Director of Behavior, ARC and CARE

Please make sure to attach your resume to complete your application.

Summary:

The ARC (Animal Recovery Center) and CARE (Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment) facilities are dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims of cruelty and neglect admitted through NYPD and the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) and Community Engagement (CE) programs.

Our dedicated team of more than 45 sheltering, medical, and animal behavior professionals work closely with the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Forensics, Legal Advocacy and Investigations, Behavioral Sciences, Shelter Medicine Services, Community Engagement, Placement, and the Adoption Center teams to ensure coordinated response and operations, and holistic, balanced, high quality care for the animals we serve.

The Director will oversee the Canine and Feline Behavior programs and provide leadership to our canine and feline behavior teams consisting of a Behavior Training Manager, a Feline Behavior Manager, 6-7 Behavior Specialists, and 2-3 Behavior Coordinators. The Director is responsible for overseeing the feline behavior program within ARC and the canine behavior program in ARC and CARE.

The Director of Behavior is responsible for a broad range of activities to ensure that the entire behavior team and the ARC and CARE direct care teams providing daily animal handling, runs effectively, group-wide issues are raised and addressed, and the departments have an appropriate level of guidance and support to be high-performing teams. The Director will partner with the Medical Supervisors of ARC and CARE, Medical Directors of the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH), Medical and Behavior Directors of the Adoption Center (AC), and the Vice President of the Behavioral Sciences Team, to troubleshoot problems and find effective solutions to direct workflow, manage population and individual behavior needs and operational needs, to maximize productivity and hold the entire team accountable to act with urgency.

The Director provides ongoing coaching and training to ensure ASPCA policies, upholds the organization’s behavioral competencies, ensures that Fear Free Guidelines are consistently followed, and promotes alignment across departments. In addition, the Director will be responsible for establishing a safe and compassionate environment for our animals by fostering a positive and productive work environment in accordance with our organizational core values. 

The Director leads the ARC and CARE Behavior team in providing safe, high quality behavioral care for animals from intake through discharge. This oversight consists of:

A coordinated, balanced approach among behavior, medical and sheltering to provide holistic care. Routine, frequent assessment of each animal’s behavioral, medical, and legal status to allow for efficient, effective interventions and timely disposition decisions. A well-structured, robust daily enrichment program that incorporates physical and mental exercise, socialization and sensory stimulation. For each animal in need of behavior modification, the development and implementation of a structured treatment plan and data collection.

The Director ensures specialized behavioral services are provided by the ARC and CARE Behavior teams by overseeing the team’s work with animals in AAH, ARC, and CARE, and by developing and implementing standardized shelter behavior protocols in alignment with behavior teams across the organization. The Director partners with teams in ARC, CARE, AAH, Forensic Sciences, Legal Advocacy, AC, Community Engagement (CE), and the Recovery and Rehabilitation Center (R&R Center, once open) to optimize the health and welfare of animals in our care and, whenever possible, to set them up for success in a new home. This position requires direct, hands-on and sometimes lengthy work with behaviorally compromised animals; the information gathered during this work is used to make disposition decisions which can include euthanasia where appropriate.

*Schedule is Monday-Friday (one day a week remote)

Responsibilities:

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Operations and People Management 50%

