MDAWA's overarching goal is to find the best possible outcome for every animal. MDAWA members appreciate the community’s support – and as that support grows, we’re confident we can save even more lives. 

MDAWA members practice:

  •  Common, non-judgmental language that is clearly defined and consistently used
    • “No kill,” an emotion-laden term for which there is no universally-accepted definition, is never used by MDAWA members.
    • Members identify themselves as “open admission” (accepting all animals) or “limited admission” (limiting/selecting the animals accepted).
    • Use of “open” and “limited” admission clearly defines the sheltering practices of MDAWA members and eliminates use of divisive language.

MDAWA members offer many programs and services to promote responsible pet ownership and ensure the best outcome for each animal:

  • Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs
  • High-volume, subsidized spay/neuter services
  • Access to shelter animals by rescue and service dog groups
  • Foster care network for under-aged, traumatized, sick, injured, and other animals in need
  • Comprehensive adoption programs that operate during weekend and evening hours and include offsite adoption venues
  • Pet retention programs to address medical, environmental, or behavioral problems and keep animals with their caring and responsible owners
  • Medical and behavioral rehabilitation programs
  • Comprehensive transfer programs between shelters for medical and behavioral rehabilitation and in cases of overpopulation
  • Partnerships with corporations and business entities to leverage resources, share costs and enhance services available through our organizations
  • Public education on all facets of responsible pet guardianship/ownership
  • On-line and printed information on pet ownership for the Spanish-speaking community
  • Lunch-and-Learn sessions for shelter and veterinary staffs to improve communications with Spanish-speaking pet owners
  • Community engagement in saving the lives of pets
  • Volunteer programs to socialize animals, promote adoptions, and assist with shelter operations
  • Use of microchip scanners in animal control officers’ vehicles to facilitate and expedite the return of microchipped animals to their owners
  • Lost and found advice provided to pet owners via the MDAWA website and Pet Resource Guide available at all member shelters
  • Microchip ID group-buying programs for members and promotions for pet owners
  • Director of each MDAWA member organization commits in writing to the shared values and goals of MDAWA
  • Bi-monthly meetings of shelter operation directors to address pet-related topics and ongoing initiatives
  • Post-adoption support to pet owners through outreach, training and medical services
  • Programs to provide resources and education to pet owners to decrease relinquishments
  • Assistance in providing and finding pet-friendly housing to reduce relinquishments
  • National and regional collaborations, such as member participation in CFAWA and CATalyst