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Association of Shelter VeterinariansTMGuidelines forStandards of Care inAnimal Shelters/ iÊ Ãà V Ì Ê vÊ- i ÌiÀÊ6iÌiÀ À ÃÊUÊÓä äÊAuthors:Sandra Newbury, Mary K. Blinn, Philip A. Bushby, Cynthia Barker Cox,Julie D. Dinnage, Brenda Griffin, Kate F. Hurley, Natalie Isaza, Wes Jones, Lila Miller,Jeanette O’Quin, Gary J. Patronek, Martha Smith-Blackmore, Miranda Spindel

Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal SheltersAssociation of Shelter VeterinariansTM

Guidelines forStandards of Care inAnimal Shelters/ iÊ Ãà V Ì Ê vÊ- i ÌiÀÊ6iÌiÀ À ÃÊUÊÓä äÊAuthorsSandra Newbury, DVM, Chair, EditorKoret Shelter Medicine Program, Center forCompanion Animal Health, University of CaliforniaDavis, Davis, California.Adjunct Assistant Professor of Shelter Animal Medicine,Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University ofWisconsin-School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison,Wisconsin.Mary K. Blinn, DVMShelter Veterinarian, Charlotte/Mecklenburg AnimalCare and Control, Charlotte, North Carolina.Philip A. Bushby, DVM, MS, DACVSMarcia Lane Endowed Professor of Humane Ethicsand Animal Welfare, College of Veterinary Medicine,Mississippi State University, Mississippi State,Mississippi.Cynthia Barker Cox, DVMHead Shelter Veterinarian, Massachusetts Societyfor the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Boston,Massachusetts.Julie D. Dinnage, DVMExecutive Director, Association of ShelterVeterinarians, Scottsdale, Arizona.Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIMAdjunct Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine,College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida,Gainesville, Florida.Kate F. Hurley, DVM, MPVMKoret Shelter Medicine Program, Center forCompanion Animal Health, University of CaliforniaDavis, Davis, California.Wes Jones, DVMShelter Veterinarian, Napa Humane, Napa, California.Lila Miller, DVM, EditorVice-President, Veterinary Advisor, ASPCA,New York.Adjunct Assistant Professor, Cornell University Collegeof Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, New York.University of Pennsylvania School of VeterinaryMedicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Jeanette O’Quin, DVMPublic Health Veterinarian, Ohio Department of Health,Zoonotic Disease Program, Columbus, Ohio.Gary J. Patronek, VMD, PhD, EditorVice President for Animal Welfare and New ProgramDevelopment, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Boston,Massachusetts.Clinical Assistant Professor, Cummings Schoolof Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, North Grafton,Massachusetts.Martha Smith-Blackmore, DVM, EditorDirector of Veterinary Medical Services, Animal RescueLeague of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts.Fellow, Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy.Clinical Assistant Professor, Cummings Schoolof Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, North Grafton,Massachusetts.Miranda Spindel, DVM, MSDirector of Veterinary Outreach, ASPCA,Fort Collins, Colorado.Natalie Isaza, DVMClinical Assistant Professor, Merial Shelter MedicineClerkship, College of Veterinary Medicine, Universityof Florida, Gainesville, Florida.i

Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal SheltersTable of contentsForewordvIntroduction1Background21. Challenges to Ensuring Welfare22. The Need for Standards33. The Five Freedoms and Companion Animals4How to Use This Document5Management and Record Keeping61. Establishment of Policies and Protocols62. Management Structure63. Training64. Animal Identification and Record Keeping6Facility Design and Environment1. Primary Enclosure72. Surfaces and Drainage93. Heating Ventilation, and Air Quality94. Light105. Sound Control116. Drop Boxes11Population Management121. Capacity for Care122. Protocols for Maintaining Adequate Capacity for Care133. Monitoring Statistical Data13Sanitationii7141. Cleaning and Disinfection14a) Sanitation Procedures14b) Fomite Control162. Other Cleaning173. Rodent/Pest Control17Medical Health and Physical Well-being181. Veterinary Relationship and Recordkeeping182. Considerations on Intake19

