The goal of this task force is to provide comprehensive training in general shelter medicine for animal shelter and rescue staff and volunteers. Disease often occurs in shelter animals; however, many illness-related problems can be prevented by using proper management techniques. The level of shelter medicine education amongst Massachusetts shelter and rescue workers varies widely. This task force is designed to bring all personnel to the same high level by using already established guidelines and protocols.
It is also important to note that the common practice of bringing animals into the state from the South and other areas means that the potential for disease being brought into Massachusetts has increased. Often this is because of a shelter or rescue’s lack of understanding of the above issues and animals are getting sick and dying unnecessarily.
We believe that having a foundational training program to address the issues of animal health is a way to help not only the people involved in this work but also the animals who are in their care. Developing a working relationship between the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and the shelter and rescue community could be an added benefit of such a program. By helping the community to understand the basics of these issues and giving them the foundational tools, we feel that there will be fewer incidents of disease and Massachusetts shelters and rescues will ultimately adhere to standard, accepted practices, hopefully improving the relationship between our community and the MDAR.