  • Oversee an evolving and comprehensive behavior program for all dog and cat intakes coming from CE and NYPD and housed within ARC, CARE, AC, and partner hospitals and boarding facilities, both for daily flow of intakes and for large scale response in partnership with AAH/ARC/CARE/AC, CE and NYPD and with the Senior Director of ARC and CARE.
  • Lead the ARC & CARE canine and feline behavior teams, ensuring that team members fully understand their role and responsibilities and providing consistent, high-quality feedback to direct reports.
  • Ensure the ARC and CARE Behavior teams meet or exceed annual performance targets while demonstrating the ASPCA’s Behavioral Competencies.
  • Conduct regular one-on-ones with each direct report and model the Leadership Big 3: set clear direction and expectations, give and receive feedback, and ensure opportunities for development.
  • Conduct timely annual performance reviews (behavioral competency based) for all employees
  • Develop direct reports to be able to make informed decisions, work independently on projects, and achieve quality results.
  • Deliver timely disciplinary action when necessary.
  • Address employee concerns promptly and handle employee relations issues with confidentiality and care. Use active listening to understand employee concerns, encouraging and supporting employees to problem solve and create viable solutions.
  • Maintain adequate staffing levels at all times; assign and/or re-assign appropriate responsibilities, as well as direct work flow in order to maximize productivity and maintain coverage in the event of planned absences, call outs, injuries, increased volume, etc. Ensure continuous coverage for events/team meetings and trainings to ensure staff and animal safety.
  • Ensure safety needs are met; incident reports completely and accurately filled out, submitted to benefits, legal and safety team; readily reporting workers’ compensation claims, benefits,
  • Develop, document and implement simple, smart and effective policies and practices to improve Standard Operating Procedures.  See that staff and volunteers are trained and competent in SOPs.
  • Track team attendance and ensure appropriate disciplinary actions are taken as needed.
  • Create and implement onboarding and training schedules for new hires to the behavior team.
  • Model a standard of continual commitment to improvement in all aspects of care and handling of dogs and cats.
  • Serve as a champion in times of change management and proactively assist the AC and AAH, ARC, and CARE Leadership teams in identifying ways to improve people policies and medical protocols.
  • Instill the guiding principle that everyone can—and should—actively support the animals’ behavioral and mental health in everything they do.
  • Ensure that all team members have received training and mastered the skills to handle in a low stress manner, and that they implement these handling techniques consistently in all their interactions with animals.
  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor.

Shelter Behavior Program Leadership and Strategy: 40%

  • Oversee the creation and implementation of an evolving and comprehensive behavior program for dogs and cats coming from CE and NYPD and housed within ARC, CARE, AC, partner hospitals, and boarding facilities, both for daily flow of intakes and for large-scale response in partnership with AAH/ARC/CARE/Adoption Center, CE and NYPD and with the Senior Director of ARC and CARE.
  • Ensure timely forensic evaluation of animals for safe handling, rehabilitation adoptability and evidentiary purposes, using assessments consistent with the BST forensic evaluation and the ASPCA’s position statement on shelter assessments.
  • Oversee creation, execution, and assignment of enrichment, training, and behavior modification protocols to animals as appropriate, triaging when necessary to reflect highest priority animals in accord with ASPCA’s Treatment Eligibility and Adoptability Guidelines. Monitor and track the implementation and effectiveness of treatment interventions.
  • Ensure a robust playgroup program and team participation. Track remedial dogs to ensure they are grouped to encourage the development of safe social skills and to minimize injurious aggression.
  • Ensure and lead regularly scheduled meetings with ARC/CARE staff and track the behavioral status of animals to ensure that they are receiving the interventions needed to stave off or arrest deterioration and/or improve quality of life and/or transition to a different facility.
  • Ensure that new animals are entered into the Behavior database and that behavior report summaries are updated, and behavior grades are revised as needed. Regularly confirm the team’s accuracy of behavior grades in PetPoint, in Forensic behavior reports and with supporting video footage uploaded and organized in Box for use by Legal Advocacy.
  • Collaborate directly with ARC/CARE/AAH and AC medical teams to provide psychopharmacological support to animals when appropriate.
  • In Partnership with other leaders of ASPCA behavior teams, contribute to the development and documentation of standardized ASPCA behavioral protocols for care, enrichment, rehabilitation, and disposition of cruelty case animals.
  • Share knowledge and learnings with leaders across the organization to inform the evolution of our behavior programs.
  • In conjunction with the Placement teams, refine methods for communicating behavior information and providing behavior support to Placement Partners accepting transferred animals.
  • In partnership with leaders from HLE, LA, Forensics, Medical, Behavior, Sheltering, and Operations participate in outcome decision committee meetings. Provide relevant behavioral information to inform the committee. Use active listening and respectful dialogue to answer questions and help staff understand behavioral conditions that lead to euthanasia decisions.
  • Liaise with NYPD officers and other relevant staff upon intake of NYPD and CE animals to gather behavioral histories and information on the animals’ environment/ living conditions so that this information may be considered in developing safe animal handling guidelines and in gauging each animal’s behavioral outcome.
  • Liaise with CE and assist in providing in-home training consultations to outside clients, as needed.
  • Ensure the ARC and CARE Behavior team provides in-field assessments of animals (locally and out-of-state), as needed.
  • With the BST, lead the expansion of the Feline Behavior Program project and cat housing space at 91st St.

