Man with severe mental health issues with an emotional support dog faces eviction

At the end of November 2019, a case was bought against Christopher Palmer at Plymouth County Court. Landlord, Plymouth County Homes, say that My Palmer is breach of his tenancy agreement by his keeping of his dog, Tammy, and want either the dog to be rehomed, or for Mr Palmer to accept their offer of rehoming them together to a property with a garden. However, Mr Palmer’s mental health conditions would be worsened by both of these options as he has friends and sources of support in the high rise flats where he is currently living. The case will resume on 9 January 2020.

Read more.

PhD Opportunity – Understanding the approach taken to aged dogs in primary veterinary care: a mixed methods health informatics approach

Do you have qualifications and experience in an area of veterinary or animal health sciences? A PhD opportunity has arisen based at the University of Liverpool’s Leahurst campus as part of larger research groups exploring human-animal interaction and animal welfare.

This one-year post is funded by a BSAVA Petsavers Citizen Science Award, which includes student stipend of £15,000 (tax free) and all necessary postgraduate fees for a UK/ EU student, and conference attendance/training budget of £700.

To find out more visit

Please note the application deadline is Friday 17 January 2020.

Homeless people need to be able to stay with their dogs

Homeless people need to be able to stay with their dogs, according to guidance being issued for housing providers.

Homelessness charity Simon Community Scotland is working with Dogs Trust to help direct the response to homeless people and their pets. Their Paws for Thought guidance highlights the positive role dogs can play in people’s lives. It aims to raise awareness of the value of the pets among housing and support service providers.

The document consists of several pieces of advice such as how to provide dog-friendly communal rooms in temporary shelters and create risk assessments to ensure there are no issues with staff members being allergic to, or afraid of, pets.

Read more by following the link below:

One Health Social Sciences Online Webinar

The One Health Social Sciences Initiative is taking the next step to further its mission to strengthen the global network of scientists and practitioners incorporating social science concepts and methods into their One Health research and practice.

10:00 am ET (UTC-5)

To register for the free event, go to: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

New SCAS Code of Practice Launched

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) guidelines developed to provide voluntary code to ensure animal and human welfare needs are met

Guidelines for the use of animals in a wide range of animal-assisted activities and therapies, developed by the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), have been substantially revised and updated.

The Animal Assisted Interventions: SCAS Code of Practice for the UK (the code) is a voluntary code intended to offer guidance on good practice for designing and delivering AAI effectively and safely, to help ensure the welfare needs of both humans and animals are met.

Why do we need a Code?

Animals are increasingly being deployed in therapeutic settings due to the acknowledged benefits that arise from human-animal interactions1. There are no National Occupational Standards in place for AAI in the UK; therefore, SCAS recognised a need to provide evidence-based advice and as such developed the Code, with input from the charity’s expert membership.

The introduction of AAI programmes requires careful planning to ensure interventions are safe for all involved and that animal welfare is not compromised. The SCAS Code informs professionals, patients and the public about key steps required to achieve best practices. It encourages interdisciplinary collaboration across the caring professions in the planning, development and maintenance of programmes; and between practitioners and researchers in documenting outcomes. Through such collaboration, programmes become more effective and sustainable.

SCAS Chairman, Dr Ormerod, explains the background to the development of the guidelines:

“The experience of SCAS members, through surveys and visits to health and social care facilities, is that many programmes involve animals in an ad hoc fashion.

Animals are often introduced without seeking advice as to their suitability or welfare. Few facilities have adequate written policy or protocol, hence the need for a well-researched document to inform those working or volunteering in such facilities.”

“It is necessary to mitigate risk when using animals in AAI, both in terms of upholding animal welfare and to protect humans from any potential zoonotic diseases. The AAI SCAS Code of Conduct will help ensure all parties are working safely and fulfilling the needs of the institution and animal owners.”

The guidelines are free to access and may be downloaded from the SCAS website

The Code was first launched by SCAS in 2013 and has been substantially revised to reflect current understanding of AAI, particularly in relation to safe practice and animal welfare. Advice on zoonoses has been expanded to address issues pertaining to farm animals, exotic species and risks associated with raw meat products.

Who is the Code for?

The Code is for organisations, charities, businesses or individuals who design, manage, organise and implement the delivery of AAI programmes. They are also a key resource for veterinary teams whose work alongside these teams. Their services may be commissioned by others or, in some cases, those responsible for the management of an AAI programme may also be the AAI facilitator who delivers the session. The Code also serves to inform staff and clients in health, social care and educational institutions to which AAI is delivered.

PhD student to study human-animal interaction required at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Jeffrey Stevens, director of the Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is recruiting a PhD student to study human-animal interaction. Projects investigate the effects of interacting with dogs on human cognition and emotion. Previous experience with HAI is preferred. For more information, contact Dr. Stevens at The deadline for applications is 15 December 2019.

2019 SCAS Conference: Still time to book!

There is still some time left to book onto the Society for Companion Animal Studies’ 2019 conference, ‘Companion Animals and Us: One Welfare’ on Saturday 21 September 2019 at The College of Animal Welfare in Cambridgeshire. If you are passionate about the relationship between humans and animals, this conference is for you!

This year’s event explores the concept of ‘One Welfare’; the idea that animal welfare, human wellbeing and the environment are all intrinsically linked, and that interactions between them should be to the benefit of all. Talks on thought provoking, and sometimes controversial, topics will provide a platform for an afternoon of workshop discussions; giving an opportunity for sharing ideas and networking with fellow delegates.

The keeping of companion animals, whether as pets or assistance animals, can provide benefits to people, the community and the animal; certainly many pets enjoy interesting and enjoyable lives and the benefits are reciprocal. However, where the human’s needs and/or perspectives are the main focus, there is potential for decreased welfare of the individual animal; this is just one of the topics that will be addressed by our speakers throughout the day.

This year also marks the 40th Birthday of SCAS and, throughout the conference, we will be celebrating all that SCAS has achieved during this time; indeed SCAS Chairperson, Dr Elizabeth Ormerod, will begin the conference by talking through the history of SCAS. This will set the scene for a great line up of speakers: Dr Anne McBride, Clifford Warwick, Vicki Betton and Debbie Rook; who will be looking at domestic pets, exotic species, and the situation, both in the UK and overseas, in regards to pets and housing.

Prices start at just £45 for students and SCAS members. Book a place online.

Download a Full Agenda

SCAS Funded Project: Virtual Reality Swimming with Dolphins

SCAS Chairman, Dr Elizabeth Ormerod writes: One of the workshops at the 2018 IAHAIO conference in Amsterdam was delivered by the Dolphin Swim Club, an innovative cutting-edge programme which employs virtual reality (VR) technology. By wearing waterproof VR goggles showing underwater video footage of dolphins, people perceive that they are underwater swimming with them. This very powerful and moving experience was enjoyed by the delegates – there was a swimming pool within the conference centre! Continue reading