NSW Animal Welfare Code of Practice No 9 - Security dogs

Preface

This code is designed for everyone involved in the business of providing and managing security dogs used to protect premises, goods or persons. By adhering to the code, people involved in this industry are demonstrating to the general community their concern for the welfare of the animals in their care.

Animal welfare can be thought of as the way an animal's health and well-being are affected by its interaction with its physical and social environments. Since humans can alter or control an animal's environment, animal welfare means that people have duties and responsibilities towards animals. The greater the level of interference with, or control of, an animal's environment, the greater our responsibilities.

The code is neither a complete manual on animal husbandry, nor a static document. It may be revised to take account of advances in the understanding of animal physiology and behaviour, technological changes, changing industry standards, and the community's attitudes and expectations about the welfare of animals.

Compliance with the code does not remove the need to abide by the requirements of any other laws and regulations, such as local government or National Parks and Wildlife Service legislation.

The code has been prepared in consultation with professional dog trainers representing a number of those involved in the security dog industry, and is endorsed by the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council

1. Introduction

1.1    This Code sets standards for the care and management of security dogs.

1.2    It applies to the welfare of security dogs in security dog establishments and at guarded premises.

1.3 Definitions

1.3.1    'Security Dogs' are dogs used to protect:

  • premises
  • a person or persons guarding premises of goods.

1.3.2    'Security dog establishments' includes:

  • any business which is conducted for the purpose of providing or training security dogs
  • premises which are used for the accommodation of more than three guard dogs aged over four months.

1.3.3     'Guarded premises' include any place where a dog is used to protect:

  • premises
  • goods kept on premises
  • a person or persons guarding premises or goods; except where the premises belong to or are occupied by the owner of the dog and are the place where the owner lives.

1.3.4    'Kennel' is an enclosure used to house and shelter one or more dogs.

2. Responsibilities of the manager

2.1    The Manager of a security dog establishment is responsible both at the security dog establishment and at guarded premises for:

(a)    provision of accommodation and equipment which suits the physical and behavioural requirements of the dogs held

(b)    the protection of dogs from people, other animals or adverse environmental conditions

(c)    provision of sufficient space for dogs to stand, move around freely, stretch fully and rest

(d)    provision of sufficient quantities of appropriate feed and water to maintain good health

(e)    protection of dogs as far as possible from disease, distress and injury

(f)    provision of prompt veterinary or other appropriate treatment in cases of illness or injury

(g)    maintenance of hygiene of the security dog establishment and the kennel and exercise areas of guarded premises

(h)    maintenance of the health of the dogs

(i)    supervision of regular exercise, daily feeding, watering and inspection of dogs to ensure their well-being

(j)    supervision of all staff

(k)    ensuring that the requirements set out in these guidelines are met at guarded premises to provide for :

  • the welfare of dogs held at the premises
  • the control of security dogs
  • the display of appropriate warning signs

(l)    provision for the manager or his nominee to be contactable outside business hours

(m)  collation and maintenance of relevant records.

3. Kenneling at security dog establishments

3.1 Location

3.1.1    Security dogs establishments should be located away from sources of noise or pollution that could cause injury or stress to dogs.

3.1.2    Security dog establishments must have an adequate water supply.

3.2 Construction

3.2.1    Enclosures must be designed and maintained to avoid injury, disease, theft, escape or interference by unauthorised persons.

3.2.2    Where dog kennels are constructed outdoors they must protect dogs from rain and wind and be adequately shaded.

3.2.3    Outdoor kennels must have a fully enclosed section to provide a sheltered sleeping area.

3.2.4    Where kennels are constructed indoors, temperature, humidity and ventilation must be considered.

3.2.5    Kennels may be separated by either solid partitions, which help reduce noise, or by galvanised mesh or chain wire dividers. Advice should be sought on suitable construction materials for reducing noise and fighting injuries between kennels.

3.2.6    The internal surfaces of the external walls of kennels should be constructed of impervious, solid, washable materials. Wall/floor junctions should be curved to facilitate cleaning and disinfection.

3.2.7    Floors of kennels should be made of an impervious material to assist cleaning and drainage. Sealed concrete or brick is ideal. Grassed or landscaped sections may form part of large outdoor runs but must be adequately maintained and not allowed to deteriorate into bare earth, which is unacceptable.

3.3 Size

3.3.1    Each dog should be housed in a kennel which should be at least 3.7 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.8 metres high.

3.3.2    Where dogs are housed in compatible pairs, the kennel should be at least 7.4 metres long, 3.6 metres wide and 1.8 metres high.

