Style Guide for the

Weber County Animal Shelter

Prepared by Chloe Kinney and Josaleigh Pollett
Weber State University
April 2014

This style guide was created for the Weber County Animal Shelter of Ogden, Utah,
using the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate
Dictionary, 11th Edition. Consult these texts for further information on any of the
subjects included in this guide.
University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2010.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.

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Table of Contents

Table of Figures ............................................................................................................................................. iv
Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................... 1
Choices in Style and Consistency ........................................................................................................... 2
Abbreviations ............................................................................................................................................. 2
Addresses ..................................................................................................................................................... 2
Answer Options ......................................................................................................................................... 2
Capitalization ............................................................................................................................................. 2
Font Styles ................................................................................................................................................... 3
Lists ................................................................................................................................................................. 3
Logo................................................................................................................................................................. 3
Spacing .......................................................................................................................................................... 4
Word Choice................................................................................................................................................ 4
Grammar and Mechanics ........................................................................................................................... 5
Commas......................................................................................................................................................... 5
Colons............................................................................................................................................................. 5
Hyphens ........................................................................................................................................................ 5
Ellipses........................................................................................................................................................... 5
Em Dash ........................................................................................................................................................ 6
En Dash.......................................................................................................................................................... 6
Misused Words .......................................................................................................................................... 6
Slash ................................................................................................................................................................ 7
Semicolon ..................................................................................................................................................... 7
Symbols ......................................................................................................................................................... 7
Numbers ............................................................................................................................................................ 8
Numbers ....................................................................................................................................................... 8
Numbered lists .......................................................................................................................................... 8
Money............................................................................................................................................................. 8
Telephone numbers ................................................................................................................................ 8
Time ................................................................................................................................................................ 8
Website............................................................................................................................................................... 9
Font Styles ................................................................................................................................................... 9
Photographs ................................................................................................................................................ 9
Headings and Titles ................................................................................................................................. 9
Spacing ....................................................................................................................................................... 10
Index ................................................................................................................................................................. 12

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Table of Figures
Figure 1. Weber County Logo .................................................................................................................. 3
Figure 2. Examples of Website Photographs ................................................................................... 9
Figure 3. Example of Adoption Form ................................................................................................ 11

iv

Introduction
The following guide is to be used as a reference for Weber County Animal Shelter
(WCAS) employees in the creation of documents, webpages, and professional forms.
This guide will define the correct choices to be used in mechanics, grammar, style,
and design when making documents for the WCAS. In this guide, the reader will find
writing tips, general format standards, references cited guidelines, general style
guidelines, and an alphabetical listing of commonly used words with specific style
choices including spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and abbreviations that are
unique to the WCAS.
Having consistent and correct documents throughout the WCAS will allow
employees to focus on the important work they do for the community instead of
correcting errors and helping misinformed citizens. It will also eliminate confusion
for citizens when they access the WCAS website.
Adopting this guide and using it for reference will not only benefit the WCAS but it
will benefit the employees and citizens as well.

1

Choices in Style and Consistency
Abbreviations
Abbreviations should be spelled out at first occurrence, unless it is a known
word. Use abbreviation for a given title.
“Lt. Chad Ferrin is the Department Director.”
Addresses
Provide entire address on each page that it is used. Do not leave off the city
or state. Use Chicago style in abbreviating directions. Single letter compass
points have a period; two-letter compass points do not. For North, use the
abbreviation “N.” not “No.”.
1373 N. 750 W.
Ogden, UT, 84403
Answer Options
For consistency in all forms, use check boxes with “Yes” or “No” answer
options. Do not give the option to “circle one.”

☐Yes

No

Capitalization
A common noun such as “cat” or “dog” is the generic name of one item in a
class or group. It is not capitalized unless it appears at the beginning of a
sentence or in a title. In titles in both forms and webpages, use consistent
capitalization on each word.
“Get to Know Us” instead of “Get to know Us.”

2

Font Styles
Use the same font throughout each form for consistency. You may use
boldface type or a larger font size for emphasis in forms and webpages, but
do not change fonts or use italics. Keep colors consistent with links, and only
use blue fonts for links on the website.

Lists
Capitalize the first word of each item in the list. Do not end entries in the list
with a period. Introduce the list with a grammatically complete introductory
sentence. All items in the list must have parallel structure.
“The following items are needed for the WCAS:
 Puppy food
 Stainless steel bowls
 Bath size towels”
Logo
Use the official WCAS logo on all forms.

Figure 1. Weber County Logo

3

Spacing
All forms should be double-spaced. All pages online should be double-spaced.
There should be a single character space, not two spaces, between sentences.
Word Choice
Use “pet owners” instead of “cat or dog owners” on all forms and webpages
unless a form is specific to a certain species or breed.

