GFAS Accredited Sanctuary Criteria and Forms
The criteria for a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary are based on the GFAS Standards of Excellence. The GFAS Standards of Excellence cover:
- Governing Authority
- Guidelines (regarding acquisition, handling, commercial activities and more)
- Education and Outreach
- Physical Facilities
- Veterinary Medical Program
- General Animal Care
- Animal Care by Specific Animal Group
As noted elsewhere on this site, these standards were developed and reviewed by several working groups comprised of sanctuary managers, animal protection advocates, regulatory agency professionals, animal control officers, and veterinarians, utilizing existing standards from outstanding sanctuaries as a starting framework and refined/expanded upon based on knowledge and expertise of contributors. It is a working, dynamic document and will be continually reevaluated and revised to ensure the best possible standards of care.
The GFAS Standards of Excellence are being posted, as GFAS incorporates the suggestions of sanctuary operators as they move through the application process and provide feedback. Revisions, incorporating further refinements, will be done on a periodic basis. We appreciate your input and assistance!
For the accreditation criteria, the standards are converted into guidelines aimed at achieving a particular goal. Sanctuaries must then self-score against the goal. The self-scores are confirmed via a confirmation site visit, interviews and required documentation.
If you operate a sanctuary and wish to apply, please check out the process and contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Robin will help you determine if your organization should apply to become a GFAS Verified Sanctuary or a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary. Then you can begin downloading and completing the correct applications, which are found under DOWNLOADS. (Note: At this time, we are not Verifying or Accrediting sanctuaries that are exclusively devoted to domestic dogs or domestic cats.)
If you are a potential donor to a sanctuary, please feel free to download any of the required applications to see the criteria to which sanctuaries are held in order to become GFAS Accredited. Note that statements not requiring documentation for the application are confirmed during the site visit.
Note: Inclusion as a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary is based on conditions and circumstances during the time the evaluation takes place. Sanctuaries are re-evaluated every three years and self-reporting occurs annually between evaluations. If you have reason to believe that a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary is in violation of the GFAS Standards, please fill out the online Concerns about GFAS Accredited Sanctuaries form.
DOWNLOADS: Forms to complete
To become a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary, you must complete 1) Part A-General Organization Information & Part B-Census of Sanctuary/Rescue Animals (links to these documents below); 2) the applications for each of the areas to be evaluated; and 3) the applicable Animal Care applications. A site visit will also be made. Given a successful outcome, you are then a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary, with annual updates due. For more details, read about the complete process.
- Initial Application Part A: General Organization Information. This link will take you to the online application for Part A.
- Form B-Census of Sanctuary/Rescue Animals: There is a link to download this application on the site above (the same website as Form A).
Step Two: Applications for Operational Areas to be Evaluated
This form never needs to be printed out, as it is quite lengthy. You can simply open it as a Word document and type your answers in the grey squares. While the form looks overwhelming at first, there are only 50+ checkmarks you HAVE to supply. On some of the questions, comments are required. On others, you only need comment if you differ from the guidelines, and remember, no one has to be perfect. Or you may be doing something better than suggested what is by the guidelines! Tell us about it, for sure! If you do 10 questions a week, it will be done in 6 weeks. Be sure to send us suggestions for improving the application as well.
There are a number of attachments required. Those can be emailed to GFAS at email@example.com or faxed to 1-866-822-4278. These electronic submissions are preferred. If you can only send hard copies, please send to our AZ office at PO Box 501, Payson, AZ 85547.
Believe it or not, we’ve had groups complete the questions in one day, and then take another day to compile the attachments.
If you find you are missing things, we can provide samples or connect you with experts. If you are missing way too much, contact GFAS to discuss. We have the Verified status for those true sanctuaries/rescues providing excellent humane care, but which may not have a strong succession plan in place, for example, or which may be up against some financial constraints.
The operations application form is personalized for the species at your facility. Download the version that includes all the species you are caring for.
- Farmed Animals (includes equine)
- Equine only
- Avian only
- Wildlife only, but no avian, primate or reptile species
- Comprehensive Wildlife, including avian, reptile, primate and/or other wildlife species
- All animals
Step Three: Applications for Animal Care by Specific Animal Group
This is a shorter form, with no attachments required. Please request from GFAS when you are ready! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.