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National Animal Control Association Guidelines

Table of Contents

Definition
Purpose
Income

Alternative Animal Registration

Animal Control Capture Methods

Animal Facility Capacity Limitations
Companion Animal Housing
Cruelty/Neglect
Cruelty/Neglect - Animal Hoarding
Dead Animals

Dispositions of Animals

Extended Animal Control Concerns

Injured Animals
Leash/Restraint Laws
Lost Animals

NACA Sponsorships

Sponsorships

Pet Licenses

Personnel Training and Safety

Promotion of Proper Pet Owner Responsibility

Rabies Vaccinations
Scanning for Microchips

Support Dogs


Definition

The National Animal Control Association was organized in 1978 and incorporated the next year. It is a nonprofit corporation with a mandate "to engage in the professionalism of animal control personnel through development of specialized training programs, to standardize laws and methods of operations, and to serve as a liaison with other professional groups."

NACA is composed of individual, organizational, and honorary members, and of state animal control associations whose members automatically become members of NACA. Membership fees, voting privileges and other requirements of membership are delineated in the Constitution and By-Laws of NACA. Power to conduct the business of NACA is vested in the Board of Directors.

NACA is open to any adult or organization actively working or affiliated with animal control work, without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin. The purpose of NACA is not to tell its members how to operate their local agencies or associations. Rather, it works with all agencies and associations for the betterment of the animal control profession.

The National Animal Control Association is a strong supporter of local option and presents these policies in that perspective. We urge all animal control agencies to give them serious thought. NACA does not present them as requirements for membership, but rather as worthwhile goals for all to strive toward.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Purpose

The purposes of the National Animal Control Association are specified in the Constitution and By-Laws:

  1. To improve, promote, professionalize, and publicize animal control, while promoting justice and equity in the enforcement of animal control laws.
  2. To advance the health, morale, welfare, training and knowledge of animal control officers and associations, while providing communications and education for animal control organizations.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Income

The National Animal Control Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation that receives no federal, state or municipal funding. Money used to conduct business of the Association comes from membership dues, bequests, fees for services, and advertisements in the NACA News. From time to time, NACA may receive grants, money or profit from workshops its sponsors.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Alternative Animal Registration

Guideline Statement

Tattooing/microchipping as a sole means of animal identification.

Basis for Guideline

NACA believes that the pet-owning public would rather their pet wear a tag than to be tattooed or microchipped. The absences of a central registry and the permanent "branding" of the animal may present specific problems which may be counterproductive to the purpose of registration. Tattoos may also encourage purposeful disfigurement of the animal, should the animal fall victim to theft. Lack of standardization in the microchipping industry disallows the concept to be a adequate substitution for licensing.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends comprehensive licensing programs. The problems associated with tattoo/microchipping registration must be explored fully before it can be remotely considered a viable alternative to licensing.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Animal Control Capture Methods - Chemical Immobilization

Guideline Statement

Tranquilizer guns do have value under certain circumstances, but should only be used after the officer has received proper training, and then only as a last resort when all other methods of capture have failed. Tranquilization should be used only when the animal or the community is at risk if the animal remains at large.

Basis for Guideline

Tranquilizer guns and the drugs received for immobilization pose inherent dangers to the animal, the officer or a bystander. A variety of factors such as the weather, and the physical condition of animal, can vary the success rate.

Guideline Recommendation

When tranquilization must be used it may be necessary to contact appropriate agencies to maintain crowd or traffic control. The procedure should be performed with a veterinarian/consultation whenever possible. Complete documentation pertaining to the procedure should be kept, including, but not limited to, medical observations before, during, and after chemical immobilization. Adequate personnel should be on hand to maintain visual contact with the animal until immobilization takes effect.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Animal Control Capture Methods - Mace

Guideline Statement

CS or CN derivative deterrent sprays commonly known as MACE should not be used on any animal for any reason.

