The Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) prepared a thoroughgoing set of guidelines for the administration and management of animal shelters that outlines standards of care and design. These standards are framed in the ethical context of “the five freedoms” declared by the ASV: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.
The ASV Guide goes on to describe standards for “facilities design and environment” that address everyday issues falling within five general categories.
- Primary enclosure: the building should demonstrate a welcoming atmosphere that encourages and educates potential pet owners
- Surfaces and drainage: all materials and equipment should be durable with smooth surfaces that reduce injury and are easy to maintain
- HVAC and air quality: air quality and waste removal are fundamental issues that help promote healthful conditions
- Light: where possible, protected natural light combined with natural ventilation offers the best solution to animal safety and easy of care
- Sound control: acoustic considerations lead to a healthier environment for animals and help boost adoption rates since potential adoptive families are more likely to spend additional time getting to know pets in a quiet, calm and comfortable atmosphere
Working with guidelines + standards of this sort provides the chance to explore creative solutions with seasoned animal care professionals to ensure that a basic level of performance will not only be met but also exceeded. This was the case in our work with the client group and constructors in the Greenville , Aiken and Charlotte projects.