Veterinary Behaviorist (Part-time) @ ASPCA - Remote
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As part of the Policy, Response & Engagement (PRE) division, the Behavioral Sciences Team (BST) supports behavior programs across the ASPCA to safeguard the behavioral health of our animals. The BST’s work focuses on:
Promoting a holistic approach to the care of ASPCA animals that balances physical and mental wellbeing. We ensure organization-wide alignment of shelter behavior best practices, foundational tools and behavioral data management. Advancing science-based processes and protocols in shelter behavior, including enrichment, socialization and behavior modification, to improve quality of life of sheltered animals, reduce euthanasia of animals with treatable behavior problems and expedite pathway planning decisions for animals unsuitable for rehabilitation. Establishing psychological harm as legally cognizable animal cruelty so that animals suffering emotional trauma receive the same protections under the law as animals suffering physical harm. Supporting ASPCA’s cruelty and disaster operations through forensic behavior documentation, consultation, research and subject matter expert testimony. We work closely with Legal Advocacy & Investigations, National Field Response, Forensic Science and Rehabilitation Services by deploying for animal removals, providing low stress handling, conducting forensic behavior evaluations and supporting shelter behavior programs at temporary field shelters.
The BST veterinary behaviorist plays an integral role in the ASPCA’s holistic approach toward animal care and in strategically aligning shelter behavior best practices across the organization. In conjunction with our Shelter Medicine Services, the BST veterinary behaviorist contributes to position statements and organization-wide protocols and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the use of psychotropic medication, nutraceuticals and other behavior treatment adjuvants. The BST veterinary behaviorist serves as a key member of the Shelter Behavior Partnership team and is integral to incorporating and monitoring science-based medical and behavioral treatments for ASPCA animals. The BST veterinary behaviorist supplements the Shelter Behavior Partnership program by providing consultation to medical and behavior teams on specific cases for which there is a medical/behavioral interaction and/or for which psychopharmaceutical, nutraceutical or behavioral adjuvant therapy is being considered. In addition, the BST veterinary behaviorist fulfills a critical role as consultant on behavior research projects.
The BST veterinary behaviorist fosters strong relationships with shelter medicine, medical and behavior teams across the organization for the advancement of the overall health of shelter animals through research, application, and education . The veterinary behaviorist must be able to function seamlessly and effectively within the organizational culture of holistic animal care, with sound judgment, open communication, and a commitment to diplomacy and collaboration.
The willingness and ability to travel frequently, on average, 3 days/month is a requirement.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Behavior Program Partnership (50%)
- Unite with BST Shelter Behavior partners to provide veterinary behavior expertise to ASPCA program teams.
- Travel to ASPCA facilities to cultivate strong working relationships with program teams and, in conjunction with BST Shelter Behavior partners, identify and address behavior program needs.
- In collaboration with Shelter Medicine Services, develop and/or contribute to protocols, SOPs and organizational policies and position statements relating to the use of psychotropic medications, nutraceuticals and other adjuvants for shelter animals.
- In collaboration with Shelter Medicine Services, develop and/or contribute to protocols and SOPs relating to the intersection of applied animal behavior science and veterinary medicine.
- As requested by ASPCA program teams, advise on behavioral pharmacotherapy or alternative therapies for specific cases, including diagnosing behavioral conditions, selecting and dosing medication/products, monitoring efficacy and side effects, and weaning protocols.
- As requested by ASPCA program teams, review individual cases and advise on pathway planning decisions.
- Contribute to follow-up support plans that include behavioral pharmacotherapy or alternative therapies for animals adopted or transferred from ASPCA behavior programs.
- Participate in meetings and other activities to foster within- and cross-departmental relationships, enhance alignment and elevate ASPCA behavior programs.
- Maintain current knowledge of the science of shelter behavior best practices.
- Contribute to the development of the Behavior Database to ensure appropriate tracking of behavior therapy efficacies.
Applied Animal Behavior Research, Training and Teaching (45%)
- Contribute to the organization’s Strategic Behavior Research Plan to drive the direction of ASPCA research in shelter and forensic animal behavior.
- Participate in writing scientific publications for peer reviewed journals and textbooks, as well as publications for non-scientific audiences and ASPCA departments.
- Participate in the ASPCA’s shelter medicine residency program.
