Development of a Robust Canine Welfare Assessment Protocol for Use in Dog (Canis Familiaris) Catch-Neuter-Return (CNR) Programmes
Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH25 9RG, UK
The Romanian Society for Anthrozoology, Cluj 400372, Romania
Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Sciences, Eastern Institute of Technology, 501 Gloucester St, Taradale, Napier 4112, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 16 August 2019
This paper describes the development of a robust composite welfare assessment tool to evaluate the welfare of free-roaming dogs passing through surgical sterilisation or catch-neuter-return (CNR) programmes. Catch-Neuter-Return programmes are frequently employed by governments and animal welfare charities to control the rising population of free-roaming dogs. Due to the focus on dog population control, individual dog welfare may be compromised through the CNR process, which comprises necessary stressors and harms, including capture, transport, surgery, and social disruption. Using a combination of a modified Delphi analysis and a Hazard Identification and a Critical Control Point analysis, this project described potential hazards to dog welfare during the CNR process and identified critical points where dog welfare could be assessed, and mitigations put in place to improve dog welfare throughout the CNR process. This project resulted in the development of a composite dog welfare assessment tool that will allow the robust assessment of the welfare of free-roaming dogs in CNR programmes and allow CNR projects to benchmark and mitigate hazards to dog welfare.