Emily Weiss, Ph.D, CAAB
Senior Director
Shelter Research & Development, ASPCA

Dr. Emily Weiss, a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist is the Senior Director of Research and Development for the ASPCA.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Dr. Weiss has focused her professional and personal life on improving welfare for animals. Dr. Weiss’ M. S. and Ph. D. work focused on the selection of service dogs from shelters. Her work then branched off in two directions – the welfare of animals in zoos, and shelter programs.

For more than seven years, Dr. Weiss was the Curator of Behavior and Research at the Sedgwick County Zoo. There she developed enrichment and training programs for many different species—from lions and Komodo dragons, to African hunting dogs and giant cassowary birds. She developed training programs to improve husbandry and decrease stress for many zoo animals.

During this time, Dr. Weiss also continued to develop assessment tools for shelter animals, first developing the SAFER test, a behavior assessment used by shelters throughout the country, and then developing Meet Your Match™ Canine-ality™ and Puppy-ality™, now an ASPCA program.

She is a section editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. She has traveled across North America lecturing on various areas of applied animal behavior. In her position at the ASPCA she also acts as a data consultant for ASPCA Partner Communities.

Recently, Dr. Weiss’ work with the ASPCA has focused on the development and training of Feline- ality™, the first research-based adoption program for cats in shelters. Feline-ality™ has proven to be an effective tool to decrease euthanasia, increase adoptions and decrease returns of cats in shelters. Dr. Weiss also works on developing enrichment and behavior modification programs for animals in shelters, as well as a focus on companion horses.