Table of contents3. Vaccinations194. Emergency Medical Care205. Pain Management206. Parasite Control217. Monitoring and Daily Rounds218. Nutrition229. Population Well-being2310. Response to Disease or Illness23a) Isolation23b) Diagnosis24c) Outbreak Response2411. Medical Treatment of Shelter AnimalsBehavioral Health and Mental Well-being24261. Considerations on Intake26a) Behavioral History26b) Minimizing Stress262. Behavior Evaluation263. In-shelter Care28a) Environment28Enclosures28Separation28b) Daily Routine28c) Enrichment and Socialization28Interactions with People28Behavioral Considerations for Long-term Shelter Stays29Other Types of Enrichment30d) Behavioral ModificationGroup Housing30311. Risks and Benefits of Group Housing312. Facilities313. Selection314. When Group Housing is Inappropriate32iii

Animal Handling331. Restraint332. Location and Timing333. Equipment334. Feral Cats33Euthanasia341. Euthanasia Technique34a) Carbon monoxide34b) Verification of Death352. Environment and Equipment353. Record Keeping and Controlled Substances364. Staff Training36Spaying and neutering1. Veterinary Medical Guidelines372. Surgery and Anesthesia373. Identifying Neutered Animals38Animal Transport1. Responsibilities of Participating Individuals and Organizations3939a) General39b) Responsibilities at Point of Origin39c) Responsibilities During Transport40Primary Enclosure and Occupancy40Vehicles40Transporter Responsibilities41d) Responsibilities at DestinationPublic Healthiv3741421. Zoonoses422. Animal-Related Injuries433. Emerging Diseases and Anti-microbial Resistance44Conclusions45References46Glossary of Terms57

ForewordAssociation of Shelter Veterinarian’sGuidelines for Standards of Care in Animal SheltersWhen the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) Guidelines for of Care in Animal Shelters (hereinafter referred to as “the Guidelines”) wereGuidelines? The ASV created a task force to initiate a comprehensivefirst published, it was anticipated that questions would arise as to why theyliterature review and prepare a well-researched and referenced white paperwere developed, how they would be used, and how they would impact theidentifying standards of care that would meet the needs of animals in animalanimal welfare community. The National Federation of Humane Societieswelfare organizations.(NFHS), the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA), the NationalAnimal Control Association (NACA), the American Society for the PreventionWhat are the “Five Freedoms” and why are the Guidelinesof Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United Statesbased on this concept? The foundation of the Guidelines is the(HSUS)) met with the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) authors“Five Freedoms”, developed in 1965 in the UK. The ASV believes the Fiveof the Guidelines, to discuss their intentions and goals in publishing thisFreedoms are now recognized to have broad application across speciescomprehensive document. This Foreword is intended to put the Guidelinesand essentially speak to the fundamental needs of animals that remaininto perspective for animal welfare organizations.constant regardless of setting.It is important to note that each of the organizations listed above andWho do the Guidelines apply to? The Guidelines are meant to bethat have co-authored this Foreword embrace the spirit and intent of theapplicable to virtually any situation in which care for companion animals isGuidelines, both to raise the standard of animal care throughout our industrydelivered in a group or population setting, including traditional brick andand to create a road map that will aid organizations with on-going self-mortar shelters, sanctuaries and home based foster or rescue networks.assessment and improvement. We strive for consistency and excellence inthe programs and services provided to animals, and we believe that theHow are practices identified as good or bad for a shelter inGuidelines, with their focus on meeting the needs of each individual animalthe Guidelines document? “Unacceptable” is used to highlight practiceswithout losing sight of the needs of the population as a whole, assistancethat must be corrected as soon as possible to provide an acceptable levelin helping prioritize necessary change, and applicability regardless ofof care. A “must” indicates that without adherence to this recommendation,type and size of organization, will help every organization achieve thesethe delivery of a minimum level of acceptable humane care is not possible.critically important goals.“Should” implies a strong recommendation. Best practices are identified inthe Guidelines as “ideal” or “best.” While the authors note that achievingAt the time of publication the ASV provided the FAQs summarized below:ideal or best practices in every aspect of operations is ultimately preferred,For the full ASV FAQ’s please refer to the ASV Guidelines’ FAQ’s.they acknowledge that not every organization is capable of achieving thisgoal in every circumstance. Therefore, shelters should strive to meet allWhy did the ASV develop these Guidelines? To date, no federal“ideal” practices wherever possible, and should attempt to ensure that theyagency or judicial act regulates the welfare and care of companion animalsare adhering to all practices identified as a “must,” while avoiding anyin a shelter environment. The goal of the ASV was to provide information thatpractices identified as “unacceptable.”will help any animal welfare entity meet the physical, mental and behavioralneeds of the animals in their care. The Guidelines were developed to provideHow quickly should shelters make changes? While somea tool that would allow communities and animal welfare organizations of allchanges can be made simply and easily, others may require physicalsizes, whether a large organization, a small home based effort or somethingchanges to a facility, additional training, or more advanced planning. Thein between – as well as communities, to identify minimum standards of care,first step for each organization should be to urgently address and correct anyas well as best and unacceptable practices. ASV strove to create animalunacceptable practices. Aside from those immediate changes, implementingcare guidelines that could continue to evolve as knowledge increases aboutchange based on the Guidelines should be a gradual and thoughtful processthe best way to meet the needs of animals in shelter settings.designed to provide maximum benefit for the animals. As change is made,careful attention should be given to the goals of maximizing quality of lifeand life saving capacity.v

