Protection of Adopters
As centre professionals, we have an obligation to protect those people who adopt our animals to the greatest extent possible, both from zoonotic disease and injury from bites or scratches. Post prominent signs encouraging all visitors to the Centre to wash their hands after handling any animal and after visiting the Centre. Make sure hand washing stations (sinks or hand-sanitizer dispensers) are readily available in animal areas.
  • Provide adopters access to general written information on preventing zoonotic disease, such as the importance of hand washing, preventing feces from building up in the environment, maintaining internal and external parasite control, and maintaining a regular program of veterinary care.
  • Advise adopters in writing of any specific steps that have been taken to control zoonotic disease in an individual animal, such as prophylactic deworming, and when any further treatments will be required. Also inform adopters of any exams that have been performed, and whether or not the animal has been examined by a veterinarian.
  • Include a written statement in the adoption contract stating that the animal’s health cannot be guaranteed. If the animal has not been examined by a veterinarian, include this statement in the contract, along with the animal centre’s policy on animals found to be ill soon after adoption.
  • Develop a Centre policy on adopting out animals with known or suspected zoonotic conditions. When in doubt, consult with a veterinarian or the Department of Shelter Health and Wellness. If such animals are to be adopted out, written material should be provided to adopters on the specific disease, and a waiver should be signed. Be aware that such waivers may not protect the centre from liability.
  • Provide results of any temperament testing that was performed. Temperament concerns involving aggression or a history of biting/scratching should be treated in a similar manner as suspected zoonotic conditions in terms of potential liability.

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