatically converted to the new system. For more information on how to register can be found on SIGMA's website: SIGMA VSS     

    Select "Register" button on left panel of the screen and follow instructions.

    You will need the following information prior to registering:

    • Information on each location (first location entered will be considered the Headquarters)
    • Tax ID Number
    • Legal Business name
    • DUNS Number
      • A free number issued by Dun & Bradstreet for each business location
      • Call toll free at 888-814-1435 to obtain/verify your number
      • Indicate that you are going business with a Government entity
    • Contact information (name, address, email, phone and fax)
      • Account Administrator (person responsible for your account)
      • Ordering
      • Payment
    • Descriptions of your products and services (for example, commodity codes)

    Laws and Regulations

    The most frequently-used laws and regulations regarding animal care, shelters, shelter animals, and animal control agencies:

    How Do I File A Complaint About A Shelter?

    If you have concerns about the care of the animals and the conditions of an animal shelter, you may file an online complaint with MDARD . Please include the name and location of the facility, the time and date you were at the facility, and specific animal information (for example: black & white small dog in the adoption ward "Freddy.")

    If you have an animal welfare complaint involving a pet store, kennel, breeder, or livestock animals, you need to contact the local animal law enforcement agency (animal control, sheriff, police) where the facility is located for potential penal code and/or local ordinance violations. For more information regarding animal control agencies in Michigan, please see:

    Please contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development directly at 800-292-3939 with additional questions.