Placing animals into smaller groups in separate housing areas of the shelter based on species, health, age and other factors helps maintain optimum animal health during a shelter stay.
Here are five actions you can take to create appropriate housing areas for cats and dogs in your care:
1. Designate at least four housing areas for each species: Healthy Hold, Adoption, Isolation, Quarantine
Healthy Hold: Houses stray and surrendered healthy animals until they are able to be moved to adoption floor.
Adoption: Houses healthy animals available for adoption.
Isolation: Houses animals who are clinically ill (symptomatic) and infected with a communicable disease. In an isolation space, the use of barriers and solid walls can lessen the transmission of disease.
Quarantine: Create multiple quarantine areas for animals considered potentially dangerous:
Animals being observed for rabies
Animals exposed to infectious disease but not yet clinical during an outbreak situation
Separate young animals (5 months and younger) from adults
Provide separate housing for feral cats and aggressive dogs
Set up multiple isolation areas to separate sick animals by type of illness (for example a separate ringworm ward from URI ward)
2. Create written standard operating procedures for each area
Which animals are housed in each area and which should not be
Maximum number of animals allowed in each area
Who is responsible for feeding, cleaning, and monitoring animals in each area
Who to contact if an issue arises in a specific area
3. Using your SOPs, train staff and volunteers in correct use of each housing area
4. Label each housing area, including maximum capacity
5. Train all staff, especially animal care staff, to recognize early signs of infectious diseaseso animals with potential infectious issues are quickly moving to the appropriate isolation location