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Pounds and Shelters






+ Vet & Shelter
Staff Training

Shelter Management Manual



Pro-Animal Caucus
in the Knesset




Photo credit : NRG

There are approximately 60 municipal pounds and only a small number of nonprofit shelters in Israel, according to the Veterinary Services. They receive little funding from the municipalities or the national government, and there are no objective criteria for which pounds do receive funding to meet their essential needs. With few exceptions, the pounds are severely understaffed, inadequate to house the number and kind of animals kept at these facilities, and sorely in need of renovation and modernization. For both pounds and shelters, municipal or national required minimum standards for housing, feeding, handling, sanitation, disease control, and euthanasia, when necessary, are nonexistent.


Small rusty cages without bedding, insufficient separation of cats and dogs, young and healthy from old or sick, poor sanitation and disease control measures, and inappropriate or inadequate food and feeding regimens are not uncommon. The need to professionalize this field of work by offering regular, ongoing training to municipal vets and workers is critical, as is the need for the Ministry of Interior to provide adequate funding to build modern, adequate facilities. Training and minimum standards are needed at shelters, as well as pounds. These facilities are also chronically underfunded and short staffed.


CHAI sponsored the first conference in Israel on Animal Shelter Management and distributed a manual on the subject in Hebrew and English. Training by experts brought to Israel by CHAI emphasized cost-free or almost cost-free improvements, such as removing dogs before hosing down their cages, for example, and diluting bleach for cleaning to avoid burning animals' eyes.


Photo credit : NRG

Thousands of animals pass through the hands of municipal veterinarians and their workers every year. However, these veterinarians are not chosen for their education, experience, and humane attitudes toward animals. They are political appointees of the Mayor of the city in which they work, and their appointment is typically for life. This works against the animals. The Veterinary Services lacks the authority to fire the municipal vets if they fail to remove animals from their abusers, for example, or if they are cruel to the animals in their care. Furthermore, the official within the Veterinary Services responsible for enforcing the Animal Protection Law has little or no authority over the municipal vets, since those decisions can be overruled by the Agriculture Minister. Some suggest that one official within the Veterinary Services should be given authority over all municipal vets. This official could require vets and their staffs to undergo professional training and meet minimum standards, and he could fire them for failing to provide adequate and appropriate care. Many also believe responsibility for enforcing the Animal Protection Law should be transferred to the Environment Ministry, to provide independence to the official occupying the post.



CHAI and Hakol Chai have organized and funded three major training sessions for municipal and private veterinarians and shelter managers and staff, including the first course on shelter management ever held in Israel: