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Rescue Policy

Mission Statement

Whilst there is not presently a huge demand for rescue services due to breeders generally maintaining a high standard of ethics we must anticipate as the Australian Shepherd is increasing in popularity and numbers in Australia, it may occur from time to time that Australian Shepherds are in need of rescue.


Situations where such a need may arise may include dogs abandoned at animal shelters, taken from abusive homes by authorities or surrendered to rescue directly from owner.  While any responsible breeder should take back a dog or puppy of their breeding in such situations, in some cases the breeder(s) may be unable to be identified, unwilling or unable to take the dog or puppy back, unsuitable or the dog was acquired from a source to which it cannot be returned.

The ASCV is in the position to provide benefit to dogs in these situations due to the collective experience of its member base and extensive firsthand knowledge concerning the breed and it's requirements.  Likewise as a state level club with contacts around Australia, we are a first point of contact for potential adopters considering the breed and able to provide on-going post-adoption breed specific support.  The club may provide assistance in a variety of forms dependent upon the individual case including but not limited to providing advice to enable the dog to stay in its current residence, taking in the dog to a foster situation through rescue volunteers, assistance in placing the dog directly or indirectly and/or assisting with providing potential adoptive owners insight and education through the club.

The ASCV recognizes animal rescue and welfare organizations, pounds and shelters have in place applications and screening criteria as well as by-laws, regulations and other procedural elements designed to ensure dogs in their care are safe-guarded.  The ASCV recognizes such entities may have concerns in working with external organizations as there is no assurance of such organizations acting in consistence to internal policies.  (i.e. in terms of desexing and microchipping, screening methods and criteria, follow up, ongoing owner education and assistance.)

To this end, the ASCV is formatting and formalizing a rescue policy and adoption guidelines consistent with what we have been doing, while also giving formalization to it to allow transparency and assurance to outside parties regarding the ASCV's policy and procedures.  It is the hope of the ASCV and its members that this may allow for smoother interaction so that the mutual interest of rescuing and placing animals can be best achieved.


1.0 The primary goal of the ASCV's rescue service is to act as a resource to owners and shelter and welfare organizations and where necessary to take in and rehome all suitable* purebred Australian Shepherds taken into its care. Where and when possible, it is considered optimal to keep the dog in its current home via provision of information, advice and support which enables the owner to achieve a positive outcome regarding problematic situations.  *Puppies or dogs may be unsuitable for adoption due to health, behavioural and/or legislative reasons.

1.1 Dogs or puppies will only be offered for adoption to screened owners whom the ASCV believes can provide for the life-long needs of the dog.

1.2 All dogs or puppies offered for adoption by the ASCV must be desexed and permanently identified by microchip prior to placement.

1.3 Prior to being made available for adoption, all dogs or puppies must undergo a veterinary health and behaviour check and be vaccinated against common/serious infectious diseases as appropriate.

1.4 Animals adopted from the ASCV will always be accepted back and the ASCV requires all dogs to be returned to it or an appointed agent should the adopting owners no longer be able to care for it.


In order to facilitate this ASCV will work:

2.0 To develop a network of local rescue representatives who are capable of taking in surrendered dogs, provide home checks, fostering, providing transport and other necessary assistance.

2.1 To develop and formalize the forms which would be necessary, including: adoption applications, adoption agreements, financial agreements, relinquishment form, volunteer applications and expense and reimbursement guidelines.

2.2 To develop and format a rescue donations fund to help ensure that the club is able to financially provide for those who may be fostering dogs until such a time as they are adopted as well as the provision of necessary items towards their care e.g. blankets, toys, collars, leads

2.3 To develop a network of resources (primarily within the club) for adoptive families to help ensure a successful and permanent placement including but not limited to recommended books, magazines, lists of resources wrt breed information, breed specific health concerns etc.

Adoption Guidelines


1.0 The ASCV seeks to ensure that persons owning Australian Shepherds do so in a responsible manner, to ensure that the dog is able to represent it's breed in a positive light while out in public, to ensure that the owner is equipped and able to meet the needs of the dog and to ensure dogs in the ASCV rescue program are appropriately matched to potential owners in order to ensure a permanent and positive outcome.