3.4 Drainage

3.4.1    Kennel floors should be sloped to enable wastes and water to run off.

3.4.2    A collection drain should be provided and fitted with fine mesh baskets to trap hair and waste. The baskets should be cleaned daily.

3.5 Temperature

Dogs must be protected from extremes of temperature.

3.6 Noise

Noise from barking should be reduced by one or more of the following methods:

  • siting kennels so that they do not face each other
  • limiting external stimulation, eg. by partitioning between kennels or with blinds
  • feeding dogs in the late afternoon of early evening
  • turning off lights after feeding.

3.7 Lighting

3.7.1    Lighting must be as close as possible, in duration and intensity, to natural conditions.

3.7.2    Sunlight is the preferred means of lighting, provided shaded areas are available.

3.7.3    Artificial light should be provided, where needed, to allow kennels to be thoroughly cleaned and dogs checked.

3.8 Ventilation

Ventilation should be adequate to keep kennels free of dampness, and noxious odours, without draughts.

3.9 Bedding

3.9.1    All kennels must be provided with a raised sleeping area.

3.9.2    Wooden sleeping boards or trampoline-style beds must be provided.

3.9.3    Any bedding provided for dogs must be changed frequently and kept clean and dry.

3.10 Security

3.10.1    Kennel buildings must be securely lockable.

3.10.2    Each individual kennel must be fitted with a secure closing device that cannot be opened by the dogs held.

3.10.3    Any security methods used must allow for ready access to dogs and ready exit of staff and dogs from the premises in the event of an emergency.

3.10.4    A security barrier at least 2 metres high must be constructed to prevent escape of animals or unauthorised entry. The kennel compound wall may form part of the security barrier.

3.10.5 The security barrier must be fitted with at least one self-closing lockable gate.

3.11 Warning Signs

3.11.1    A notice containing a warning that a security dog is present must be clearly exhibited at each entrance to the security dog kennels.

3.11.2    The notice should be at least 0.5 square metres in area and should include:

  • a large drawing of the outline or silhouette of the head and shoulders of a German shepherd dog
  • the words "BEWARE SECURITY DOGS" in large lettering
  • the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the kennels.

4. Facilities at security dog establishments

4.1    Fire fighting equipment and written evacuation procedures must be available.

4.2    Suitable facilities for bathing, drying and grooming dogs must be available and must be hygienically maintained.

5. Kenneling at guard dog premises

5.1 Conditions

Kenneling must be provided at guarded premises except where a security dog is on the premises for less than six hours and/or is accompanied by a handler.

5.2 Location

5.2.1    Kennels should be located away from sources of noise or pollution that could cause injury or stress to dogs.

5.2.2    Kennels must be sited in areas that protect from excessive damp, heat and drought.

5.2.3    Kennels should be sited with access to running tap water of adequate pressure to facilitate cleaning.

5.3 Construction

5.3.1    Kennels must be designed and maintained to avoid injury, disease, theft, escape or interference by unauthorised persons.

5.3.2    Where dog kennels are constructed outdoors they must protect dogs from rain and wind and be adequately shaded.

5.3.3    Outdoor kennels must have a fully enclosed section to provide a sheltered sleeping area.

5.3.4    The enclosed area must be large enough to accommodate one or two dogs as appropriate.

5.3.5    Where kennels are constructed indoors, temperature, humidity and ventilation must be considered.

5.3.6    The internal surfaces of the external walls of kennels should be constructed of impervious, solid, washable materials. Wall/floor junctions should be curved to facilitate cleaning and disinfection.

5.3.7    Floors of kennels should be made of an imperious material to assist cleaning and drainage. Sealed concrete is ideal. Wood, brick, unsealed cement block, dirt or grass floors are not acceptable.

5.3.8    The enclosure design must allow for easy observation of dogs while kenneled without the need to open the enclosure.

5.3.9    Food and water containers should be preferably non-chewable and non-spillable.

5.4 Size

5.4.1    Each dog should have access to a kennel which should be at least 3.7 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.8 metres high.

5.4.2    Where dogs are housed in compatible pairs, the kennels should be at least 7.4 metres long, 3.6 metres wide and 1.8 metres high.

5.5 Drainage

Kennel floors should be sloped to enable wastes and water to run off. A collection drain should be provided.

5.6 Temperature

5.6.1    Dogs must be protected from extremes of temperature.

5.6.2    Kennels must be adequately insulated to provide protection against excessive heat and cold. Metal kennels are not acceptable unless adequate insulation and shade over the kennel are provided.

