Development of a questionnaire to evaluate the occupational stress in dog's shelter operators

How to Cite

Nardoia, M., Arena, L., Berteselli, G., Migliaccio, P., Valerii, L., Di Giustino, L., & Dalla Villa, P. (2019). Development of a questionnaire to evaluate the occupational stress in dog’s shelter operators. Veterinaria Italiana, 55(1), 5–14. https://doi.org/10.12834/VetIt.1476.7954.2


The Italian National Law on companion animals and stray dog population control prohibits euthanasia of shelter dogs if they are not dangerous or seriously suffering. Free roaming dogs are captured and housed in long-term shelters (LTS) until rehomed, adopted or dead. In this scenario, the sheltered dogs’ welfare has become a community of scientific interest but few information is available about the human sphere in dogs’ shelters. The aim of this study was to evaluate the social relationship between dogs and shelter operators (employees and volunteers) in Italian shelters and the impact of their job on their quality of life. A questionnaire addressed to shelter operators was developed by a multidisciplinary group of experts and it was structured in three main sections: general information, operators’ skills and operators’ welfare and emotional sphere. The questionnaire was distributed in 64 Italian shelters during the field application of the Shelter Quality protocol for the assessment of dogs’ welfare in LTS (IZS 04/13 RC funded by Ministry of Health) that was used to assess the welfare of dogs housed in LTS. A descriptive analysis was carried out. These results show that Italian shelter operators have a positive perception of their job despite a stressful impact on their lives.