BC SPCA Animal Welfare Research Publications
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BC SPCA animal welfare research publications

The BC SPCA is proud to share our collection of research publications and educational articles authored by our experts and affiliated researchers with those who are also working to improve the lives of animals.

University and college students can also get involved with the BC SPCA through course-based practicums (such as UBC’s Applied Biology Practicum), veterinary and animal health technician externships and work placements. Speak to your faculty advisor first to see if you are eligible for course credit. We also welcome opportunities to work with graduate students already funded and accepted into programs to undertake animal welfare or health studies.

Companion animal welfare

Farm animal welfare

Wild animal welfare

Research animal welfare

Animal welfare policy

Companion animal welfare

von Rentzell, K.A., van Haaften, K.A., Morris, A., & Protopopova, A. (2022).
Investigation into owner-reported differences between dogs born in versus imported into Canada. PLoS ONE 17(6): e0268885. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268885

Eagan, B.H., Gordon, E., & Protopopova, A. (2022). Reasons for guardian-relinquishment of dogs to shelters: Animal and regional predictors in British Columbia, Canada. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 9: 857634. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2022.857634

Hou, C.Y., & Protopopova, A. (2022). Rats as pets: Predictors of adoption and surrender of pet rats (Rattus norvegicus domestica) in British Columbia, Canada. PLoS ONE 17: e0264262. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0264262

Eagan, B.H., Gordon, E., & Fraser, D. (2021). The effect of animal shelter sound on cat behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare 30(4): 431-440. https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.30.4.006

Ly, L.H., Gordon, E., & Protopopova, A. (2021). Inequitable flow of animals in and out of shelters: Comparison of community-level vulnerability for owner-surrendered and subsequently adopted animals. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 784389. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.784389

Himsworth, C.G., Leung, D., Byers, K., Joseph, T., Gordon, E., Schwantje, H., Pritchard, J., & Ambagala, A. (2021). An outbreak of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 57(4): 983-986. https://doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-21-00061

Schor, M., & Protopopova, A. (2021). Effect of COVID-19 on Pet Food Bank Servicing: Quantifying Numbers of Clients Serviced in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside, British Columbia, Canada. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 730390. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.730390

Ellis, A., van Haaften, K.A., Protopopova, A., & Gordon, E. (2021). Effect of a provincial feline onychectomy ban on cat intake and euthanasia in a British Columbia animal shelter system. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 24(8): 739-744. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098612X211043820

Li, Y., Gordon, E., Idle, A., Hui, A., Chan, R., Seguin, M.A., & Delwart, E. (2021). Astrovirus outbreak in animal shelter associated with feline vomiting. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 628082. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098612X211043820

Li, Y., Gordon, E., Shean, R.C., Idle, A., Deng, X., Greninger, A.L., & Delwart, E. (2021). CrAssphage and its bacterial host in cat feces. Scientific Reports 11: 815. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80076-9

Ly, L.H., Gordon, E., & Protopopova, A. (2021).  Exploring the relationship between human social deprivation and animal surrender to shelters in British Columbia, Canada. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8: 656597. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.656597

van Haaften, K.A., Grigg, E.K., Kolus, C., Hart, L., & Kogan, L.R. (2020). A survey of dog owners’ perceptions on the use of psychoactive medications and alternatives for the treatment of canine behavior problems. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 35: 27-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2019.10.002

Eagan, B.H. (2020). The effect of animal shelter sound on cat behaviour and welfare [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0394098

Gordon, E., Idle, A., & DeTar, L. (2020). Descriptive epidemiology of companion animal dermatophytosis in a Canadian Pacific Northwest animal shelter system. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 61(7): 763-770. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7296869/

Li, Y., Gordon, E., Idle, A., Altan, E., Seguin, M.A., Estrada, M., Deng, X., & Delwart, E. (2020). Virome of a feline outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting includes bocaviruses and a novel chapparvovirus. Viruses 12(5): 506. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050506

Van der Velden, M. (2019). Is it possible to herd cats? Reporting on five years addressing cat overpopulation in British Columbia, Canada. BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/BC-SPCA-Five-Year-Review-Herding-Cats-Strategy.pdf 