5.7 Lighting

5.7.1    Lighting must be as close as possible, in duration and intensity, to natural conditions.

5.7.2    Sunlight is the preferred means of lighting, provided shaded areas are available

5.7.3    Artificial light should be provided, where needed, to allow kennels to be thoroughly cleaned and dogs checked.

5.7.4    Where dogs are kenneled during the day, they must have access to natural lighting within the enclosure at all times. This can be achieved by such designs as:

  • windows of adequate size on at least two sides of the kennel
  • a partially open-sided kennel
  • an open run around or adjoining the kennel.

5.8 Ventilation

Ventilation should be adequate to keep kennels free of dampness, noxious odours and draughts.

5.9 Bedding

5.9.1    All kennels must be provided with a raised sleeping area.

5.9.2    Wooden sleeping boards or trampoline style beds must be provided.

5.9.3    Any bedding provided for dogs must be changed frequently and kept clean and dry.

5.9.4    When dogs are housed in pairs, raised sleeping areas and enclosed areas must be large enough to accommodate two dogs.

5.10 Security

5.10.1 Security dogs must be kept under adequate control. Methods of control are:

  • the security dog is secured or enclosed so that it cannot escape from the premises, or
  • the security dog is accompanied by and under the control of a person who is on the premises.

5.10.2    Each kennel must be fitted with a secure closing device that cannot be opened by the dogs held.

5.10.3    Any security methods used must allow for ready access to dogs and ready exit of dogs from the premises in the event of an emergency.

5.10.4    A notice containing a warning that a security dog is present must be clearly displayed at each entrance to the premises or, where the premises are not enclosed, in a prominent location.

5.10.5    This notice should be at least 0.5 square metres in area and should include:

  • a large drawing of the outline or silhouette of the head and shoulders of a German shepherd dog
  • the words "BEWARE SECURITY DOGS" in large lettering
  • the name, address and telephone number of the owner of the kennels.

6. Hygiene

6.1 Cleaning and disinfection

6.1.1    Kennels and exercise areas must be kept clean so that the comfort of dogs can be maintained and disease controlled.

6.1.2    Faeces should be removed at least once a day.

6.1.3    Kennels should be hosed at least once a day.

6.1.4    Kennels should be disinfected at least once each week, before new dogs are introduced and after an outbreak of infectious disease.

6.1.5    Cleaning and disinfecting agents should be chosen on the basis of their suitability, safety and effectiveness.

Manufacturer's instructions for the use of these agents should be followed, since too dilute a solution may be ineffective and too concentrated a solution may be toxic to dogs.

6.1.6 After cleaning, kennels must be left dry.

6.2 Pest Control

6.2.1    Efforts must be made to effectively control pests, including fleas, ticks, flies, lice, mosquitoes and wild rodents.

6.2.2    Chemicals used for pest control should be registered under the Pesticides and Allied Chemicals Act and used only in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

6.2.3    Because some pesticides are toxic to dogs they should only be used under professional supervision.

6.3 Waste Disposal

6.3.1    Waste disposal must be in accordance with the requirements of the local government authority.

6.3.2    Faeces and uneaten food should be placed in sealed plastic bags for disposal.

6.3.3    Use of a trade waste service for collection and disposal of wastes is preferable.

7. Management

7.1 Temperament

Dogs that display excessive or uncontrollable aggression should not be used as security dogs.

7.2 Care of animals

7.2.1    All special requirements such as administration of medication, feeding of special diets, bathing and grooming should be attended to as necessary.

7.2.2    Dogs should be housed singly or in compatible pairs.

7.2.3    Desexing of female dogs is recommended.

7.3 Identification

7.3.1    A security dog must wear the following identification:

  • the name, address and telephone number of the owner of a plate, disc or badge attached to the collar or inscribed on the collar.
  • a current registration disc or tag attached to the collar.

7.3.2    Electronic (microchip) identification is desirable.

7.4 Record Keeping

The following information must be recorded for each dog:

  • name
  • sex
  • breed and type
  • distinguishing features
  • dates of vaccination
  • dates of veterinary checks and the name of the veterinary surgeon
  • heartworm medication - type and dates of administration
  • worming medication - type and dates of administration
  • other medication - type and dates of administration

The following information must be recorded for each placement:

  • business name, address and telephone number of the premises where a dog is placed.
  • name, address and telephone number of the owner of the premises if different from above
  • date of placement
  • date of collection
  • the dog's condition and preferably weight on placement
  • the dog's condition and preferably weight on collection
  • where dogs are housed at guarded premises for more than one week, a weekly record of the dog's condition and preferably weight

7.5 Staff

7.5.1    Staff should respect dogs and have experience in handling large dogs. Formal training such as a technical college qualification in animal care is an advantage.