What will the Guidelines not address? While the GuidelinesOrganizational Self-Assessmentmake recommendations in numerous areas of shelter operations, they areThe Guidelines represent an opportunity for organizational dialogue,not intended to serve as an operations manual. The right approach forreflection and most importantly, action. The Guidelines also presentimplementing the Guidelines will vary by organization depending on theiran opportunity for shelters to conduct a thorough assessment of currentparticular resources and challenges.processes, and identify where improvements may be made for the benefit ofthe animals in their care. In the growing era of process improvement, sheltersHow are the Guidelines intended to help shelters? The ASVshould be continually evaluating their ability to better house and care forand the organizations who participated in authoring this Foreword hopeanimals.that the Guidelines will serve as a source of evidence-based information andsupport for all organizations, regardless of size, structure or philosophy, whoPrioritization and Implementationare striving to provide the most humane care possible for their animals. It isEach community situation is different. Each shelter and physical facility ishoped that they will also serve as an impetus for on-going self-evaluationdifferent, and the timeline and process for implementation of the Guidelinesand improvement, and provide the basis on which organizations can argueshould be adjusted to reflect the inherent differences in each organization.for and obtain the resources they need to provide the most humane levels ofAs mentioned, one significant note in the interpretation of these guidelinescare possible.is that they do not represent an operational manual or instructional guide forimplementation. Each organization must develop its own operational modelThe ASV has already documented instances in which shelters have used theto maximize its ability to better care for animals based on the informationGuidelines as a basis for making significant improvements in the level ofpresented in the Guidelines.animal care provided, at little or no cost to the organization. We supportthe ASV’s intent to document and share these “case studies” as a meansA prioritization and plan for how an agency will begin to address theseof helping other organizations better understand how change can beitems should be the first order of business. One logical first step is to reviewimplemented successfully, and cost effectively. Examples can be found inthe guidelines which are considered “unacceptable” and address theseAnimal Sheltering magazine in an ongoing series of articles entitled “Gettingissues as quickly as possible. Following a prioritized approach, addressingReal”. Here are two of these articles;the “must” guidelines would be the next step. These are the articulation ofthe minimum guidelines which should be in place in each facility. As statedhttp://www.animalsheltering.org/resource library/magazine articles/more than once in this Foreword and in the Guidelines themselves, themay jun 2011/getting real asv standards.htmldifferences and specific challenges in organizations will dictate the abilityof any agency to address these items and the speed with which they canhttp://www.animalsheltering.org/resource library/magazine articles/be addressed. The important first step is for each organization to recognizejul aug 2011/getting real asv standards austin humane.pdfareas where improvements can be made and then to set forth a plan andtimeline to address them.Case studies can be found on the ASV website, www.sheltervet.org andASPCA Pro provides a series of webinars on specific Guidelines topics;Foreword delines-for-standards.php.The National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS)The Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA)The National Animal Control Association (NACA)The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)Download the “Guidelines to Standards of Care in Animal Shelters” here.vi