Makowska, I.J. (2018). Review of dog training methods: welfare, learning ability, and current standards. BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/dog-training-methods-review.pdf

Kay, A., Coe, J.B., Young, I., & Pearl, D. (2018). Factors influencing time to adoption for dogs in a provincial shelter system in Canada. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 21(4): 375-388. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2018.1436917

Fraser, D., Koralesky, K.E., & Urton, G. (2018). Toward a harmonized approach to animal welfare law in Canada. Canadian Veterinary Journal 59(3): 293-302. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29559748/

Boey, J. (2017). Working with communities to improve the quality of life of British Columbia’s free-roaming dogs and their people [MA thesis, University of Victoria]. University of Victoria. http://hdl.handle.net/1828/8805

South, C. (2016). How to say ‘spay’. BC SPCA & University of British Columbia. http://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/BC-SPCA-UBC-Research-Report-How-to-say-spay.pdf

Gourkow, N., & Phillips, C.J.C. (2015) Effect of interactions with humans on behaviour, mucosal immunity and upper respiratory disease of shelter cats rated as contented on arrival. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 121(3-4): 288-296. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.07.013

Gourkow, N., LaVoy, A., Dean, G.A., & Phillips, C.J.C. (2014). Associations of behaviour with secretory immunoglobulin A and cortisol in domestic cats during their first week in an animal shelter. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 150: 55-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.11.006

Gourkow, N., Hamon, S.C., & Phillips, C.J.C. (2014). Effect of gentle stroking and vocalization on behaviour, mucosal immunity and upper respiratory disease in anxious shelter cats. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 117(1): 266-275. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.06.005

Gourkow, N., Lawson, J.H., Hamon, S.C., & Phillips, C.J.C. (2013). Descriptive epidemiology of upper respiratory disease and associated risk factors in cats in an animal shelter in coastal western Canada. Canadian Veterinary Journal 54(2): 132-138. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3552587/

MacNeil-Allcock, A., Clarke, N.M., Ledger, R.A., & Fraser, D. (2011). Aggression, behaviour, and animal care among pit bulls and other dogs adopted from an animal shelter. Animal Welfare 20(4): 463-468. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw/2011/00000020/00000004/art00001

Ledger, R.A., & Russ, N. (2010). The fate of cats adopted from rescue shelters in Canada (PDF). Journal of Veterinary Behavior 5(1): 35-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2009.10.018

Ledger, R.A. (2010). The relinquishment of rabbits to rescue shelters in Canada (PDF). Journal of Veterinary Behavior 5(1): 36-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2009.10.016

Morris, A. (2008). Policies to promote socialization and welfare in dog breeding [MPP thesis, Simon Fraser University]. Simon Fraser University. https://summit.sfu.ca/item/12632

Gourkow, N., & Fraser, D. (2006). The effect of housing and handling practices on the welfare, behaviour and selection of domestic cats (Felis sylvestris catus) by adopters in an animal shelter. Animal Welfare 15(4): 371-377. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw/2006/00000015/00000004/art00008

Orihel, J.S. (2006). Management and rehabilitation of inter-dog aggression in animal shelters [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0092743

Orihel, J.S., Ledger, R.A., & Fraser, D. (2005). A survey of the management of inter-dog aggression by animal shelters in Canada. Anthrozoös 18(3): 273-287. https://doi.org/10.2752/089279305785594144

Gourkow, N. (2001). Factors affecting the welfare and adoption rate of cats in an animal shelter [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://doi.org/10.14288/1.0090034

Beautiful fluffy cat looking up into the lens

Farm animal welfare

Duncan, I., Ramsay, C., & Urton, G. (2009). The scientific case against foie gras. BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/foie-gras-scientific-report.pdf

Urton, G.D.G. (2005). Feeding behaviour identifies dairy cows at risk for metritis [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0092208

Photo by Matthias Zomer

Wild animal welfare

Ryan, E.A. (2021). Non-target interactions and humane evaluation of a captive bolt trap on commensal rodents [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0401883

Xenakis, N. (2021). Humane pigeon population management using avian contraceptive OvoControl® P at TransLink SkyTrain stations in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada [MSc thesis, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0398509