Basis for Guideline

CS or CN sprays do not affect animals in the same way they affect humans. These sprays cause permanent, serious medical problems including death to animals. These sprays do not deter aggressive behavior and may increase aggression by eliciting pain-based responses.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that no Animal Control Officer use any CS or CN derivative deterrent sprays, commonly known as MACE, on any animal for any reason.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Animal Control Capture Methods - Traps

Guideline Statement

The use of live traps serve a valuable purpose in animal control, but NACA strongly opposes the use of leg hold or snare traps.

Basis for Guideline

The humane capture of animals and the routine use of only humane types of equipment should set an example for the community as to the animal control agency's dedication to promoting positive animal welfare.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that traps used should capture the animal unharmed. Agencies should develop and employ procedures and guidelines governing trap usage whether the agency maintains or rents the traps. These procedures should ensure the safety and the humane treatment of the target or any animal trapped.

NACA also recommends that agencies work to eliminate laws that allow the use of inhumane leg holds or snares.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Animal Facility Capacity Limitations

Approved: 06/04/05

Guideline Statement

NACA recognizes certain municipal and privately run facilities tend to under-utilize euthanasia practices because of changes in management, philosophy, or national trends that are based on "long term housing."

Basis for Guideline

Animals should not be held in overcrowded conditions nor held for excessive time periods that may be mentally or physically detrimental to the animal's welfare. NACA recognizes that municipal and privately run facilities must maintain euthanasia practices in order to control overcrowding problems including disease transmission, behavior degeneration, and overall health problems.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that each animal holding facility understand their maximum holding capacity and develop sincere policies to avoid these problems that may be considered inhumane themselves.

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Companion Animal Housing

Approved: 11/07/08

Guideline Statement

Local governments should routinely review their animal shelter facilities and include them in capital improvement budgets & long term facility planning utilizing architects and designers specializing in animal shelter facilities. New construction or renovations should insure that shelters have species appropriate, state of the art, compassionate housing for dogs, cats and other companion animals designed to limit disease transmission and stress. The facility should be located in an area with high visibility and easy access and include citizen and animal friendly adoption areas.

Basis for Guideline

The basis of the policy recognizes that many animal shelters are reaching the end of their operational life spans and will require extensive renovations or rehabilitation to provide adequate housing for dogs, cats and other companion animals. Previous housing designs (cage over cage, direct contact) did not minimize disease transmission. This resulted in facilities that were difficult to clean and keep free from disease. Adoptions were not emphasized leaving little or no room designed for this practice. Shelters were traditionally located in areas not conducive to public visits such as landfills, waste transfer stations, or maintenance shops in industrial areas.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that local governments consider animal shelters as an important community facility and offer them equal consideration when reviewing capital improvement budgets, and long term facility needs planning.

NACA recommends that any animal housing be state of the art, compassionate housing for dogs, cats, and other companion animals that provides for a high quality of life and prevents disease transmission.

NACA recommends that shelter designs include public adoption areas, training/education areas, sufficient staff office space, enclosed vehicle loading & unloading areas, sick/isolation areas, separate housing for animals by species & age, as well as veterinary medical areas for onsite spay/neuter surgery.

NACA recommends that facilities be located in high visibility areas with easy access for citizens, located away from locations such landfills or industrial areas.

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Cruelty/Neglect

Guideline Statement

Animal control agencies should be empowered to issue citations for cruelty violations and include cruelty investigations as part of its regular activities. In those communities where both animal control agencies and humane societies are empowered to investigate and prosecute cruelty violations, the National Animal Control Associations believes that the cooperation among these groups will best provide for the protection of animals and the prosecution of people.

Basis for Guideline

In the course of performing other duties, ACO's are often the first to uncover instances of animal cruelty or neglect. Immediate action is often necessary to insure the safety of the animal and/or to protect the integrity of any subsequent legal charges filed. Multi-agency involvement will underscore to the pet owner the legitimacy of the concern and, thus, increase the probability of improving the animal's condition. Obviously, a cooperative stance with other involved humane groups will serve to build a better court case.

