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Suggested Components of the Arizona Pet Care Legislation Development (1st Draft)

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Suggested Components of the Arizona Pet Care Legislation Development (1st Draft)

Overview
This paper has been designed to offer suggestions to the task force that has been created to investigate the pet care industry that is currently unregulated in the state of Arizona.

The following has been developed by a coalition of Pet Service Companies that are based in Arizona and have strong track records of delivering quality pet services.

Target Businesses

The pet care industry has businesses that range from Animal Boarding Facilities to Home Based businesses and just about any variation of these two, in-between.  It is important when developing legislation for this industry that the creators of the legislation understand the different categories and broad spectrum of these businesses and their differences as certain standards may need to be developed for one category and not the other.

It is also important to define the businesses/entities that may be excluded from the legislation.  Organizations that would be excluded from this legislation would be 501c Animal Welfare and Rescue Groups.  Organizations that perform these services that are NOT 501c compliant may fall under this legislation.

Broad Definition: Any person or business that receives fees from the general public for boarding an animal.

Pet Service Company Categories

The following represent the various Pet Service Categories that will fall under the new legislation:

1. Commercial Animal Boarding Facilities

2. Home Based Business that board animals

3. Businesses that provide:

a. In-Home pet care (scheduled visits/Live-Ins)

b. Pet Care Homes for animals to be boarded

*NOTE:  Categories 2 and 3 are mostly home based pet care business owners and many are advertised on boarding booking sites like Rover.com.  This is where Green Acres received most of their business.

4. Veterinarians that provide boarding services (non-medical related)

*NOTE: It is imperative that vets that also provide boarding services as a side service to their practice be included and meet the same standards and procedures set forth by all other licensed pet care providers.  The AVMA does not address the specific commercial boarding standards set forth in their regulations.  They can change the AVMA oversight to include these or choose to abide by the new Arizona statutes.

At a minimum, any of the business that fall with-in the above categories must meet these Standards:

Standards

Basic

1. Legal Entity

a. Complete License Application

b. Obtain a license that identifies who they are and denotes:

i. Their Category

ii. Their Occupancy Class (See below)

2. Health & Safety Standards

a. Basic Health & Safety Standards:

i.   Adequate shelter, including proper conditions of sanitation, ventilation and
heating & cooling

ii.  Adequate food and water

iii. Ensure all pets have required vaccinations and that they are current

iv. If the animals are confined in the same structure as their human caretakers

v.  Working smoke detectors must be present and allocated throughout the
facility according to local fire codes

vi. If the animals are enclosed in a detached facility or in a commercial pet care
facility without 24/7 onsite staff, a security alarm system consisting of fire
alarm, temperature control warning and break-in/intrusion warning must be
present.

b. Boarding Space Per Dog

i.   “Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or
her limbs” means having:

ii.  Sufficient indoor space or shelter from the elements for each dog to turn in a
complete circle without any impediment (including a tether);

iii.  Enough indoor space or shelter from the elements for each dog to lie down
and fully extend his or her limbs and stretch freely without touching the side
of an enclosure or another dog;

iv.  Per Dog Space Requirements:

1. At least twelve square feet of indoor floor space per each dog up to twenty-five inches long

2. At least twenty square feet of indoor floor space per each dog between twenty-five and thirty-five inches long

3. At least thirty square feet of indoor floor space per each dog for dogs
thirty-five inches and longer

4. If a customer wished to Crate their dog, a Space Waiver must be signed

(With the length of the dog measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail).

c. Emergency Veterinarian Resources

3. Administrative Standards

a. Every Pet Care provider must keep accurate records (either manually or with
Computer Software) that will provide:

i. A record of all required vaccinations and expiration dates for each animal
boarded:

1. Rabies

2. Bordatella

3. Parvo

4. Distemper

b. Occupancy totals by day/week/month/year

c. Off-Site Customer Information Records

i. A complete set of customer records will be kept off-site for emergency 
customer notification and emergency Veterinarian instructions

4. Standards By Occupancy Classes

Daily occupancy averages are arrived at by taking the total annual boarding days sold / 365 = average daily occupancy:  EX: Villa la PAWS on Shea Blvd in 2013 had a total boarding nights of 9,183/365 = 25.15 average daily occupancy.