4

Grammar and Mechanics
Commas
Use the serial comma. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a
series of three or more, a serial comma should appear before the conjunction.
“We provide adoption services for cats, dogs, and other animals.”
Colons
To merit a colon, the words that introduce a series or list must themselves
constitute a grammatically complete sentence.
“New or renewal licenses must be purchased at the following locations:
online, in person, or by mail.”
Hyphens
Hyphens are used to show structure and pronunciation. If unclear on a word,
consult a dictionary.
“Stainless steel bowls (small, non-flip)”
“Do you have a fenced-in yard?”
“Microchipped” not “Micro-chipped”
“E-mail” not “Email”

Ellipses
An ellipsis is used in the omission of a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more
from a quoted passage. It is three periods with a space between each period.
“The animal shelter was recently rebuilt . . .”

5

Em Dash
Used to indicate a break in the sentence or train of thought. No space is left
on either side.

En Dash
Used to connect spelled out numbers, dates, and measurements.
“The Ogden city animal shelter was open from 2001-2011.”
“Dogs ranging from 50-75 lbs.”

Misused Words
Affect/Effect – “Affect” is almost always a verb meaning “to influence.”
“Effect” is almost always a noun meaning “outcome.”
“We hoped the sunshine would affect our moods, but the brightness had no
effect on our outlook.”
And/or - Avoid using. One or the other can often replace it with no loss to the
meaning. When use seems needed on forms, use a slash instead.
“cat or dog,” “cat/dog,” not “cat and/or dog”
Which/That - “Which” is a non-restrictive pronoun; the meaning of the
sentence is not dependent on the clause that begins with “which.” “That” is a
restrictive pronoun that presents a clause necessary to the meaning of the
sentence. “Which” should always follow a comma.
Bring/Take - This choice is based on the direction of the action. If the action
is towards you, use “bring.” If it is away from you, use “take.”
“Bring your cat to us tonight, then take her home tomorrow.”
Prior to - Use “before,” or “until.”
Through/Thru – “Thru” is an informal way of saying “through.” “Through”
should be used as all documents are formal.
6

Slash
Slash is used to signify an alternative. Slash will be used in place of and/or.
“ . . . Proof of rabies vaccination and spay/neuter surgery.”
“Your dog/cat is at the shelter.”
Semicolon
Most commonly used between two independent clauses to signal a closer
connection than a period.
“Provide rabies vaccination history from your vet; your pet cannot be
released until history is verified.”
Symbols
Do not replace words with symbols, e.g., ampersand (&), pound sign (#), at
sign (@).

7

Numbers
Numbers
Numbers zero through nine are spelled out. Use the numerical value for
numbers 10 and above. Use a comma in numbers above 999, such as 1,000.
“We have five dogs and 30 cats.”
Numbered lists
If numerals are used to mark the divisions in a run-in list, enclose them in
parentheses. Introduce a vertical list with a complete grammatical sentence
and a colon. Do not have lists in all capitals.
Money
Always use monetary symbols and numerals in reference to money.
“The fee is $10.00.” not “The fee is $10.00 (ten).”
Telephone numbers
Use hyphens to separate telephone numbers. Do not place the area code in
parentheses.
801-399-8244 not (801) 399-8244
Time
Numerals are used when exact times are emphasized. Lowercase a.m. and
p.m. are used. If o’clock is used, the number is always spelled out. Use “to”
when describing a range of numbers.
“We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.”

8

Website

Font Styles
Use the same font (Times New Roman) throughout each webpage for
consistency. You may use boldface type or a larger font size for emphasis and
titles, but do not change fonts or use italics. Keep colors consistent with links
Do not use a blue font color for type that is not a link, and use only a blue font
color for all links.
Photographs
Use the same size and orientation (110px by 160px, portrait) for each
photograph for consistency.

Figure 2. Examples of Website Photographs

Headings and Titles
Capitalize the first letter of every word in a heading except for conjunctions
and, but, for, or, and nor. This includes the names of links to new pages in the
“Home” tab of the website. Use 24-point font for headings, 18-point font for
subheadings, and 14-point font for body text.

9

Spacing
For consistency, double space all blocks of text for easier reading. Place two
spaces after each heading, and double space lists of steps to follow.
Do not double space between sentences or after colons

10

Figure 3. Example of Adoption Form

11

Index
Abbreviations, 6
Addresses, 6
Affect, 10
And/or, 10
Answer Options, 6
Bring/Take, 10
Capitalization, 6
Colons, 9
Commas, 9
Effect, 10
Ellipses, 9
Em Dash, 10
E-mail, 9
Email, 9
En Dash, 10
Font Styles, 7, 13
Form, 15
Headings, 13
Hyphens, 9
Lists, 7
Logo, 7
Microchipped, 9
Money, 12
Numbered lists, 12
Numbers, 12
pet owners, 8
Phone numbers, 12
Prior to, 10
Semicolon, 11
Slash, 11
Spacing, 8, 13
Symbols, 11
Telephone numbers, 12
Through/Thru, 11
Time, 12
Website, 13
Which/That, 10

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