Guideline Recommendation

Joint training among all agencies would prove beneficial, as would requiring officers to receive individual cruelty investigations training. Cruelty to animal laws should include at least the very basics of pet ownership responsibility - adequate housing, adequate supply of fresh food and water, prohibition against abandonment, sanitary living conditions, and physical/emotional abuse. Laws should provide for investigators to issue citations, and allow for immediate removal of the animal from harmful situations.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Cruelty/Neglect - Animal Hoarding

Guideline Statement

Animal control agencies should implement comprehensive policies for the investigation, seizure, care and disposition of animals resulting from animal hoarding cases. Such policies should address care, housing, evaluation, treatment and disposition utilizing all available resources in cooperation with animal care, control and welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system. If necessary, legislative changes to existing laws are encouraged to facilitate such policies. Such policies should include provisions for the evaluation, care and assistance to the persons engaging in these acts considering that some may suffer from medical conditions.

Basis for Guideline

Animal Control Officers routinely seize or receive animals as the result of cruelty cases related to animal hoarding. Frequently, these cases involve large numbers of animals that exceed the ability of the owner or caregiver to provide adequate humane care and treatment. Animal hoarding cases attract significant community concern from neighbors, animal welfare groups, elected officials and the media. These animals may have medical conditions, physical injuries and behavioral issues that present challenges to care, housing and disposition resulting in substantial costs to agencies. Animal control agencies, animal welfare organizations, medical providers, public safety departments, the judicial system and appropriate government or non-governmental agencies should form cooperative working agreements to facilitate timely, positive outcomes that benefit the individuals and the animals involved in animal hoarding situations.

Guideline Recommendations

Animal control agencies should:

  1. Work with law enforcement, judicial, and medical providers to insure that all aspects related to the person or persons engaged in animal hoarding are addressed;
  2. Seek positive outcomes for both the persons and animals involved in animal hoarding cases;
  3. Seek legislation that incorporates the authority for mandatory mental health evaluations of persons involved in animal hoarding cases at the direction of the court;
  4. Seek legislation that incorporates progressive penalties that may limit or prohibit the ownership or custody of animals by persons found to have engaged in animal neglect or animal cruelty related to animal hoarding recognizing that in certain cases, limited numbers of animals may be returned to such persons with appropriate monitoring and inspections subject to court enforcement;
  5. Establish a disposition protocol that provides the appropriate transfer, adoption or alternative placement of the animals in accordance with the NACA Guideline for Disposition of Animals from Cruelty Cases

Approved: May 23, 2010

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Dead Animals

Guideline Statement

Living animals should take priority over dead animals. Animal control agencies should avoid transporting living animals with dead animals. Additionally, the disposal of dead animals should meet public health standards, codes, or statutes.

Basis for Guideline

The general lack of sanitation associated with transporting dead animals poses a threat to living animals. Disease contamination is of primary concern. The professionalism of animal control agencies would be rightfully questioned.

Guideline Recommendation

Agencies need to establish separate transportation arrangements for dead animals, possibly through cooperative efforts with local street maintenance departments. Owned dead animals should be transported by their owners. Dead bite animals that must be laboratory tested for rabies should be transported by the animal control officer only when their vehicles allow for isolation compartments. Dead animal disposal can include cremation facilities, landfill burial, or rendering.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Dispositions of Animals - Adoption

Guideline Statement

A professional animal control agency is one that moves beyond enforcement to prevention. A successful adoption program focuses on quality placements in efforts to break the cycle of unwanted, surplus animals.

Basis for Guideline

Adoption is the opportunity for shelters to make a difference in the life of an animal. The objective is not to "sell" the animal but to sell the new owner on the principle of proper pet management. The success of an adoption program will be determined by the quality of the adoption (e.g. animal's long term tenure in home, licensed, spayed/neutered, and vaccinated.)