Veterinary health checks and vaccinations

2.1 Upon entering the ASCV rescue program a health check will be done to determine if the dog is healthy and if not what care may be necessary in order to render it suitably healthy for adoption.  Where medical care is found to be necessary it will be provided promptly and according to the advised veterinary schedule.

2.2 Upon entering the ASCV rescue program the ASCV will ascertain if the dog has been vaccinated and if so if it is current on its vaccinations.  If not vaccinations will be provided along the standard schedule recommended by the AVA, with additional vaccinations and treatments being administered if necessary depending upon the area.

2.3 Dogs entering into the ASCV rescue program found to have an infectious disease or permanent disability  may be adopted provided

a.) after veterinary inspection and advice the condition will not cause undue stress or discomfort or have a significant impact upon the dogs overall and long-term quality of life

b.) the disease will not place other animals or people at risk

c.) the condition and requirements for care, including expected associated costs, are fully disclosed to prospective owners before adoption

d.) there is reason to believe upon interview that the prospective owner is able to meet those needs and others which may arise from it for the duration of the animals life

Behavioural assessment

3.1 Upon entry to the ASCV rescue program the dog's history will be taken from the owner, including any behavioural concerns.  The intake coordinator or other appointed member of the ASCV will observe and assess the dog to gauge it's temperament and determine that it is suitable for adoption, as well as to determine the behavioural requirements of the individual dog in order to provide the best possible match in adoption.

3.2 This will include for adult dogs, a detailed behavioural assessment to be administered prior to the dog being put up for adoption or placed.  For puppies (>6 months) this will include observation during routine handling and care-giving.  If the dog is observed to exhibit behaviours which would make it unsuitable for adoption during this period, a second ASCV member will review the dog and a veterinary exam in order to exclude a medical reason for behaviour may be undertaken.


4.1 It is the policy of the ASCV that all dogs and puppies will be desexed and microchipped prior to adoption, with a tattoo stating the animal’s status as being altered being placed in the ear where ever possible.  The exception to this is if the animal is determined by veterinary advice to be unable to be desexed due to permanent medical conditions making it medically inadvisable for the dog's safety.

Pre-adoption owner assessment

5.1 It is the policy of the ASCV that any potential owners must be interviewed in order to assess suitability for adoption prior to being considered for any dog or puppy.  This will enable the ASCV to determine that they are likely to provide a permanent home and understand the responsibility that it will entail, that they are allowed to own a dog in their residential situation, are well suited to the breed in general and to ensure an ideal match is made between the adoptive family and the individual rescue animal in particular.

5.2 All members of the household must be aware of an in accord with the adoption of the dog or puppy.

5.3 Included in the pre-adoption assessment:

 a.) the expectations of the prospective owner and reasons for being interested in adopting a dog in general, an Australian Shepherd in specific and the individual they have expressed interest in if applicable.

b.) the long-term costs and commitments associated with adoption and ownership

    * planning for the budget, lifestyle accommodations and capacity of management

    * understanding and meeting the physical and behavioural needs of the chosen animal

    * undertaking correct husbandry practices relating to the feeding, care and housing of the animal

    * following a preventative health care program

    * ensuring veterinary care promptly and as necessary

    * ensuring appropriate identification and council registration, and

    * training and socialisation of the animal to ensure the development of appropriate behaviour

c.) the basic requirements for the care the dog or puppy will require including a quality diet, suitable space to exercise, appropriate housing, environmental enrichment, ongoing training, veterinary care, grooming etc

d.) relevant laws relating to the keeping of dogs in their local council e.g. housing, restrictions on the numbers and types of animals that may be kept, registration with council etc

e.) the residential circumstances of the prospective new owner including conditions pertaining to rental agreements where the residence is not owned and if thought has been given to the necessity and difficulty of securing future rental properties where dogs of this size are allowed.

f.) the overall lifestyle of the owner and other persons in the household including but not limited to when the primary owner and other household residents will be home, their age, activity level etc to determine what temperament and personality of dog may be suitable to their individual circumstances and if they are able to meet the needs of the breed in general.

g.) what other animal(s) may be existing in the household, their compatibility with the rescue dog and to ascertain their health status in regards to age/temperament/vaccinations/alteration status.

h.) where any special needs, including but not limited to, health or behavioural needs exist to ascertain consideration by the prospective owner

5.2 To ensure the best possible chance at a successful, permanent placement where possible the assessment should include at least one meeting between the prospective owner(s) and all residents of the household and the dog or puppy prior to adoption and involve a 'cool off' period after the meeting, such that the dog or puppy is not placed immediately unless exceptional circumstances merit consideration.

