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Therapy Animals

The ASPCA supports the use of humanely trained and professionally evaluated domestic animals to participate with their guardians/handlers in animal-assisted therapy applications and in social visits to hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities. The use of unadopted shelter animals in visitation programs is not supported because of the many stressors of the therapeutic situation (shelter mascots are an exception to this policy because shelter staff tend to be very familiar with them and will know if/when they are suited to therapy work). When animals reside full-time in health-related facilities, the ASPCA advocates the designation of a staff position with the responsibility for ensuring the well-being of the resident animal(s). The ASPCA also supports the use of resident equines in accredited therapeutic riding facilities. The ASPCA supports the prerequisites and training/evaluation programs of Pet Partners.