- In coordination with the Learning Lab and ASPCA Pro, develop and deliver lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, and other educational training and materials on shelter veterinary behavior best practices and related behavior topics.
- Attend professional development opportunities to assess applicability to ASPCA behavior program needs.
- Provide behavior content for Media & Communications as requested. Participate in media interviews on veterinary behavior topics.
Forensic Behavior & Field Support (5%)
- Provide on-scene behavioral trauma documentation and humane handling services during animal confiscation/removal, intake and medical exams for ASPCA national cruelty cases.
- Conduct forensic behavior evaluations for ASPCA national cruelty cases, including, but not limited to, fighting dogs, puppy mill dogs and animals from hoarding situations.
- Accept leadership, managerial and ICS roles as appropriate during deployments.
Exemplifies the ASPCA’s Core Values:
- Has Commitment and dedication to improving the lives of animals
- Demonstrates Ownership and feels responsible for outcomes
- Believes in Team – that we are stronger together
- Seeks to Elevate others and reimagine what is possible
- Focuses on Impact , specifically making change for animals
- DVM degree (or equivalent).
- Board certified diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
Experience and Subject Matter Expertise :
- Thorough companion animal behavior, veterinary behavior and animal welfare knowledge
- Able to understand and interpret animal behavior scientific literature; can convey scientific findings to all audiences
- Experience working with dogs exhibiting aggression, fear and excessive arousal
- Experience in animal sheltering a plus
- Fear Free or Low Stress handling ™ certification (obtained within 6 months of hire)
- FEMA Incident Command System courses (100, 200, 700, 800); familiarity with Incident Command System (obtained within 6 months of hire)
- This is a half-time position that works remotely, but the incumbent must be flexible, as some early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays may be required.
- Candidates may be located anywhere in the United States, but candidates in all time zones will be required to be available during standard working hours in the Eastern time zone.
- The position requires occasionally working in challenging conditions, including harsh temperatures or unsanitary environments; able to wear appropriate protective gear, including personal protective equipment and protective masks; potential situations include: excessive noise, uneven walking surfaces, inclement weather, chemical and biological hazards, such as feces and blood, constructed spaces with narrow passageways, strong odors and excessive dirt or dust
- Must maintain a valid driver’s license and a safe driving history
Qualifications:Capable of standing for 8 or more hours and bending, crouching, kneeling and moving freely to perform responsibilities that include handling potentially dangerous animals in stressful conditions, Capable of working collaboratively with teams from different departments and programs to embrace change and effectively implement best practices, processes and protocols, Demonstrates high professional standards when working with supervisors and colleagues and when interacting with animal welfare associates; cultivates productive, lasting internal and external relationships, Discerning intellectual; guided by science rather than personal experience and opinion, Excellent written and oral communication skills; able to communicate clearly, effectively, sensitively and professionally, with colleagues at all levels, Experience in the use of databases (such as Filemaker or Salesforce) and familiarity with animal shelter software a plus, Flexible innovator in a fast-paced, changing environment; demonstrates malleability, resiliency and commitment; adapts easily and nimbly, Fluent in Internet usage and in the use of MS Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, Sincere and perceptive teacher, mentor and coach, Strong leadership skills; can motivate, guide and support both individuals and teams to work together toward shared goals, Strong organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail, The ability to work closely with behaviorally and medically compromised animals and be capable of objectively recommending humane euthanasia when warranted, Thorough understanding of the animal welfare field; dedicated to elevating shelter behavior programs nationally, Treats people and animals with care and respect; a compassionate animal advocate, Well-grounded in ethology and learning principles; able to interpret behavior outside of a medical model, Willingness and ability to travel; able and willing to work flexible hours, long days and weekends, as required; available to be on-call for last minute deployments, Willing to accept responsibility for sustaining a healthy work-life balance
Education and Work Experience:Doctorate: Veterinary Medicine (Required)
Our EEO Policy:
The ASPCA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.
Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and certain state or local laws. A reasonable accommodation is a change in the ASPCA’s standard application process, which will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing undue hardship on the ASPCA. Please inform the ASPCA’s People Team if you need an accommodation in order to complete any forms or to otherwise participate in the application process.
Individuals seeking employment are considered without regards to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.
ASPCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer (M/F/D/V).
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