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AbstractThe purpose of the study was to gather information on perceptions of the current governance practices in shelters in South Africa and put forward recommendations to professionalise the sector at board/committee level. Through semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study sought out the views of 16 participants, both at board/committee and at operational levels, at companion animal shelters. The main findings indicate inconsistencies and flaws in the governance fabric in this sector, and point to the need for a coherent set of basic governance standards suitable for shelters. This study makes a contribution to the companion animal welfare sector by offering the first formal study into governance in this domain, and provides a foundation from which future research can be leveraged.