Shelter or Rescue Organization Registration

During the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers amended 20 V.S.A § 3903 to remove the requirement for shelters and rescue organizations to register with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM). 

Specifically, 20 V.S.A § 3903 (a) was repealed:


 (a) No person may operate an animal shelter or rescue organization unless a certificate of registration for the animal shelter or rescue organization has been granted by the Secretary. Application for the certificate shall be made in the manner provided by the Secretary. No fee shall be required for the certificate. Certificates of registration shall be valid for a period of one year or until revoked and may be renewed for like periods upon application in the manner provided. [Repealed.]

As a result of the Legislature’s amendment to 20 V.S.A. § 3903, animal shelters and rescue organizations are no longer required to register with VAAFM, and VAAFM will not be sending applications to current registrants or new businesses.

The remainder of 20 V.S.A § 3903 is still in effect:

(b) An animal shelter or rescue organization under this chapter shall not accept an animal unless the person transferring the animal to the shelter provides the following information: the name and address of the person transferring the animal and, if known, the name of the animal, its vaccination history, and other information concerning the background, temperament, and health of the animal.

(c) A rescue organization registered under this chapter shall be recognized and approved as a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3).

As a reminder, all dogs and cats imported into the state for purposes of sale, resale or adoption are still required to travel with a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian in the state of the animal(s)’ origin within 30 days of entry into Vermont.

Additional Resources

Vermont Animal Welfare Regulations

View the full text of Title 20 Chapter 194 that pertains to rescue organizations.

Information on the United States Department of Agriculture Retail Pet Store rule.