Guideline Recommendation

Shelter adoptions should include some form of required sterilization, preferably prior to adoption. NACA supports the concept of early (8-16 weeks of age) spay/neutering. Alternatives may include enforceable contractual obligations which require sterilization within specified time periods following adoption. Incentives for sterilization may include reduced license fees, discounted sterilization costs, or prepayment of all or part of sterilization costs. Shelters should temperament test all animals to be considered for adoption to make sure they are suitably socialized. Potential adopters must demonstrate that they will be responsible pet owners. An adoption questionnaire may prove successful in determining the prospective adopter's past ownership history, their reason for adopting, and their ability to financially and emotionally provide for the animals basic and extended needs. Established periodic follow-ups should be made during the first year of the animal's placement to assist in problem solving and reinforce principles of proper pet care.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Dispositions of Animals - Animal Transfer Programs

Guideline Statement

The transfer of a group of animals from one geographic area to another does not effectively reduce the problem of pet overpopulation. The result of animal transfer programs may result in certain benefits toward home placement and reduce facility environmental stress. However, the long-term results do not appear to offer any genuine solutions to the homeless pet problems associated with typical municipal animal facilities and may induce the spread of certain health problems for both people and animals.

Basis for Guideline

The issue of animal transfer programs has become a popular system moving animals from overburden facilities with less resources for placement of homeless pets to larger animal care operations with better funded adoption programs and more resources. Issues surrounding transfer programs include possible spread of diseases from on locality to another, exhaustion of limited resources with smaller organizations, legalities of cross-state transportation, community perception of overpopulation problems being solved while not fully understanding the underlying cause and needed solutions.

Guideline Recommendation

To thoroughly plan for the initiation and utilization of a necessary animal transfer program that will benefit the community and the animal care facility it serves with a committed staff. The plan should not over extend the resources of the entities involved and be developed with animal health, sterilization, and education as principle elements invoked in procedures.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 06/04/05

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Disposition of Animals - Cruelty Cases

Guideline Statement

Animal control agencies should implement comprehensive policies for the seizure, care and disposition of animals resulting from all types of cruelty cases recognizing them as victims of crimes including but not limited to abuse, neglect, hoarding and animal fighting. Such policies should address care, housing, evaluation, treatment and disposition utilizing all available resources in cooperation with animal care, control and welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system. If necessary, legislative changes to existing laws are encouraged to facilitate such policies.

Basis for Guideline

Animal Control Officers routinely seize or receive animals as the result of cruelty cases. These animals have medical conditions, physical injuries and behavioral issues that present challenges to care, housing and disposition resulting in substantial costs to agencies. Often court cases and legal proceedings lead to lengthy holding periods further challenging agencies resources. Actual animals are almost never physically presented as “evidence” in legal proceedings. Unlike inanimate physical evidence, forensic evidence or documented evidence, animals require considerable care and treatment pending any criminal case outcome and can suffer from prolonged confinement despite exemplary care. Each animal should be considered individually as a victim of criminal conduct regardless of breed or the charges involved. NACA recognizes that state statutes regarding holding periods & animal dispositions vary widely; therefore, animal control agencies should carefully review appropriate laws accordingly. Animal control agencies, animal welfare organizations, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system should form cooperative working agreements to facilitate timely, positive outcomes that benefit the community and the animals.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal control agencies should:

Establish procedures for evidence collection, animal identification & documentation and forensic reporting at the scene of any seizure designed to reduce or alleviate the need to hold animals as “evidence” pending any final legal proceeding;

Provide immediate and ongoing veterinary evaluation & care for each animal seized as needed for any medical condition, physical injury or behavioral issue through disposition;

Provide suitable, humane housing for each animal according to its age, condition and size that supports the physical and psychological health of each animal through animal best-practices including diet, environmental enrichment and adequate exercise (when possible outside the standard kennel enclosure);

Work with law enforcement, judicial, and legislative bodies to establish a bond or similar legal provision that provides for a prompt legal seizure hearing in addition to the posting of board and medical charges incurred in the care of the animals prior to disposition;

Provide or allow for a behavioral evaluation of each animal to determine appropriate disposition;

Work with law enforcement, judicial and legislative bodies to establish an effective and expeditious legal process for bringing cases to trial in order to minimize animal holding periods after any bond or seizure hearing;

Establish a disposition protocol that seeks the appropriate transfer, adoption or alternative placement of the animals according to their medical, behavioral and legal status recognizing that euthanasia may result if no appropriate placement is available.

