ESVCE Working Groups

Working Groups

The ESVCE has several “working groups” which work on certain topics in depth. The outcome of such work can result in a position statement or public advice.

Dogs of Law

Annually many dogs are seized by the authorities of European countries, in line with the legislatory requirements of that country either because they have bitten a person or another animal and/or because they belong to a so-called “dangerous breed” or type.
Depending on the findings of the Courts/Authorities, these dogs may be:
  • Enforced to be only let out on leash whilst muzzled.
  • Enforced to undergo a behaviour-training course.
  • Enforced to be contained whilst at home.
  • Euthanised (killed/destroyed).

The ESVCE has concerns about how these dogs are “seized” (captured), managed whilst in custody, assessed and subsequently controlled and trained. In view of this, the ESVCE is conducting research into how “Dangerous Dogs” are managed and assessed and how this should ideally be carried out. To facilitate this, the ESVCE has set up a working group “Dogs of Law”.

This working group is composed of several active committee members and advisors.
  • Dr Valerie Jonckheer-Sheehy (Chair)
  • Dr Isabel Santos (Secretary)
  • Dr João Pedro Menteiro (Member)
  • Dr Kendal Shepherd (Advisor)
  • Dr Karen Overall (Advisor)
  • Dr Noel Sweeney (Advisor)
Current group goals are to:
  • Create an inventory of the laws in relation to the capture, management whilst seized,   assessment, holding and identification of “Dogs of Law” in all EU countries and the United Kingdom (UK).
  • To ascertain in which EU countries breed-specific legislation is in place, as that in the UK, and if so, upon which breeds is it imposed?

This working group is composed of 3 members and an advisor.

  • Dr Valerie Jonckheer-Sheehy (Chair)
  • Dr Isabel Santos (Secretary)
  • Dr Kendal Shepherd (Advisor)
  • Dr Karen Overall (Advisor)
  • Dr Noel Sweeney (Advisor)
  • Dr Claire Corridan (Advisor)

Shelter Group Program

  • The first aim of this working group is the finalization of a flyer destined to future owners of shelter dogs


  • Next steps for the shelter group:


  1. Assessment of shelters P&P’s in Europe with the aim of a paper in a peer-review journal. (% of euthanasia, or no-kill policy, % rehoming, % of re-relinquishment, kind of breeds relinquished, duration before adoption, dog’s temperament assessment, etc…), building further upon available literature¹
  2. Define an ethical charter for European Shelters (% of euthanasia, number of dogs/ cage, number of cats/ Cage, free outdoors access, off-leash walks, on leash walks, training methods, “enrichment”, employee training, etc…)
  3. ESVCE can propose a label for European animal shelters after examination of their applications.
  4. ESVCE shelter group should be a preferred contact for the European commission for animal welfare.



¹Haverbeke, A., Pluijmakers, J., Diederich, C., 2015. Behavioral evaluations of shelter dogs: Literature review, perspectives, and follow-up within the European member states’ legislation with emphasis on the Belgian situation. Clinical Research Article. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 10 (1): 5-11.

This working group is composed of 9 members.

Dr. Emmanuelle Titeux, chai

Dr. Anouck Haverbek

Dr. Géraldine Fér

Dr. Silvana Normand

Dr. Asahi Og

Dr. Claire Corridan

Dr. Leij van der ruth

Joana Pereira

Stefanie Grath