Senior Manager, Shelter Behavior Science

Please make sure to attach both a resume and cover letter to complete your application.


As part of the Policy, Response & Engagement (PRE) division, the Behavioral Sciences Team (BST) supports behavior programs across the ASPCA to safeguard the behavioral health of our animals. The BST’s work focuses on:

  • Promoting a holistic approach to the care of ASPCA animals that balances physical and mental wellbeing. We ensure organization-wide alignment of behavior best practices, foundational tools and behavioral data management.
  • Advancing science-based processes and protocols in shelter behavior, including enrichment, socialization and behavior modification, to improve quality of life of sheltered animals, reduce euthanasia of animals with treatable behavior problems and expedite pathway planning decisions for animals unsuitable for rehabilitation.
  • Establishing psychological harm as legally cognizable animal cruelty so that animals suffering emotional trauma receive the same protections under the law as animals suffering physical harm.
  • Supporting ASPCA’s cruelty and disaster operations through forensic behavior documentation, consultation, research and subject matter expert testimony. We work closely with Legal Advocacy & Investigations, National Field Response, Forensic Science and Rehabilitation Services by deploying for animal removals, providing low stress handling, conducting forensic behavior evaluations and supporting shelter behavior programs at temporary field shelters.

The Senior Manager, Shelter Behavior Science partners with ASPCA behavior teams to ensure the implementation of behavior best practices at his or her assigned ASPCA facilities and ASPCA emergency shelters. The Senior Manager educates, consults, coaches, develops and shares materials designed to advance the ASPCA’s mission to improve animal behavioral health and strengthen shelter behavior programs.

This is a remote-based position that can be performed from a home office anywhere in the country. Candidates must be willing to adjust working hours according to needs in the Eastern time zone. Up to 30% travel is required.

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. The ASPCA makes reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit a person from being vaccinated. 


Responsibilities include and are not limited to:

Behavior Program Partnership (60%)

  • Partner with ASPCA behavior teams to provide shelter behavior expertise, including advising and coaching on behavior assessment, enrichment, low stress and defensive handling, behavior treatment inclusion criteria and behavior protocols, quality of life monitoring and troubleshooting, pathway planning and follow-up support for all ASPCA behavior programs.
  • Regularly travel to ASPCA facilities across the organization to work directly with ASPCA behavior teams and monitor behavior practices, identify program needs and maintain familiarity with program function, particularly within the model of holistic care.
  • Participate in regular meetings with behavior programs to nourish cross-program and cross-departmental relationships.
  • Conduct staff and volunteer training in behavior best practices.
  • Assist with developing behavior position job descriptions, recruiting and training new behavior staff.
  • Consult on individual behavior cases (assessment, treatment and pathway planning) as requested.
  • Facilitate resource sharing across behavior teams to ensure all ASPCA animals have equal access to opportunities for assessment, treatment and placement.
  • Contribute to the expansion of behavior board-and-train options to serve ASPCA animals in need of assessment or rehabilitation outside of the shelter environment.
  • Contribute to the development of organization-wide behavior processes and protocols.
  • Maintain current knowledge of the science of shelter behavior best practices.
  • Help ASPCA behavior programs to develop and evaluate program goals.
  • Support the use of the Behavior Database and contribute to the database evolution by representing the needs of individual behavior programs. Train staff on efficient and thorough data collection and entry in the Behavior Database to allow for treatment program consistency, progress monitoring and data-mining for research projects. Monitor database use to ensure ongoing accuracy.
  • When behavior research is conducted within ASPCA behavior facilities, serve as coordinator between behavior program and research teams.

Forensic Behavior & Field Support (30%)

  • Provide on-scene behavioral trauma documentation and humane handling services during animal confiscation/removal, intake and medical exams for ASPCA cruelty cases and disaster response, as needed.
  • Conduct forensic behavior evaluations for populations associated with NYPD and national cruelty and neglect cases, including, but not limited to, fighting dogs, puppy mill dogs and animals from hoarding situations and disaster relief. This may, on occasion, also include requests from outside agencies.
  • Prepare forensic behavior reports; label and catalogue evaluation video footage.
  • Deploy to emergency shelters to provide behavior services, including enrichment, training, socialization and rehabilitation, as per ASPCA protocols. When needed, serve as program lead.
  • Collect and catalog evidentiary materials for Legal Advocacy & Investigations when requested.
  • Accept leadership, managerial and ICS roles as appropriate during deployments.

