Started in Summer 2013 with Dr. Christy L. Hoffman from the Canisius Canine Research Team. Funded in part by the APDT Foundation. Results soon to be reported!
It has been a dream of mine to decode which behaviors identify dogs who will be safe to rehome with cats. As a shelter worker, we have no reliable information about how to conduct a proper "cat test" for the dogs in the shelter environment. Ethical concerns for cat safety, stress levels, and ability to replicate the test required that we get creative about answering our question. This study is the first step to identifying which behaviors might identify "cat-safe" vs. "cat-unsafe" dogs. The first step was to create an online survey seeking information about how owned dogs behave with cats in their homes. Next, several dog-owner teams were recruited from step one to come to campus for a live test with a robotic cat (no real, live cats were used for this study!). Several students are working in Dr. Hoffman's lab to code videos. We hope to have some reportable results sometime in 2016.
Petfinder's Effect on Feline Adoption
Workman, M. K., & Hoffman, C. L. (2015). An Evaluation of the Role the Internet Site Petfinder Plays in Cat Adoptions. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18(4), 388-397.
Presented at SUNY Brockport's Master's Research Conference: Workman, M., "An evaluation of the role the website PetfinderTM plays in cat adoptions" (April 26, 2014). 2014 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference. Paper 67.
Presented as a Poster at the Living With Animals 2 Conference (Eastern Kentucky University, March 2015) and International Society of Anthrozoology (Saratoga Springs, NY, June 2015)
As part of the requirements for my Master's Degree in Anthrozoology, I looked at click statistics for cats available for adoption at the SPCA Serving Erie County for a span of approximately one year. After review, 892 cats met study inclusion criteria. The first picture on Petfinder for each cat was reviewed. The structure of photos, physical characteristics of the cats and inclusion of objects were identified for each cat's photo. Results: Kittens are clicked most often. The number of clicks decreases as the age of the cat increases. Coat color is also important as black cats are clicked on least. The only variable within photographer control that increases a photo's attractiveness is whether or not a toy is included in the photograph.
Euthanasia Decisions in the Sheltering Industry
Master's Thesis submitted and defended May 2014. Results to be submitted to be published soon!
Presented at Living With Animals Conference (Eastern Kentucky University, March 2015)
Presented as a Poster at International Society of Anthrozoology (Saratoga Springs, NY, June 2015)
As part of the requirements for my Master's Degree in Anthrozoology, I took a look at how euthanasia decisions are made in the sheltering industry in the United States of America. An online survey asked euthanasia decision makers to share their shelter's policies, procedures, and perspectives on euthanasia choices. Additionally, I review how differing ethical perspectives (utilitarianism, deontology, ethics of caring and others) affect euthanasia decisions. While many previous studies have looked at those who perform euthanasia for shelter animals, this is the first attempt in current research to look at those who decide which animals to euthanize. In this work I operate as an experimental philosopher bridging the gap between theory, thought and action.