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Vet Ital. 2019 Mar 31;55(1):5-14. doi: 10.12834/VetIt.1476.7954.2.

Development of a questionnaire to evaluate the occupational stress in dog's shelter operators.

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Human-Animal Relationship and Animal Welfare Laboratory, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise.


The Italian National Law on "companion animals and stray dog population control" prohibits euthanasia of shelter dogs if they are not dangerous or seriously suffering. Free roaming dogs are captured and housed in long-term shelters (LTS) until rehomed, adopted or dead.In this scenario the sheltered dogs' welfare has become a community scientific interest but few information are available about the human sphere in dogs' shelters. Aim of this study is to evaluate the social relationship between dogs and shelter operators (employees and volunteers) and the impact of their job on their quality of life in Italian shelters.A questionnaire addressed to shelter operators was developed by multidisciplinary group of experts and it is structured in three main parts: general information, operators' skills and operators' welfare and emotional sphere. This questionnaire has been included into the Shelter Quality Protocol that was used to assess the welfare of dogs housed in LTS, and it is meant to be distributed in 64 Italian shelters. A descriptive analysis was carried out. These results show that, in general, Italian shelter operators have a positive perception of their job although this have a stressful impact on their lives.

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