Training & Development 10%

  • Stay current on organization-wide behavior modification protocols and create SOPs and training for staff & volunteers.
  • Keep up-to-date on shelter, animal welfare, and animal behavior research and trends to better serve our unique population
  • Oversee the scheduling and content of regular training of AAH, ARC, and CARE direct care teams in safe, low stress handling; body language; defensive handling; enrichment and recognition of stress. Ensure regular coaching is provided to help staff continually improve skills.
  • Share knowledge and provide trainings to NYPD, CE, HLE, local and national conferences in safe, low stress handling; body language; defensive handling; enrichment and recognition of stress in shelters and in the field.
  • Serve as subject matter expert (SME) and provide expert witness testimony as needed for cases in court.
  • Train the Behavior Specialists in expert witness testimony.
  • Ensure timely and consistent delivery of specialized handling as required for intakes, medical handling and/or procedures.
  • Respond to and manage emergent behavior needs as they arise and communicate revised handling plans and safety measures taken to ensure staff safety.
  • Deploy and manage team deployment schedule to support continued training, development and collaboration with BST and ASPCA shelter facilities. Coordinate scheduling with the Senior Director of ARC and CARE, while ensuring continued team coverage for ARC and CARE.
  • Oversee the supervision and coaching of qualified volunteers, when appropriate, in assisting with behavior modification and enrichment programs and other volunteer opportunities.
  • Manage and continuously evolve and support the Red Rover response plans in partnership with leadership from Facilities, AAH/ARC/CARE and the Adoption Center. Ensure the Behavior team is trained and prepared to respond to panic alarms.

Promotes and ensures the continual and consistent practice of organizational core values:

  • Has Commitment and dedication to improving the lives of animals
  • Demonstrates Ownership and feels responsible for outcomes
  • Believes in Team – that we are stronger together
  • Seeks to Elevate others and reimagine what is possible
  • Focuses on Impact, specifically making change for animals

Education:

  • Specialized education in animal behavior field (animal behavior/cognition, experimental psychology, zoology, animal science).
  • Bachelor’s Degree required, M.Sc. or M.A. preferred.

Knowledge Requirements:

  • Companion animal behavior and animal welfare knowledge, both basic and clinical.
  • Fundamental grasp of learning theory and its applications.
  • Training in project management a plus.
  • Competent in the use of MS Word, Box, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Working knowledge of Filemaker is a plus.

Skills Requirements:

  • Safe and humane animal handling skills, including low stress handling for medical procedures.
  • Sophisticated and effective animal training and behavior modification abilities.
  • Presents information clearly in verbal and written form.
  • Regular and reliable attendance is required.
  • Excellent presentation and teaching skills.
  • Exceptional ability to instruct and coach people.
  • Excellent communication skills with people, enjoy working with people.
  • Excellent ability to provide timely and professional communication and service to internal and external stakeholders
  • Tackles problems willingly and creatively.
  • Ability to innovate and reimagine new ways of working to continuously evolve in the field of Animal Behavior.
  • Plans, organizes and prioritizes work tasks.
  • Regularly evaluates results and iterates to improve processes.
  • Forms genuine, trusting relationships which enhance individual and team performance.
  • Recognizes new opportunities for collaboration.
  • May occasionally have to lift as much as 60 lbs, stand for up to 8 hours, handle large breed, strong dogs with varied behavioral needs, squat, stretch, bend and reach multiple times per day. 