Approved: 1/30/10

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Dispositions of Animals - Euthanasia

Approved: 08/24/10; Revised: 10/02/10

Guideline Statement

NACA considers lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital, administered by competent, trained personnel, to be the only method of choice utilized for humane euthanasia of animal shelter dogs and cats. NACA acknowledges that there are agencies legally restricted in their ability to obtain sodium pentobarbital. In such cases the alternative must be to seek out local veterinarians to provide euthanasia services utilizing sodium pentobarbital. NACA condemns the use of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, argon, or anesthetic gases as well as physical methods such as electrocution, gunshot, and blunt force trauma for animal shelter euthanasia of dogs and cats.

Basis for Guideline

Sodium pentobarbital meets more of the criteria set by the American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia than any other method of euthanasia. Until a more sophisticated method meeting all the criteria are met, it is the responsibility of those performing euthanasia to use the best method now available and to use it with skill, compassion, and consistency.

Guideline Recommendation

Euthanasia should be performed by a minimum of two persons and only by persons who are trained in humane euthanasia procedures and can demonstrate their ability in accordance with methods put forth in training approved by the National Animal Control Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Humane Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The American Veterinary Medical Association, or an accredited educational institution. NACA very strongly urges agencies that are unable to legally obtain sodium pentobarbital, to work diligently towards passing legislation which would allow direct purchase of euthanasia drugs by licensed shelters, and require training and certification of staff.

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Dispositions of Animals - Limited Access Shelters/Rescue Groups

Guideline Statement

Limited access shelters/rescue groups may serve a purpose within a community to provide long-term adoption prospects for a limited number of animals while meeting all state and local codes.

Basis for Guideline

In order to attempt to find homes for as many animals as possible and reduce euthanasia rates, all organizations that shelter animals must work together to provide the greatest opportunity for adoption without prejudice towards organizations that are forced to euthanize animals.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recognizes a community cooperative approach to reducing pet overpopulation with all shelters and rescue groups working together to place all healthy, adoptable animals with families in their community. NACA further states that all localities must have a full service shelter that accepts all stray, unwanted, homeless, or feral animals regardless of prospective adoption potential and provides them with humane care and treatment, including euthanasia, if necessary.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Dispositions of Animals - Pound Seizure

Guideline Statement

The National Animal Control Association opposes pound seizure laws (which mandates sale of animals from shelters to research).

Basis for Guideline

Guideline Recommendation

The National Animal Control Association encourages repeal of existing pound seizure laws. Owners who wish to relinquish their animals to research facilities should do so directly to the research facility. When local government feels it is necessary to disregard this recommendation, the following should be guidelines for said seizure:

This agreement should be on a written form approved by the local government's attorney.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Dispositions of Animals - Release of Sheltered Animals

Guideline Statement

Animals should be neutered/spayed prior to the adoptive owner taking possession or a deposit should be collected to insure the procedure.
Nuisance animals (those impounded for multiple offenses) should be spayed/neutered as above.
No shelter animals should be released for laboratory purposes.

Basis for Guideline

To reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals in the community.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal shelters should have broad powers to require spaying/neutering of animals in compliance with state laws or local ordinances.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Extended Animal Control Concerns - Community Cat Management

Guideline Statement

Animal Control Officers should be empowered to manage all feral, stray and owned cats within the community. Management may include but is not limited to enactment & enforcement of cat related laws, education, public/private partnerships for cat care & control, targeted spay / neuter programs and properly regulated cat caretaker programs.

Basis for Guideline

The basis of the policy is to protect the public and cats living in the wild so as to minimize the potential for a rabies outbreak. A feral cat is defined as a cat that has been born in the wild or forsaken by the original owner for an extended period of time. A stray cat is one that is at large or escaped from an owner. An owned cat has been claimed by a person who provides the essentials including food, water, shelter, and veterinary care.

Guideline Recommendation

In order to protect feral, stray and owned cats, all local or state governments should pass laws requiring the vaccination and license of all cats in their community. The law should also require that all owned cats be identified with a traceable license, microchip, or tattoo so as to identify them from feral cats.

