Animal Protection work can be incredibly dangerous both from mental health and physical safety perspectives. Compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and suicide are real risks of taking on this noble profession. On top of the mental challenges, there lies a potential for physical danger in handling animals and for those confronting the public on animal welfare concerns, especially when removal of an animal is necessary.

Violence does not occur in a vacuum and animal abusers can be hostile and assaultive when interfacing with law enforcement. Despite the scarce nature of resources in the not-for-profit world, it is crucial that employers are cognizant of of the risks posed to their enforcement staff and proactive in managing that risk through training, personal protective equipment and policy and procedure. Calgary Humane Society has learned valuable lessons from some close calls and a local tragedy culminating in a fatality inquiry, and has implemented measures to mitigate threats to mental health and physical wellbeing.

Educational Topic