Training and Development (8%)

  • Attend professional development opportunities to assess applicability to ASPCA behavior program needs.
  • Contribute to the organization’s Behavior Strategy Plan to drive the direction of ASPCA research in shelter and forensic animal behavior.
  • Research, support and develop programs, presentations, audio-visual content, website content, and written materials on shelter behavior best practices.
  • Deliver lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, and other educational training and materials on shelter behavior best practices at various venues.
  • Provide expertise and support for ASPCA’s strategic behavior research program.

General Organizational Support (2%)

  • Provide behavior content for media as requested. Participate in media interviews on companion animal behavior and shelter behavior topics.
  • Answer miscellaneous email inquiries about animal behavior as needed.
  • Direct or participate in other projects on an as-needed basis.

Exemplifies the ASPCA’s 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, Training and Certifications:

  • Specialized training in animal behavior field (animal behavior/cognition, experimental psychology, zoology, animal science) required; M.Sc. or M.A. a plus.
  • Animal Behavior Society CAAB or ACAAB preferred, or eligibility to earn such certification within 2 years. IAABC certification accepted. CPDT-KA certification considered.
  • Disaster Sheltering and FEMA Incident Command System courses (100, 200, 700, 800) required within 30 days of hire.
  • Fear Free (Shelter) certification required. Low Stress Handling certification required or obtained within 12 months of hire.


  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience working as a professional animal trainer/behavior specialist, handling, evaluating and working directly with behaviorally-challenged dogs and cats (fear, aggression, excessive arousal, etc.).
  • Minimum of 2 years’ experience working or volunteering in animal shelters, preferably with a behavior program.
  • Experience working with additional domesticated species highly preferred.
  • Experience in disaster/emergency sheltering a plus.

Schedule, Travel and Driving Requirements

  • The willingness and ability to travel frequently, on average 10-12 days/month, is an absolute requirement.
  • Available to be on-call for last-minute deployments.
  • Must provide a valid driver’s license upon hire and pass a motor vehicle history check demonstrating safe driving history.
  • Able and willing to work flexible hours, long days, and weekends, as required (primarily during travel).
  • Willingness to maintain a work schedule that aligns with programs in the eastern time zone (M-F, 9-5 plus additional working hours as needed)


Thorough companion animal behavior and animal welfare knowledge, including a strong foundation in shelter behavior research.; Able to understand and interpret animal behavior scientific literature. Can convey scientific findings to all audiences.; Proficient defensive handling skills with both cats and dogs.; Practiced low-stress animal handling and restraint skills, including for euthanasia.; Able to work closely with behaviorally compromised animals and be prepared to make decisions about euthanasia, including behavior euthanasia.; Excellent written and oral communication skills; able to communicate clearly, effectively, sensitively and professionally, with staff at all levels.; Adept at teaching, coaching and mentoring.; Able to connect day-to-day activities to the broader goals of the ASPCA.; Basic computer skills required, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote; familiarity with Shelter Manager or other shelter software systems and Filemaker a plus.; Participate in professional development to ensure continued improvement of knowledge and skills.; Demonstrates high professional standards, including being guided by science rather than personal experience and opinion. Adept critical thinker.; Able to quickly, calmly, and efficiently adjust to changes in direction and re-prioritize work.; Displays care and concern for the safety and well-being of self, animals and others, especially during stressful situations.; Must be a self-guided, creative and flexible individual who performs well with minimal supervision. Thrives in a fast-paced, demanding environment; willingly accepts changes to plans, protocols and priorities.; Strong organizational skills and a high level of attention to detail. Meticulous with data collection and record keeping.; Proficient communication skills, capable of building and maintaining positive and productive relationships with colleagues.; Excellent time management skills with the ability to prioritize multiple tasks and respond to shifting priorities.; Able to effectively manage or contribute to multiple high-priority projects.; Willing to take ownership of tasks or projects.; Willing to learn from mistakes; enjoys problem solving and identifying ways to improve.; Willing to accept responsibility for sustaining a healthy work-life balance.; Capable of standing for 8 or more hours and bending, crouching, kneeling and moving freely to perform responsibilities that include handling potentially dangerous animals in stressful conditions.; Willing to occasionally work in challenging conditions, including harsh temperatures or unsanitary environments. Able to wear appropriate protective gear, including personal protective equipment and protective masks.



English (Required)

Education and Work Experience:

No Degree


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 and cover letter 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.