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 1-hour webinars through early 2012, each spotlighting a section of the ASV guidelines.
This webinar covers:
Public health threats in the shelter environment
Ways to minimize risk for staff and volunteers, animals, and the public
Top Tips from This Webinar
Let the Labels Do the Talking
To alert staff to take precautions with certain animals, use signs or color-coded cage cards. For example, sick animals in isolation areas can be identified by signs saying, "zoonosis" or "giardia," while aggressive animals and those who may bite can be labeled with "will bite" signs or red cage cards. To protect staff, make sure that cleaning supplies that aren't contained in clearly labeled manufacturers' containers (for example, a bleach-and-water mixture) are labeled with names of products and chemicals and their risks.
Would You Dogs Keep It Down, Please?
The noise in a typical kennel area, with its barking dogs — and hard surfaces that enhance the sounds — can reach noise levels of 100dB or more. When you have to raise your voice just to be heard, that may be a sign that staff need hearing protection for safety. Here are a few ways to address the problem:
Add sound-absorbing materials in the kennel area.
Ask staff to keep noise to a minimum by not banging cage doors or metal bowls.
Use environmental enrichment, like filled Kongs, to keep dogs busy and (hopefully) decrease barking.
Beyond Your Four Walls
Public-health protection involves efforts that reach beyond your facility. Foster caregivers should not be asked to care for animals with known zoonotic diseases. (Exceptions may be made in cases of certain illnesses and experienced volunteers.) All foster volunteers should be educated about the potential risks of zoonoses and should know what to do in case an animal becomes ill or bites someone, including the steps to take if the shelter is closed.
OSHA, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, doesn't just respond to workplaces after receiving complaints; you can also invite someone from the agency in for a facility review. A representative will make observations and explain the changes you need to make to come into compliance, and you won't be fined for any violations (unless you fail to correct them in a reasonable time period).
Glove Guidelines — and When to Wash
Handwashing is the best way to protect people and animals in the shelter from infectious disease. When appropriately used, disposable gloves are also an excellent disease prevention tool. However, they're just as capable of spreading disease as bare hands if the wearer doesn't follow proper biosecurity rules. Ideally, if you would wash your hands before going on to the next task, then it's time to change your gloves to a new pair. Because gloves can carry and spread fomites, remove them carefully and take care not to touch the outsides. It's also a good practice to wash your hands after removing them (or other personal protective equipment), as well as after you handle animals or their food, and before you eat, smoke, touch your face, or change your contacts.
Standards for Guidelines of Care Webinar Series
Vaccinate at Intake
Treat Parasites at Intake
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.