NACA recognizes that in some circumstances, alternative management programs, including Trap Neuter Vaccinate & Release (TNVR) programs may be effective, and recommends that each agency assess the individual need with their community and respond accordingly.

NACA advocates for effective public education related to cats, active spaying & neutering initiatives for cats and responsible ownership for all cats.

Approved: 02/11/08

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Extended Animal Control Concerns - Dangerous/Vicious Animals

Guideline Statement

Dangerous and/or vicious animals should be labeled as such as a result of their actions or behavior and not because of their breed.

Basis for Guideline

Any animal may exhibit aggressive behavior regard-less of breed. Accurately identifying a specific animal's lineage for prosecution purposes may be extremely difficult. Additionally, breed specific legislation may create an undue burden to owners who otherwise have demonstrated proper pet management and responsibility.

Guideline Recommendation

Agencies should encourage enactment and stringent enforcement of dangerous/vicious dog laws. When applicable, agencies should not hesitate to prosecute owners for murder, manslaughter, or similar violations resulting from their animal's actions, and their owner lack of responsibility. Laws should clearly define "dangerous" or "vicious", and provide for established penalties. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, and/or the relinquishing of total privileges to pet ownership. If a dangerous/vicious animal is allowed to be kept, laws should specify methods of secure confinement and control. A dangerous/vicious animal when kept outside should be confined in an escape-proof enclosure which is locked and secured on all six sides. Signs should be posted at property entrances and be visible from the nearest sidewalk or street. The licensing record could include a notation which will immediately identify an animal which has been deemed dangerous or vicious.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Extended Animal Control Concerns - Exotics

Guideline Statement

NACA opposes the keeping, sale, or breeding of exotic or nontraditional animals as pets.

Basis for Guideline

Exotic animals are becoming more accessible. The general public lacks the ability to properly house and care for exotic animals, which places the animals at undue risk. This creates the risk of zoonotic diseases and a risk to public health and safety.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA urges city and county animal control agencies to pass laws or ordinances banning the selling or keeping of exotic or nontraditional animals as pets.

Approved: 05/19/04

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Extended Animal Control Concerns - Nuisance Livestock and Wildlife

Guideline Statement

It is a logical extension of an animal control agency's responsibilities to provide response to nuisance livestock and nuisance wildlife complaints, providing it is budgeted properly for such duties. Personnel should receive proper training providing such services requires that for such duties.

Basis for Guideline

The public served will most often contact animal control agencies for assistance and/or referral on livestock or wildlife problems. The agency's ability to respond will serve to enhance its value in the community.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal control agencies should establish programs with appropriate agencies to determine respective responsibility in handling particular nuisance complaints. Such programs will require sometimes costly, specialized equipment. Housing responsibility, if any should be established. Personnel should receive adequate training in the proper capture and handling of such animals.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Extended Animal Control Concerns - Wildlife/Hybrids As Pets

Guideline Statement

NACA opposes the keeping, sale, or breeding of wildlife and wildlife hybrids as pets.

Basis for Guideline

Animal control agencies commonly receive complaints concerning this matter. Common complaints include inadequate housing, insufficient medical attention, removal of natural defenses, confinement related stress. The high mortality rates associated with the capture and transport of wild animals and the serious depletion of wild populations are important factors. NACA feels that the breeding of hybrids instills a false impression of security to the public and creates a danger to public health and safety.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA urges animal control agencies to take steps to make the selling, keeping, or breeding of wild or hybrid animals as prohibitive as possible.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Injured Animals

Guideline Statement

Injured animal rescues legitimately fall within the range of animal control activities, particularly since most injured animals become injured as a result or inadequate owner control. All reasonable efforts should be made to contact the owner of the injured animals to determine a course of action and financial responsibility/liability. In all circumstances, the welfare of the animal should take priority.

Basis for Guideline

Injured animals require medical care. Medical care costs money. If the owner can be contacted prior to impoundment, valuable time can be saved. This frequent concern demonstrates the importance of maintaining and comparing lost animal reports even before the rescue begins. Impoundment costs, also, may hinder the owner's ability to financially provide immediate medical attention to the animal.

