Dr. Valerie J. Chalcraft is an applied animal behaviorist with a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Experimental Psychology. Her interest in animal welfare and behavior started when she was an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley.

In graduate school at the University of Nevada at Reno, she studied how an enriched environment impacted the behavioral and linguistic development of captive chimpanzees. She designed a comprehensive Ph.D. exam on animal welfare, focusing mostly on primates in laboratory settings. She created and implemented enrichment protocols at the Gorilla Foundation in California, Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary in Nevada, the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Washington, Walk on the Wild Side in Illinois, and Primarily Primates in Texas.

Dr. Chalcraft’s background in companion animal behavior started in New York City at the Animal Behavior Center of New York and the Queens Community Animal Shelter. She has served as Director of the Behavior Helpline at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City and observed many hours of behavior consultations at the ASPCA.

Since 2005 in Chicago, Dr. Chalcraft has consulted in clients’ homes on dog and cat behavior problems with her own business, Applied Animal Behavior, as well as with AnimalSense. At the present time, she conducts cat consultations in the homes of clients around Chicagoland and can consult on the phone for long-distance cases. Dr. Chalcraft has gained extensive experience with feral cat socialization and adoption through TNR (trap-neuter-return) efforts.

Most recently, Dr. Chalcraft has consulted on the welfare of a wide variety of species in the laboratories of pharmaceutical, chemical, and medical device companies who conduct animal testing for regulatory requirements.

Dr. Chalcraft has lectured on the behaviors of dogs, cats, chimpanzees, and elephants. She is currently a professor of feline behavior at the Animal Behavior Institute.