The following Occupancy Classes also have the minimum standards for each Class

a. Class 1: Pet Care Providers – Average Daily Occupancy Limit = 5 or less

i. Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements

b. Class 2: Pet Care Providers – Average Daily Occupancy Limit = 10 or less

i.  Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements

ii. Emergency Procedures

1. Emergency Plan

2. First Responder Education & Notification

3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification

4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan

c.  Class 3: Pet Care Providers – Average Occupancy Limit = 20 or less

i.  Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements

ii. Emergency Procedures

1. Emergency Plan

2. First Responder Education & Notification

3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification

4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan

iii. Secured Outside Area

d. Class 4: Pet Care Providers – Average Occupancy Limit = > 20

i.  Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements

ii. Emergency Procedures:

1. Emergency Plan

2. First Responder Education & Notification

3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification

4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan

5. Secured Outside Area

6. Emergency Pet Transportation Plan

7. A “Buddy” Emergency Pet Care facility, this is an agreement with
another pet service company that animals could be transported to if 
their facility becomes uninhabitable

iii. Staff member on-site 24/7 when the daily boarding occupancy is 20 or
greater

Health and Safety Standards Levels Based Upon Daily Occupancy Averages

It is important that the pet care service providers be classified by daily occupancy averages because of level of care that is required during normal operations but more importantly, emergency situations. The higher numbers of animals in the pet care facility will warrant a higher level of standards.

It’s important to reflect here. The reason any of this is being done is because of an emergency situation that wasn’t handled correctly.  The normal operational processes and procedures didn’t come under scrutiny until that emergency situation and their lack of preparedness exposed them.

Emergency Situations

There are two broad types of emergency situations, timed-response and immediate response

Timed- response: The Pet Care provider has 30-60 minutes to respond to the emergency

o Power outage and A/C or Heat is disrupted

o Water Turnoff

o Flooding

These emergency situations give the pet care service provider time to react and engage their emergency procedures once notified by the Alarm Systems in place.

Immediate Response: The Pet Care Provider has to ensure immediate response with staff and First Responders:

o Fire, most fatalities in a fire are caused by smoke inhalation which can occur in the first 5 minutes of a fire

o Crime, Break-in, the intent of the individual(s) can be theft, vandalism or any other crazy reason

o Flooding with electrical exposure

o High Winds with facility damage

o Micro Bursts with facility damage

No Staff Onsite in Off Hours

In an Immediate Response emergency and there is NOT a pet care staff person on premise, first responders, police and/or fireman will follow their process and procedures to eliminate or reduce  the immediate threat.  This is where the number of animals on premise becomes critical.

We also use the term pets, because a number of the pet care facilities also board cats.

Pet Care facilities that have between 5 – 20 pets on premise without a pet care staff member onsite in off hour’s present’s extreme coordination issues. First responders will need to be instructed on emergency procedures and evacuation plans in scheduled meetings/visits prior to any emergency occurring. It is also critical that the pet care provider’s personnel arrival coincides with the first responders.

First Responder Education

o Schedule a visit of Police/Fire Station personnel to the facility and go over the emergency procedures with them:

Dogs:

o Doors to outside secured fenced areas to evacuate dogs

o The place where emergency slip leads are kept

o Where to attach the dogs with their leads outside in a secured area

o If dogs are in kennels, show them how to unlock kennel doors

Cats:

o Cats need to be put into carriers

o Place carriers in a secure outside area

The issue is the outside secured areas; some pet care facilities may not have this amenity.  There will need to be a secure staging area identified where the dogs can be secured with a short lead attached to their collar and hooked to a stabilized structure.

Twenty plus dogs on premise requires a staff member on site 24/7.  The sheer number of pets that need to be cared for and possibly evacuated has to be done immediately by staff on-site even before the first responders arrive.  They can then request assistance from the first responders with their emergency procedures upon arrival.

Additional Safety Features

The following are additional safety features that would enhance the pet care provider’s facility but are not required:

o  Webcams: 24/7 webcams that record as well as display live video via the Internet

o  Sprinkler Systems: Sprinkler Systems throughout the facility equipped with animal safe retardant

o  Security Patrols: Nightly security patrols that check the facility on an hourly basis

Inspections

Annual Inspections are conducted when a pet care provider’s license is up for renewal.

The inspector will examine:

o Sanitary conditions and associated process and procedures

o Space standards for the dogs

o Feeding and water practices

o Record keeping to ensure current:

o Vaccinations

o Customer contact information

o Daily occupancy counts

o Emergency Vet Process

o All specific standards related to their current Occupancy Class

o Examine whether a Occupancy Class reclassification is warranted or confirm current classification

o Perform due diligence on their advertising and validate that they do what they say they do.