Guideline Recommendation

When all efforts to locate the owner have been exhausted, animal control agencies should have a plan in place to evaluate injured animal dispositions. Cooperative agreements for emergency services with local veterinarians should be undertaken in communities where no staff or contractual veterinarian is directly responsible to the animal control agency. Predetermine the degree of injuries that cannot be financially or adequately addressed for animals whose owners cannot be identified. Valid licensing may dictate mandatory holding periods for animals, including injured animals. NACA supports such holding periods, but under no circumstances should an animal be allowed to suffer. Detailed documentation by a licensed veterinarian should accompany the decision to destroy a licensed animal prior to expiration of the legal holding period.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Leash/Restraint Laws

Guideline Statement

There can be no justification for allowing pets to roam. State and/or local statutes should prohibit owners from allowing their pets to go uncontrolled on or off the owner's premises.

Basis for Guideline

Free-roaming cats and dogs contribute enormously to the numbers of surplus, unwanted animals found in shelters everywhere. A free-roaming animal is exposed to such hazards as disease from other animals, injury or death from traffic, retaliation by irate property owners, or poisoning from the ingestion of garbage. Many of these animals are responsible for causing injury or death in traffic accidents, bites, or by indirect means. Free-roaming animals may attack livestock, other pet animals, or wildlife. Pet overpopulation is directly related to the free-roaming of cats and dogs. This results in the need for shelters to collectively destroy millions of these animals yearly.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal control officers should receive local or state powers to issue citations for violations. Progressive penalties should be clearly defined in the statutes, and should include provisions for totally striking all ownership privileges for specific violations or repetitive violations. Animals are not the violators, owners are. All efforts to return the animal to the proper owner in lieu of impoundments should be utilized, unless it is in the animal's best interest or other circumstances dictate. NACA recommends that laws clearly define "restraint/control", to include adequate physical confinement on the premises of the owner.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Lost Animals

Guideline Statement

All local agencies should make every effort to maintain reports of lost animals.

Basis for Guideline

Each year thousands of dogs and cats are reported as lost to local animal control agencies. Of those reported lost, occasionally an animal may be impounded, legally held, and destroyed. Lost animal reports can help to prevent this tragedy, if such reports are compared with impounded, injured, or dead animals.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recognizes that agencies charged with handling large volumes of animals on a day-to-day basis may not realistically be able to compare every animal against every lost animal report. But if such reports are kept, they can be organized to provide a valuable source for possible owners of impounded animals. First, insist that owners complete the form or report personally.

Strongly encourage owners to bring with them a current picture of their lost pet, so that the picture may accompany the report. Secondly, categorize reports by breeds. If the owner is uncertain of the breed, provide a chart which will help the owner determine the breed the animal most resembles, mixed breed files could be categorize by color, sex, and size, if efforts to categorize by possible breed mixture are unsuccessful. Ultimately, large volume shelters must stress to owners the vital importance of personal visits to the shelter for the purpose of looking for lost pets. Visits should fall within the legal holding periods for unlicensed animals, without exception, all injured and dead animals should be compared against the reports. Reports should be updated daily.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Sponsorships

Guideline Statement

Sponsoring NACA affiliated state animal welfare, care and/or control organizations is an effective way for National Animal Control Association to promote its mission and increase knowledge of, and access to, services offered by NACA.

Basis for Guideline

To ensure consistency in how sponsorships are awarded by NACA, and to ensure sponsorships are offered in a financially responsible manner.

Guideline Recommendation

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) may provide sponsorship or financial assistance to NACA affiliated state animal welfare, care and/or control organizations when the expenditure of the funds are consistent with the mission and/or goals of the organization, including but not limited to;

1. Enhancing the ability of NACA or a state animal welfare, care and/or control organization to provide quality services, education and training;

2. Promoting or providing for the promotion of, by NACA or a state animal welfare, care and/or control organization, of professionalism in the field of animal care and control;

3. Increasing NACA membership and professional reach by allowing increased knowledge of and access to services offered by NACA;

4. Supporting state animal welfare, care and/or control organizations whose missions/objectives are in line with the mission and/or goals of NACA.

