The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) compiled the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters to provide research-based guidelines that will help any sheltering operation meet the physical, medical, and behavioral needs of the animals in their care. The ASPCA and ASV presented a series of 60-minute webinars through early 2012, each spotlighting a section of the ASV guidelines.
This webinar covers:
The Five Freedoms
The importance of standards of care
The background and intention of the shelter standards project
The current need for standards
The precedent: what other animal organizations have done
Top Tips from This Webinar
The Five Freedoms
The Five Freedoms served as a key model for the authors of the guidelines. Although written in the United Kingdom in the 1960s as recommendations for farm animal care, these principles can be applied to any animal:
Freedom from Hunger and Thirst — by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
Freedom from Discomfort — by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease — by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to Express Normal Behavior — by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal's own kind.
Freedom from Fear and Distress — by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
What the Guidelines Can Inspire
Even with the obstacle of a '50s-era facility, the staff at the Animal Rescue League of Boston was able to make significant improvements as they aimed for some of the goals in the document. For example, by cutting holes between adjacent cat cages, a two-part enclosure was created, with one side for sleeping and eating and another for the litterbox. The new setup also made it easier to clean shy cats' cages.
Not Operating Instructions
It would be impossible to write a specific operations manual that would be applicable to every shelter, so the document presents general principles. Some elements of the guidelines are "musts," while others are "shoulds" — conditions or practices that are ideal but may not be achievable or necessary in every situation.
Created for a Variety of Organizations
While the word "shelter" is featured prominently in the document's name, its content was designed to be appropriate for many organizations, including:
Municipal animal control agencies
Private humane societies
We've packaged the guidelines into a free resource, Shelter Care Checklists: Putting ASV Guidelines Into Action, and we invite you to use this set of easily understandable and actionable checklists in your shelter.