5.3 In cases where a meeting prior to adoption is not possible such as interstate adoption, additional steps are taken to ensure successful adoption and follow up owner support including, but not limited to:

* contacting the potential owners veterinarian to confirm the number of animals owned past and present, the owners attendance records for those and where animals are no longer residing with the potential owner when and under what circumstances

* a member of the ASCV or a representative in another state will conduct a home check

* appropriate transport and pick-up arrangements are made

* contact will be made with the transporters and owner to ensure the dog or puppy has arrived safely

* post adoption follow-up and support will be provided for the duration of the dogs life

5.4 Where the prospective owner is resident in another state or territory, the ASCV will provide contact information for the breed club of the residents state and/or the state dog body and/or reputable training clubs should the owner not already have those details to ensure local support is available

The breeder should always provide the new owner with the following:

Criteria for refusal of adoption

6.) The ASCV reserves the exclusive and implicit right to refuse the adoption of any dog or puppy in its care to any person applying for consideration of adoption at any time in the adoption process.  Reasons for refusal may include but not be limited to:

a.) the ASCV has reason to believe the area where the animal will reside and be housed is not safe or secure, does not provide sufficient shelter or space e.g. inadequate fencing or containment to reasonably prevent a dog from escaping the yard or outside dogs from entering the yard

b.) the person is known to have a conviction for cruelty or neglect to animals or is the subject of an investigation for such

c.) the person is under the age of 18 years (proof of age may be requested)

d.) the person has a known history of surrendering, selling or disposing of pets for reasons that are not consistent with responsible animal ownership or cannot or will not provide an account for animals which are no longer in their care.

e.) the interaction between the prospective new owners and prospective new animal and/or existing animals raises significant concern in the adoption officer’s estimation

f.) the ASCV is aware that the person seeking to adopt an animal is not adequately meeting the needs of the other animal(s) they currently own or has a history of such

g.) there is reason to believe that the dog or puppy will not be primarily a companion animal or may be used for purposes inconsistent with humane ownership including but not limited to being used for research, fighting and security or other such arenas where it is at significant risk of injury, distress or death.

h.) the ASCV has reason to suspect the person's judgement is affected by drugs and/or alcohol

i.) written or verbal approval that pets may be kept on the premises during tenancy has not been provided from the agent or landlord

j.) the adoption would breach the local government regulations in which the prospective new owners are residing

k.) the adoption is intended to be a gift for a person who has not been involved in the decision

l.) there is any concern that the person has the intention of 'on selling' the dog


The ASCV will periodically review these criteria and may amend or extend these reasons as necessary.


7.) In the event the adoptive family is unable to care for the dog or puppy and/or is unable to keep it for any reason the dog or puppy must be returned to the ASCV and not sold on, auctioned, given away, surrendered or otherwise disposed of to a shelter/pound/rescue organization or other third party.  


All puppies and adults shall be placed in a clean and healthy condition. All agreements are to be recorded in an adoption sales contract to ensure a clear understanding of mutual expectations. For the protection of the puppy or dog it is recommended that a written agreement be obtained from the buyer stating that should the buyer ever be unable to keep the dog, the dog cannot be sold to a third party, but must be returned to the ASCV.


At the point of adoption, the adopting family shall receive:

1. A signed copy of the adoption contract

2. Certificate of spay/neuter

3. Immunization schedule and veterinary health records.

4. Certificate containing the information of the microchip ID number and registry information

5. Written information concerning care, feeding, training, socialization and accident prevention.

6. A recommended reading list.

7. 1 year (12 month) single membership to the Australian Shepherd Club of Victoria

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