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.

Cannabidiol (CBD) Working Group

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) has become more and more popular in the treatment of anxiety and psychiatric disorders in human medicine. As a result, more and more dogs’ owners are asking for CBD when they are confronted to behavioral disorders. 

The aim of the working group is to realize a large review of the use of CBD for behavioral purposes in dogs. Indeed, the scientific knowledge about the different products that contain cannabidiol is disparate. Different products with different composition may be found, their effects are not well understood and the law regulations about those products vary from one country to another.

This working group is composed of several active committee members:

  • Dr Stephane Bleuer
  • Dr Sylvia Masson
  • Dr Matthieu Broussois


  1. The aims of the working group are to conduct:
    Scientific review about what is cannabidiol, what is the actual knowledge of its pharmacology and effects in dogs.
  2. Scientific review of the products that contains cannabidiol to make a list and to emphasize the main differences.
  3. Scientific review of the use of products containing cannabidiol on dog’s behavior.
  4. Scientific review of the different law regulations worldwide concerning CBD and THC.


This work will support a position statement of the ESVCE about the use of products that contains cannabidiol, and guidelines for veterinarian and dog’s owners.

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?

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.

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