McInnes, C.J., Shuttleworth, C.M., Larsen, K.W., Everest, D.J., Bruemmer, C., Carroll, B., Romeo, C., Sainsbury, T., Crawshaw, G., Dubois, S., Gillis, L., Gilray, J., & Percival, A. (2020). Introduced Canadian eastern grey squirrels: squirrelpox virus surveillance and why nothing matters. Hystrix Italian Journal of Mammalogy 31(2): 95-98. https://doi.org/10.4404/hystrix-00331-2020

Dubois, S., Fenwick, N., Ryan, E.A., Baker, L., Baker, S.E., Beausoleil, N.J., Carter, S., Cartwright, B., Costa, F., Draper, C., Griffin, J., Grogan, A., Howald, G., Jones, B., Littin, K.E., Lombard, A.T., Mellor, D.J., Ramp, D., Schuppli, C.A., & Fraser, D. (2017). International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conservation Biology 31(4): 753-760. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12896
(View ethical wildlife control infographic PDF of this publication)

BC SPCA. (2016). A common approach to wildlife control for animal welfare and protection organisations. Developed from discussions at the Expert Forum on Humane Wildlife Control Standards held at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada on July 27 and 28, 2015. BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/UBC-AWP-BC-SPCA-Expert-Forum-on-Humane-Wildlife-Control.pdf

Dubois, S. (2014). Understanding humane expectations: public and expert attitudes towards human-wildlife interactions [PhD dissertation, University of British Columbia]. University of British Columbia. https://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0165855

Dubois, S., & Harshaw, H. (2013). Exploring “humane” dimensions of wildlife. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 18(1): 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2012.694014

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2013). Local attitudes towards bear management after illegal feeding and problem bear activity. Animals 3(3): 935-950. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani3030935

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2013). Rating harms to wildlife: a survey showing convergence between conservation and animal welfare view. Animal Welfare 22(1): 49-55. https://doi.org/10.7120/09627286.22.1.049

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2013). A framework to evaluate wildlife feeding in research, wildlife management, tourism and recreation. Animals 3(4): 978-994. https://doi.org/10.3390%2Fani3040978

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2003). Conversations with stakeholders – 2: Contentious issues in wildlife rehabilitation. Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation 26(2): 8-14.

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2003). Conversations with stakeholders – 1: Goals, impediments, and relationships in wildlife rehabilitation. Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation 26(1): 14-22.

Dubois, S., & Fraser, D. (2003). Defining and measuring success in wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife Rehabilitation 21: 123-132.

Photo by Grayson Pettigrew


Research animal welfare

Ormandy, E.H. (2015). Alternatives to animals in UBC undergraduate teaching: Project report. BC SPCA. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Ormandy-2015-alternatives-to-animals-in-UBC-undergrad-teaching.pdf

White lab rat with pill

Animal welfare policy

Fenwick, N., & van Haaften, K.A. (2022). Mind your manners: Why dog training methods matter. In C. Van’t Haaff C (Ed), West Coast Veterinarian Magazine (pp. 28-33). CVMA-SBCV Chapter. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/west-coast-veterinarian-magazine-WCV-humane-dog-training-animalkind-article.pdf

Dubois, S. (2019). Voluntourism at Wildlife SOS India: Open heart, open mind. In C. Van’t Haaff (Ed), West Coast Veterinarian Magazine (pp. 34-35). CVMA-SBCV Chapter. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/west-coast-vet-magazine-wildlife-sos-Sara-Dubois.pdf

Morris, A. (2017). Animal by-laws create controversy: From dangerous dogs to feral cat colonies, backyard chickens to bees. In S.M. Gardner (Ed), Municipal World (pp. 33-34). Municipal World Inc. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/Animal-By-Laws-Create-Controversy-Municipal-World.pdf

Dubois, S. (2016). Managing wildlife issues: Compassionate Conservation practices can make it easier for humans and wild animals to live together. In S.M. Gardner (Ed), Municipal World (pp. 5-7). Municipal World Inc. https://spca.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/Animal-By-Laws-Create-Controversy-Municipal-World.pdf

Dog training