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 one-hour webinars through early 2012, each spotlighting a section of the ASV guidelines.
This webinar covers:
Veterinarian involvement in shelter management
Shelter policies and protocols
Staff and volunteer training
Top Tips from This Webinar
Put Policies and Protocols in Writing
When policies and protocols are passed through the shelter via "oral history," the messages may not stay consistent, and important details may be lost. To make sure they are passed on accurately, it's a good idea to maintain them in written form. Make sure they're easily accessible to staff and volunteers, and keep them up-to-date.
Train First, Train Later
Be proactive: Provide staff with the training they need before giving them additional responsibilities. Once they've demonstrated sufficient skills—in a written test, under observation, or through being supervised—they can take on the new role and be held accountable for their performance. Training doesn't end there, of course; you should continue to educate on new vaccines, new disinfectants, and other updates.
To Save Money, Share
There are plenty of training opportunities available for shelter staff (check our conference directory), but if your budget doesn't allow you to send more than one employee to a certain conference, that person can share her new knowledge with others by giving a presentation at a staff meeting. Another budget-friendly way of training employees is getting a group together to listen to a webinar.
Check with Your Rep
Next time you get a visit from a drug rep, ask if you can set up a staff training. Many pharmaceutical companies are willing to visit shelters and provide free training on infectious diseases and vaccines. These sessions can be a good way for employees to learn about diseases like parvovirus and distemper—and they often come with a free lunch.
Think Before You Label
When you create a new record for an animal, be careful about breed identification. A recent study by Western University compared breed identification by adoption agencies to DNA analysis and discovered many mislabeled dogs. Those mistakes can lead to problems, for example, when someone's lost spaniel mix is posted on your website as a Lab. Bearing in mind that you may be incorrectly identifying a certain dog's breed or breed mix, make his physical description—which may be more important—thorough and accurate.
Bonus: 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.
Director, University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program
Dr. Newbury joined the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 as a clinical assistant professor and director of the shelter medicine program. She helped to build the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California, Davis from 2006-2014, and served 6 years on the board of directors of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Dr. Newbury is passionate about saving lives and stomping out disease, and focuses on partnerships between shelters, veterinarians and the community to decrease shelter intake and improve positive outcomes for homeless animals.