Training Requirements:

  • ABS, IAABC or CPDT certified
  • Fear Free certified or will train
  • Low Stress Handling® University Silver-Level certification is required within six months of hire.
  • y six months after hire, will have completed FEMA Incident Command System courses (100, 200, 700, 800).

Additional Requirements:

  • Weekends and evenings may be required, as well as holidays.
  • Must have flexibility in schedule to accommodate program needs.
  • Deployment locally or nationally once per year
  • Must demonstrate the ability to interact effectively with ASPCA employees, clients and the public.  All duties and responsibilities are subject to change due to specific requirements of ASPCA/NYPD Partnership program needs
  • Must be a self-sufficient, flexible individual who performs well with minimal supervision under stressful conditions. Capable of thriving in a fast-paced, physically demanding environment. Adept at flexibly accepting frequent changes to plans/protocols/priorities.
  • Must be prepared to work closely with behaviorally compromised animals and feel comfortable making euthanasia decisions and in some instances, assisting with the euthanasia of those animals.

Additional Information:

We encourage a candidate who demonstrates outstanding inter-personal communication and the ability to work in a team environment or independently, with a high degree of integrity and accountability. This position welcomes a candidate with a sense of humor that can balance flexibility and enthusiasm and thrives on detail.  This is a full-time position.
 

Qualifications:

See above for qualifications details.

  

Language:

English

Education and Work Experience:

  

Minimum of 2 years experience working in animal shelters, preferably in a behavior program., Minimum of 5 years experience working as a professional animal trainer/behaviorist, handling, evaluating and working directly with behaviorally-challenged dogs and cats (fear, aggression, excessive arousal, etc.).

COVID Statement:
The ASPCA strives to maintain a COVID-free workplace. To that end, being fully vaccinated is a condition of employment for all ASPCA employees, including new hires, except where prohibited by applicable state or local law. The ASPCA makes reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit a person from being vaccinated.

Our EEO Policy:

The ASPCA is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.

Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and certain state or local laws.  A reasonable accommodation is a change in the ASPCA’s standard application process, which will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing undue hardship on the ASPCA.  Please inform the ASPCA’s People Team if you need an accommodation in order to complete any forms or to otherwise participate in the application process.

Individuals seeking employment are considered without regards to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, age, marital or domestic partner status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status,  or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.

ASPCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer (M/F/D/V).

Please don’t forget to attach your resume to complete your application.

About Us:
The ASPCA was founded in 1866 on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment by humans and must be protected under the law. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with more than two million supporters nationwide, the ASPCA is committed to preventing cruelty to dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals throughout the United States.

The ASPCA is headquartered in New York City, where we maintain a full-service animal hospital, spay/neuter clinic, mobile spay/neuter and primary pet care clinics, a rehabilitation center for canine victims of cruelty, kitten nursery, adoption center, and two community veterinary centers.

The ASPCA also operates programs and services that extend nationwide. We assist animals in need through on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources.

At the ASPCA, we are committed to fostering a collaborative and compassionate culture and we welcome all voices to contribute to our lifesaving mission. Our staff represent a vast array of backgrounds and diversity dimensions, bringing with them valuable experiences and perspectives. They join the ASPCA to learn, grow, and continually do their best work on behalf of animals. We are inspired by our staff, partners, and the communities we support across the country who work to improve animal lives. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the ASPCA because it elevates our organizational culture, aligns with our Core Values, and enables us to move further and faster toward the ASPCA’s vision – that all animals live good lives; valued by society, protected by its laws, and free from cruelty, pain and suffering.