Home > Dog Safety > Animal Shelter Safety

Animal Shelter Safety

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 5 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Animal Shelter Safety

Making the decision to adopt a pet from an animal shelter or to offer your services as a volunteer is perhaps one of the most rewarding things you could decide to do. However, it is worthwhile keeping some safety tips in mind to ensure that your time at the shelter is an enjoyable one.

Visitors

  • Always report to Reception first - do not go wandering around the shelter unauthorised. There may be areas which contain animals in quarantine and you may inadvertently transfer infection throughout the shelter. Certain animals may be contained while they are being assessed for behavioural problems and they may react aggressively to a stranger's presence. There may also be hazardous chemicals or equipment which could be a danger to someone not trained to handle them.

  • Leave your own pets at home - the noisy and often stressful environment at most animal shelters will be disturbing to your existing pets and may cause them to misbehave. There is also the risk of infection again as you have no idea what the animals arriving at the shelter may be carrying in terms of disease.
    * In certain instances, you may be requested to bring your existing dog (eg, if you are rehoming another dog and it is important to check that they can get along) - in this case, follow the shelter's instructions carefully.

  • Always wash your hands before visiting and after leaving the shelter. Also wash your hands if you are visiting different areas of the shelter and there may be a risk of cross-infection. Cats, for example, especially kittens, are very susceptible to "cat flu" which can be easily spread through third-person contact.

  • Always ask for staff advice before reaching through a cage to touch an animal. The strange and stressful environment of the shelter can cause even the most gentle-natured dog or cat to lash out in fear and a hand coming through the bars can be very threatening to a frightened animal. The restrictive space also means that you cannot withdraw your hand quickly enough if the animal strikes.

  • Do not open any cage or run doors unless authorised to do so by staff - an escaped animal could cause havoc in a shelter.

  • Do not enter any cage or run unless authorised by staff - the animals could feel threatened and attack you.

  • Find out all you can from the staff about an animal's background before "meeting" an animal - for example, a cat may dislike being touched on a certain part of its body or a dog may be particularly protective when it has certain food items or toys.

  • Move slowly and gently when handling small animals such as rabbits and other rodents - sudden, quick movements can frighten them into kicking, biting or clawing to escape.

Volunteers

  • If you are unsure, ask! Don't be embarrassed - the supervising staff would prefer your questions to any potential mishap. This can save a lot of mistakes, accidents and possible injuries.

  • Make sure you are given a tour and briefing of health and safety procedures before you commence your duties. Familiarise yourself with the protocol with regards to animal attacks, animal escapes, accidents with equipment and any other potential hazards.

  • Ensure that you have the training, supervision and guidance needed to enable you to work safely and with confidence.

  • Make sure you report any fault in equipment, not matter how minor, and also any accidents or "near miss" situations you might have had. Most shelters will have an accident book for this purpose. Many also ask that you report any injuries or wounds from any animal.

  • Make sure you wear personal protective equipment if the situation requires it - such as gloves, eye protection and ear defenders.

  • Follow the safety rules for interacting with animals - for example, avoid staring dogs in the eyes or looming over them; do not approach them too quickly and immediately try to grab or handle them around the neck and face; always move slowly, talking in a calm, reassuring manner.

Keeping safe is often just about using common sense and following the rules. However irritating or exaggerated the precautions may seem, they are there for a reason and it pays to follow them.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Can you please help me.A Pit Bull came to our home and we can not keep her but I could not see her starve.We are feeding her and giving her shelter until I can find another shelter for her.She is overly friendly and likes everyone. We live on a fixed income and I can not afford to keep her.Can someone please help me or give me some idea where I can take her.I will not take her to a kill shelter.She is very well behaved.She does not bark or cause any problems, but like I say I can not keep her.Please someone help me.
Judy - 5-Jan-13 @ 9:31 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • SaferPets
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Cami - Your Question:I am rent a room and I am livibg with my landlady she got a dog.but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to…
    13 November 2017
  • Cami
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I am rent a room and i am livibg with my landlady she got a dog ..but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes…
    11 November 2017
  • saxonheidi
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Harleydog.. contact the police and don't take no for an answer...The other person did not have control of their dog and that is against the…
    5 November 2017
  • Harleydog
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Morning my dog was attacked yesterday by a off leash dog, mine was on lead. Resulting in my dog needing stitches , were do I stand with the new…
    1 November 2017
  • Junet55
    Re: Introducing a Puppy to Other Dogs
    Hi I'm getting a new puppy, can she go into my boyfriend's house (he has an unvaccinated dog) if I don't allow physical…
    29 September 2017
  • Gill.
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    @Karen - dog rescue centres do re-home dogs with the elderly and a dog that needed minimum exercise would be required, or…
    26 September 2017
  • Karen
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    My mother in law is 86 and has just had to have her alsatian put to sleep after being her companion for 15 years she is…
    25 September 2017
  • Vetnurse90
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    @Dionne - You can clean the wound with a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Only if you notice changes…
    15 September 2017
  • Dionne
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    Hi, my collie was on her walk and ran over some barbwire witch seems to have cut her around her nipple it was only…
    12 September 2017
  • MinesaPug
    Re: Treating Poisoning
    @Kbentley - I hope so. It would depend on how many one ate. At least they are in good hands and the vets are the right people to deal with this…
    8 September 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.