Ad Hoc inspections can be done at anytime without prior notification if:

o A customer complaint is filed and it relates to a standard not being met

o A complaint by a neighbor of a pet care facility that relates to a standard or standards not being met

o A complaint by another Pet Care provider who has evidence of standards not being met by a pet care service provider
(the pet care service provider community needs to be accountable and responsible for self-policing their own industry)

o A complaint by a disgruntled employee or former employee who has evidence of standards not being met

o An unannounced inspection, this only has to happen once to have an everlasting effect

If an inspection is a result of a complaint, it must be a formalized complaint where the person or entity making the complaint MUST provide the inspection agency with their contact information.   This can be made anonymous to the pet care provider who being investigated.  Anonymous only complaints should not be acted upon because they have been used in the past as competitive weapons to disrupt and defocus the accused pet care provider.

Initial Inspections

Once the new pet care legislation in enacted, the effort to license, qualify and physically inspect the pet service providers will be a real challenge with the sheer number of these types of businesses.  This is also a time-sensitive effort that needs to be completed within the first 6 months from the start of these laws.

I would recommend along with agency inspectors that the Arizona Pet Service Industry supply volunteers that can go through Inspector training and also perform inspections.  It is important that the Arizona Pet Service Industry begin a self-policing program that protects the consumer by ensuring the Arizona Pet Service providers are using established BEST Practices.

Enforcement

Strong and consistent enforcement will be the key to success with any legislation that is created and give the general public the confidence that their pets will be well taken care of.

Since these standards will be new to the entire pet care industry in Arizona we need to allow time for compliance for some of the standards that could involve construction/modification to existing facilities and significant expenses becoming compliant with other standards. The development of emergency plans and evacuation strategies will also take some time to be created and tested.

The following table lists the Standards and a projected time-frame for them to be compliant:

 

Standards

  1. Legal Entity – Immediate Compliancy
  2. Health & Safety Standards
    1. Basic Health & Safety Standards (except 4) – Immediate Compliancy
    2. Boarding Space Per Dog – Grace Period – 12 Months
  3. Administrative Standards – Immediate Compliancy
  4. Standards By Occupancy Classes
    1. Class 1: Pet Care Providers – Average Daily Occupancy Limit = 5 or less
      1. Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements – Immediate Compliancy
    2. Class 2: Pet Care Providers – Average Daily Occupancy Limit = 10 or less
      1. i.Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements – Immediate Compliancy
      2. ii.Emergency Procedures – Grace Period – 6 Months
        1. Emergency Plan
        2. First Responder Education & Notification
        3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification
        4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan
    3. Class 3: Pet Care Providers – Average Occupancy 
      Limit = 20 or less

      1. Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements – Immediate Compliancy
      2. Emergency Procedures – Grace Period – 6 Months
        1. Emergency Plan
        2. First Responder Education & Notification
        3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification
        4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan
      3. Secured Outside Area – Grace Period – 6 Months
    4. Class 4: Pet Care Providers – Average Occupancy 
      Limit = > 20:

      1. Meet or exceed the Basic Requirements – Immediate Compliancy
      2. Emergency Procedures: – Grace Period – 6 MonthsStaff member on-site 24/7 when the daily boarding occupancy is 20 or greater 
        1. Emergency Plan
        2. First Responder Education & Notification
        3. Pet Care Facility Manager Notification
        4. Evacuation Procedures/Plan
        5. Secured Outside Area
        6. Emergency Pet Transportation Plan
        7. A “Buddy” Emergency Pet Care facility, this is an agreement with another pet service company that animals could be transported to if their facility becomes uninhabitable – Grace Period 6 Months

Emergency procedures and all subsequent categories: 

A seminar will be created that will assist the Pet Care Services Business Owner in developing their own Emergency Plan that will encompass all of the subsequent associated Class requirements.

A coalition of Pet Care Providers can host and present the BEST Practices in the development of these emergency plans.  Tom Murray is currently in the process of enlisting interested qualified pet care service providers to assist in the finalization of these BEST Practices and identifying their availability to conduct these classes.

Conclusion

The members of the Arizona Pet Care Industry stand ready to help and assist in the development of standards for our industry.

Posted in: Arizona Pet Care Legislation

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