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Getting Real: Making the ASV Standards Work for You

The Cats at Chemung County Humane Society & SPCA

  • Chain-link runs with top panels were built, featuring shelves and perches. Staff bought condo-style cage units to house litters of kittens and single adult cats. These double-sided enclosures ensure separate functional living spaces. Brenda Griffin, D.V.M.

In 2010, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) released a document several years in the making: Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. Developed by a roster of veterinary experts, the standards are designed to “balance animal welfare science with practical and realistic recommendations for shelters,” and to provide a vision based on the needs of animals, which, the authors noted, remain the same regardless of how individual organizations’ missions and resources may differ. Here, we feature the first in a series using real-life shelter examples to demonstrate how the ASV standards can be applied within the sheltering and rescue field to create better and more humane outcomes for the animals shelters care for.

Cat Housing Standards

Poor cat housing, the ASV guidelines note, “is one of the greatest shortcomings observed in shelters and has a substantially negative impact on both health and well-being.” Indeed, many shelters were originally designed to house animals for short-term holding periods, and the resulting housing is often poorly suited to meet the needs of the animals.

Like many shelters that were built a number of years ago, the facility at the Chemung County Humane Society & SPCA was inadequately equipped for the humane housing of cats. The staff was keenly aware of this issue, and concerned about its impact on the health and well-being of cats in their care—so in 2009 they sought to make some changes.

 Read the full article.

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