Author Archives: SCAS

The PAAW Project: Campaigning for positive pet policies

Despite us being a nation of animal lovers, with companies including Google welcoming dogs into the workplace, 55% of private landlords (1) still fly in the face of Government guidelines with a ‘no pets’ policy.

On the latest episode of A DOG’S LIFE, host and ‘dog guru’, Anna Webb and Gabby Kuehn, Founder of PAAW (Pets Are Always Welcome) House discuss concerns that many ‘lockdown’ puppies may face homelessness due to private Landlords either misinterpreting or ignoring pet clauses and replacing them with blanket bans.

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SCAS Virtual Conference set to Explore Global Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) Developments and Practices

The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) is delighted to announce that its 2020 conference ‘Human and Animal Welfare in AAI: Learnings from the UK and across the globe’ will take place this year online, and is now open for registration.

After much consideration and in light of the global Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s conference will be held in a virtual format on Sunday 13 September 2020. Although it is lovely to meet up in person with delegates at the conference, we are excited about the opportunity of welcoming delegates to the event that may not have been otherwise able to take part due to travel restrictions.

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New Paper on Best Practice Standards in Animal-Assisted Interventions

A recent paper introduces the new LEAD Risk Assessment Toolkit which provides urgently needed unified guidelines on best practice in relation to risk assessment, safeguarding and animal welfare priorities in Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) practice. The authors also provide the first comprehensive risk assessment and animal welfare tools to achieve consistent welfare and safety standards for best practice across educational and other settings around the world.

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Campaign to End Loneliness

Loneliness and isolation are endemic and linked with a plethora of physical and mental health problems. There is now overwhelming evidence that companion animals can provide important social support and help to mitigate against these effects. Unfortunately, many people in the UK, who would benefit most from the health and social support provided by animal companionship, are still denied this opportunity due to restrictive pet keeping practices.  SCAS, since its inauguration, has raised awareness of pets in housing issues for example through its conferences, research and by presentations to politicians in Westminster, the Scottish Parliament and in Brussels. There is now political interest in this vexing area of discrimination. A growing number of overseas governments and regions have enacted positive pet policies. The Labour Party included positive pet legislation in its Animal Welfare manifesto.

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Can Pets Catch COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a newly emerged coronavirus.  SARS and MERS, other recently emerged human coronaviruses, originated in horseshoe bats and passed through other species, such as palm civet and camels.  The definitive source of COVID-19 has still to be determined, but it is also thought to have originated in a bat, and then passed through an intermediate host, possibly a pangolin.  This probably occurred at a wet market in Wuhan, China, where many animal species were kept close together, in unhygienic circumstances.

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Publication of APGOCATS Report: Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?

Publication of APGOCATS Report: Cats as Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?

Loneliness is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Recognition of the need to address the negative impact of loneliness was reflected in the 2018 launch of the UK government’s loneliness strategy1 and appointment of a dedicated Minister.

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International experts in human-animal studies announced as new Fellows at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute

With the creation of the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute in 2017, a group of seventeen scholars from numerous academic principles met in California to discuss the historical perspective of the human-dog relationship. The resulting paper develops a broad new multi-disciplinary framework for human-animal-environmental research. “At a time when we are contending with the COVID-19 pandemic and witnessing first-hand the inherent risk of zoonotic disease when we have close contact with another species, it is important to recognize that the human-dog relationship has withstood the test of time and been mutually beneficial”, said Donna Fernandes, Director at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace.

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Separation related behavioural issues: Behavioural and training tips for the prevention or management of potential separation anxiety problems linked to COVID19 isolation.

By Evangelos Diamantakos, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD Cand (SCAS Trustee)

One of the main concerns among dog owners and trainers/behaviourists regarding the impact of COVID19 is the potential for dog behavioural issues following an extended self-isolation period or lockdown. There is a common concern that many dogs may be affected by separation anxiety. During these unprecedented times, most dog owners are spending more time with their beloved dogs. However, this amazing opportunity may come with a possible cost. This ‘extended’ time of interaction owners have with their dogs is strengthening the bond between them and consequently the dogs’ ‘dependence’ on the owners’ presence and company. The aim of this article is to provide some useful training and behavioural tips to help prevent or manage possible separation related behavioural problems that dogs may develop.

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New report on the potential of pets to help address social isolation and loneliness in people

Social isolation and loneliness are increasing in our society. A survey1 by the Co-Op and the British Red Cross revealed over 9 million people in the UK of all ages are either always or often lonely. Research by Holt-Lunstad, Smith & Layton2 showed that the effect of loneliness and isolation on mortality is comparable to the impact of well-known risk factors such as obesity and has a similar influence as cigarette smoking.

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