IntroductionIntroductionThe Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) isalways animals’ needs, which remain the samean international organization whose mission isregardless of the mission of an organization orto improve the health and well-being of animalsthe challenges involved in meeting those needs.in shelters through the advancement of shelterAs with any specialty, shelter medicine continuesmedicine. This document is the result of workto evolve; studies and clinical experience continuethat the ASV began in 2008 to address the lackto provide new information that animal caregiversof guidelines or standards of care for animals inmust consider in order to provide truly humane care.shelters.Principles of animal care that were believed to beappropriate just a few years ago may no longerThe first step in the process was to convene abe considered to be effective or humane. Shelterstaskforce to define the scope of this project. Anshould bear this in mind and be willing to adapt asexhaustive review of the scientific literature wasthey review their programs.undertaken to uncover as much data as possiblepertaining to housing, care, health, and well-beingThe Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animalof dogs and cats in population settings. Members ofShelters is intended to be a living document thatthe taskforce then undertook writing this documentwill be periodically reviewed and revised. Thisover a period of 2 years. In some cases, answersdocument does not attempt to provide specificwere not available in the literature; in thoseoperational instructions, as these must be tailored toinstances, recommendations have been based oneach individual setting. References are provided thatthe collective expert opinion of the authors.can be used to obtain more detailed information. Itis the authors’ greatest hope that this document willEvery attempt was made to balance animal welfareserve shelter animals and those who care for themscience with practical and realistic recommendationsby providing scientific and humane guidelines forspecific for shelters. The guiding principle wastheir care.1

Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal SheltersBackgroundunwanted, and owner-relinquished animals in1. Challenges to EnsuringWelfarethe United States dates back to the founding ofThe heterogeneous, fragmented nature of shelterthe first large-scale animal shelters in New York,systems, coupled with the lack of a consistentBoston, and Philadelphia in the late 1800’s. Mostregulatory structure, has made it difficult to ensureshelters were originally intended for handling largeadequate care for shelter animals. This difficulty isnumbers of dogs for brief periods of time as part ofcompounded by a multitude of challenges.Historically, the provision of care for stray,animal control programs. That mission drove shelterdesign and operation for nearly 100 years. AnimalThere is a growing body of literature documenting asheltering has evolved considerably since thoselong list of stressors for animals entering shelters, suchearly days.as: leaving a familiar environment; confinement;adapting to new sounds, smells, and unfamiliarSheltering organizations can now be found foranimals; and being handled by unfamiliar people.almost any companion or domestic animal speciesAs occurs in zoo, farm, and laboratory settings,(e.g., rabbits, birds, rodents, horses, livestock),shelter animals can be challenged by boredom,and for many exotic species as well. The entitiesfrustration, isolation, social deprivation and otherdelivering services vary from large, well-establishedstresses arising out of confinement (Griffin 2006;agencies with significant resources, to grass-rootsStephen 2005). Length of stay has been clearlygroups, loosely-networked individuals, or individualsidentified as a risk factor for animal illness in sheltersacting alone. The spectrum of programs is equally(Dinnage, 2009; Edinboro helters; care-for-life sanctuaries and hospices;Many facilities, which were historically designed forhome-basednetworks;short-term handling of animals (e.g., for stray holdingvirtual internet-based animal transport programs;period), are poorly suited to meet the physicalbehavioral rehabilitation centers; limited or plannedand behavioral needs of animals (Beerda 1997,admission shelters; no-kill or adoption guarantee1999a, 1999b, 2000; Griffin 2006; Hennessyshelters; high volume adoption agencies; and many1997; Holt 2010; Hubrecht 1992; Kesslerpermutations of these various approaches. In this1997, 1999b; McCobb 2005; Ottway 2003;document the term “shelter” is meant to apply to allTuber 1996). Various factors have contributed toof the entities mentioned above.increased length of stay. At many shelters there isrescueandfoster-carea greater potential for animals to be confined toIn contrast to many other settings such as zoos orinadequate institutional or quasi-institutional settingslaboratories (AZA 2009, 2010; ILAR 1996), thefrom months in many cases, to the remainder of theircare of animals in shelters remains unstandardizedlives in others, compounding concerns about theirand unregulated at the national level. Although aswelfare. The same issues recognized for many yearsof 2010, at least 18 states require an

first published, it was anticipated that questions would arise as to why they were developed, how they would be used, and how they would impact the animal welfare community. The National Federation of Humane Societies (NFHS), the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA), the National