UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Interviews with Indian Animal Shelter Staff : Similarities and Differences in Challenges and Resiliency Factors Compared to Western Counterparts Srinivasa, Deyvika; Mondal, Rubina; Von Rentzell, Kai Alain; Protopopova, Alexandra


Animal shelters in India are at the forefront of efforts to improve free-ranging dog welfare and tackle animal overpopulation. In terms of cultural and political context, access to resources, and public health challenges, they operate in a very different environment than Western counterparts. Despite these distinctions, current sheltering literature is largely centered around countries such as the United States. The goal of this exploratory study was to examine the experiences of Indian animal shelter staff. Researchers conducted ten semi-structured interviews, in a mix of Hindi and English, with managers, veterinary nurses, and animal caretakers from three shelters. Using thematic analysis, shelter challenges as well as resiliency factors that enable staff to cope with these challenges were identified. Key challenges were inadequate funding, community conflict, and high intake numbers. Resiliency factors included flexibility, duty of care, co-worker relationships, and understanding animal needs. The results of this qualitative study revealed that the experiences of shelter staff are shaped by social, political, and cultural factors and that there is a need for further, context specific research on Indian sheltering rather than only relying on Western perspectives.

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