Temporary Accommodation – Why we should be asking questions!!
We often get calls from people wondering what questions they should ask prior to putting their pets into daycare, kennels and catteries. Understandably so!
As New Zealanders we act like we are afraid to ask in case they are offended or we hurt their feelings by doubting their ability.
BUT many of us will remember the jack russell that was left unattended with a large dog in
Churton Park in August 2013.
The Wellington couple received a call informing them that Macs had been injured, he had been left with a much larger dog and suffered a prolonged attack requiring multiple stitches and the possibility of permanent nerve damage to his back legs.
In January of this year a Labrador was killed by dogs in a kennel in Rotorua. The dog had been left for 45 minutes with multiple strange dogs and no supervision.
A Kennel in Auckland also had a situation where a dog died whilst unattended. Details are a bit scarce on this but we are trying to find more information. The kennel is also known to have had two dogs escape by the owner being knocked down by the dogs when she opened the gate, but there should always be more than one gate between the dogs and freedom.
In early 2011; three dogs all died at the same kennels just outside of Christchurch, two received autopsies and hyperthermia was considered the most likely reason for their deaths. The third was quickly cremated by the kennels with out the owners permission preventing an autopsy.
This would never have happened if the owners and operators of the facility had the relevant knowledge and training. It is not enough to just love animals; you need to recognise behaviour and be able to prevent incidents before they occur. We all love our pets; which is why we put them into the care of professionals. But what we NEED to do is check that they ARE professionals, with the correct training and qualifications”.
Thankfully a new code of welfare is being developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which will cover the Temporary Housing of Companion Animals. It is anticipated that this code will be issued by the Minister for Primary Industries during 2015. This is a much needed step in the right direction where we can ensure that the people we are leaving our pets with are qualified and can take the right action in an emergency.
The code of welfare will cover the responsibilities of owners and persons in charge of animals in temporary housing facilities and will include sections on Competency and Animal Handling, Housing and Facility Management, Food and Water, Health, Providing for Behavioural Needs and more.
Who does the new code apply too?
It applies to all persons responsible for the welfare of animals in a temporary housing
facility for companion animals including –
- Boarding establishments – catteries, kennels, daycare, homestays
- Animal welfare centres
- Training establishments
- Quarantine/isolation facilities
- Pet shops
- Dog walkers
When you are putting your pets in to daycare, kennels, catteries. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. You have the right to know that they are going to be looking after your animals correctly.
Here are a few questions that you could ask:
How many animals do you take?
- What are your requirements regarding vaccinations?
- What are your qualifications? relevant to the facility–
- Do you do assessments?
- Do you socialise the animals?
- Are they monitored during socialisation?
- How many staff do you have?
- What is the ratio of staff to animals?
- Do your staff have behaviour training?
- Do you have a first aid kit and are your staff trained to recognise what is required or if a vet is needed?
- Do you perform daily health checks.
- Who is your veterinarian?
And remember if they won’t let you look around the facility
DON’T use them!!
When you are looking around check that they have the following:
- Sufficient space to socialise, rest, sleep, stand, stretch and move freely as is appropriate for the species
- Sufficient management when animals are socialised or exercised communally to avoid aggressive interaction
- An area to sleep and exercise; the sleeping area must have clean, dry bedding appropriate for the species
- Enrichment – climbing frames and scratching posts for cats, toys and adequate opportunity for exercise for dog
- Access to clean and plentiful drinking water
- Cleaned appropriately
- Look at the temperament and condition of the animal in their current care
- Adequate ventilation
Remember you have worked hard for your holidays and you deserve and should be able to go on holiday and relax knowing that your pets are being looked after by professionals.
So ask away, get all the information you need and ensure both you and your pets are happy and safe.
Check out our Qualified Companies section on our Webpage to see who has PET First Aid and Canine Body Language certificates.