A Multi-Site Feasibility Assessment of Implementing a Best-Practices Meet-And-Greet Intervention in Animal Shelters in the United States
Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
National Canine Research Council, Amenia, NY 12501, USA
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University; Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 6 January 2020 / Published: 8 January 2020
Researchers create and validate interventions to improve life-saving measures in animal shelters; however, if the animal shelters are not capable of integrating these new interventions into their existing procedures, then the benefit of research is lost. Therefore, research is also needed to assess not only the efficacy of the intervention, but also the feasibility of the new intervention for shelters. This study enrolled nine animal shelters in the United States and, using an educational session consisting of a lecture, demonstration, and role-play, encouraged them to update their current meet-and-greet procedure to the established best practice. Results showed that a single educational session was insufficient. The identified challenges included not remembering the procedures, opposing opinions of volunteers and staff, lack of resources, and a procedural drift effect in which the protocol was changed across time. These findings highlight the need for researchers to find useful ways to educate animal shelters, so that new research can be incorporated into shelter protocols and result in maximum life-saving measures of homeless companion animals.