Guidelines for Animal Placement


Communication: Putting the animal first

Honest and full communication about expectations and commitments is critical. All parties should acknowledge that the goal is the best possible placement for each individual animal. Do not feel constrained to agree to the first response received, evaluate all offers before accepting placement or placing an animal. Ask questions!

Suitability: Finding a good match

Placement is not a substitute for euthanasia; many animals are not suitable candidates due to loss of limbs and resulting equilibrium or other problems, stress levels, or behavioral problems. In many cases that rehabilitators see every day, euthanasia would be far more humane than permanent life in captivity. Please review the Code of Ethics. Many jurisdictions also have cosmetics guidelines that must be met – it is the responsibility of the receiving person to know his/her regulatory agency guidelines.


It is the responsibility of those listing wildlife for placement to make a thorough investigation of anyone expressing interest in a transfer. We strongly urge that both sides of such a transaction be committed to addressing, at a minimum, the following questions:

  • that all necessary state and federal permits are obtained and current;
  • that facilities are satisfactory for housing;
  • that resources are sufficient for on-going food, housing, and medical treatment, as necessary;
  • that diets fed such animals are of high quality and adequate supply;
  • that experienced volunteer or staff resources are available for training, handling, and captive care of the animals;
  • that the animals are good candidates for a life in captivity.


If you are dealing with someone unknown to you, we suggest checking references, such as the veterinarian of record for the facility, peer rehabilitators, and the state and/or federal wildlife permit officer. Speaking with someone who has actually been to the facility is of great value.

The minimum care standards developed jointly by IWRC and NWRA do not extend to permanent care of wildlife kept for education or captive breeding. Those wishing to place nonreleasable wildlife need to be sure that their personal standards are met by any facility in which the animal may be placed.