7.5.2    Staff should be aware of their responsibilities and competent to carry them out.

8. Health care

8.1 Disease prevention

8.1.1    Vaccination against distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus is required. These vaccinations must be given every 12 months.

8.1.2    Vaccination against kennel cough is recommended every 12 months.

8.1.3    Heartworm preventative treatment (daily of monthly) is required. A blood test to determine heartworm status before commencement of treatment is necessary and then recommended every 6 months.

8.1.4    Regular treatment for gastrointestinal worms should be administered.

8.2 Health Checks

8.2.1   Each dog shall be checked at least twice a day to monitor its health and comfort, including weekends and public holidays.

8.2.2    The person checking dogs should note whether each dog:

  • is eating normally
  • has a normal coat
  • is drinking normally
  • is defacating normally
  • is urinating normally
  • is behaving normally
  • is of normal appearance
  • is able to move about freely.

8.2.3    Any changes in health status should be reported promptly to the security dog establishment manager.

8.3 Veterinary Attention

8.3.1    The security dog establishment manager should establish liaison with a veterinary surgeon who is able to attend to dogs in his or her care.

8.3.2    Routine veterinary examination of each dog should be undertaken every 6 months.

8.3.3    Veterinary attention must be sought by the security dog establishment manager or his or her nominee for any dog showing one or more of the following signs:

  • runny nose
  • runny, discharging or inflamed eyes
  • repeated sneezing
  • coughing
  • vomiting
  • severe diarrhea, especially if bloodstained
  • lameness
  • inability to stand or walk
  • bleeding or swelling of body parts (other than the vulva of bitches on heat)
  • weight loss
  • no appetite
  • apparent pain
  • fits or staggering
  • bloated abdomen
  • inability to urinate or defecate.

8.3.4  Except on veterinary advice, dogs displaying any of these signs should not be used for security work and should be housed at the security dog establishment.

8.4 Isolation

8.4.1    Facilities must be available either at the security dog establishment or at veterinary premises for isolation of dogs that are suspected of, or diagnosed as, having an infectious condition.

8.4.2    Sick dogs which are not infectious but which may be stressed by contact with other dogs should be separated but not necessarily isolated.

8.5 Euthanasia

8.5.1    Euthanasia should be considered where a dog becomes seriously ill or injured and where it is recommended by a veterinarian who has examined the dog.

8.5.2    Euthanasia should be carried out by a veterinarian.

9. Diet

9.1 Food

9.1.1    Animals must receive appropriate, uncontaminated and nutritionally adequate food according to the accepted requirements for the breed and age. The food should be in sufficient quantity and of appropriate composition.

9.1.2    A variety of foods should be supplied. Canned and dry foods will form the staple diet in most cases, but fresh meat and fish may tempt fussy eaters.

9.1.3    Adult dogs should be fed daily.

9.1.4    Pups up to 6 months of age should be fed at least twice a day.

9.1.5    Food should be prepared hygienically in a separate kitchen area. It should be stored appropriately, e.g. dry food in a rodent-free place and fresh meat kept refrigerated.

9.1.6    Food and water containers should preferably not be chewable or spillable. They must be readily accessible, positioned to avoid contamination by urine or faeces, and cleaned at least daily.

9.1.7    Uneaten food should be removed and disposed of promptly so that it does not spoil or attract vermin.

9.1.8    Food must be provided in containers. Feeding directly from the floor is not acceptable.

9.2 Water

Fresh water must be available at all times.

10. Exercise

10.1    Dogs must have the opportunity for exercise to:

  • allow them to urinate and defecate
  • give them contact with humans and, if appropriate, with other dogs
  • allow them to be checked over
  • let them stretch their limbs.

10.2     Exercise can be provided by:

  • allowing dogs access to an exercise area for a minimum of 30 minutes twice daily and/or
  • walking dogs on a lead for a minimum of 15 minutes twice daily.

11. Transport

11.1    Dogs should be transported in the shortest practicable time. They must not be kept in parked vehicles in the sun or in hot weather unless adequate ventilation and shade is provided.

11.2    Any vehicle (including trailers) especially designed or regularly used for transporting dogs should:

  • protect dogs from injury
  • have non-slip floors - direct contact with metal flooring is to be avoided
  • provide easy access and operator safety
  • protect against extremes of temperature
  • provide adequate ventilation
  • protect against unauthorised release of dogs
  • be easy to clean and disinfect
  • be supplied with clean, secure cages or with separate compartments or partitions
  • be kept clean.

11.3    For more detailed information about animal transport, refer to the companion publication in this series entitled The Care and Management of Animals by Companion Animal Transport Agencies.

Originally published in October, 1996, by NSW Agriculture

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