The total amount of sponsorships or financial assistance shall not exceed $2000 without a majority vote by the Board of Directors.

NOTE: NACA may, at the discretion of the Board, partner with for-profit organizations however shall not, in the absence of an exception approved by a majority of the Board of Directors, expend funds in the forms of sponsorships or financial assistance to for-profit organizations.

The amount of sponsorship and/or financial assistance will be set annually by the Board of Directors and adhered to strictly in the absence of a majority vote of the Board of Directors exceeding the amount.

Examples, including but not limited to, of requests allowed under these guidelines include;

Sponsorship of events (meals, banquets, awards) [limit $500];

Provision or sponsorship of speakers (topic must pertain to animal care and/or control) [May include travel, lodging, meals and speaker fees];

Training NOT in direct competition, or comparable to, training provided by NACA [limit not to exceed the tuition of the highest tuition among NACA provided training courses]

Scholarships, covering tuition, of NACA training courses [limit tuition of individual program];

Examples, including but not limited to, of requests NOT allowed under these guidelines;

Travel, meal and lodging expenses for individuals who are not a NACA employee, on the Board of Directors or a designee by either;

Scholarships to courses offered by an outside organization that directly compete, or are comparable to, courses offered by NACA;

NOTE: Non-affiliated state animal welfare, care and/or control organizations are eligible, upon a majority vote by the Board of Directors, for sponsorship or financial assistance but are limited to a maximum of 50% of the limit allocated for affiliated state animal welfare, care and/or control organizations.

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Pet Licenses - Cats

Guideline Statement

State and/or local statutes should require that all cats to be licensed, and require licenses to be worn at all times. NACA rejects the argument that cats are wildlife, and adopts the policy described for dogs.

Basis for Guideline

Cats pose similar problems in today's society to that of dogs. Public health concerns include the threat of rabies or other diseases from cat-in-flicted bites or scratches. Damage to property and overpopulation results in the degradation of community appearance and sanitation. NACA cites the pet food industry as one example of American's society's classification of cats as domestic animals. Cats share people's lives, homes, and hearts as proven companion animals. Cat ownership, then, should require responsibility for their welfare and owner responsibility to the general public. Cat licensing also extends to owners the benefits or legal ownership, a valuable means of identification, and services that cats considered as wildlife might not otherwise be afforded.

Guideline Recommendation

Licensing laws should be fully enforceable by animal control officers and police officers, and should prescribe progressive penalties for repeat violations. Licenses considered as permits may be revoked for specific violations. NACA recommends that licensing programs be designed to provide a fast, efficient means of identifying cats and their owners. Licensing records can be easily maintained via a central, local registry. Annual registration may help keep licensing records current and accurate, as circumstances frequently change in the lives of people and their pets. At the minimum, NACA recommends that licenses include complete owner contact information, and a complete description of the licensed cat. It is also helpful to include whether the cat has been spayed/neutered.

Licensing should be required as a condition for owning, harboring, or keeping a cat, and not combined with restraint laws.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Pet Licenses - Dogs

Guideline Statement

State and or local statutes should require all dogs to be licensed, and require licenses to be worn at all times. Licenses should be considered as permits which shall mandate specified responsibility and privileges of ownership. Licenses should be issued only upon proof of necessary immunizations.

Basis for Guideline

Licenses provide for the proper identification of dogs and their owners. It has been proven that licensing programs, adequately enforced, greatly reduce the numbers of surplus animals impounded unnecessarily, and encourage owner responsibility. Licenses provide owners with proof of legal ownership. Licensing fees can provide a necessary revenue base for animal control services. Fines for licensing violations also help offset the tax burden to the general public for such services.

Guideline Recommendation

Licensing laws should be fully enforceable by animal control officers and police officers, and should prescribe progressive penalties for repeat violations. Licenses considered as permits may be revoked for specific violations. NACA recommends that licensing programs be designed to provide a fast, efficient means of identifying dogs and their owners. Licensing records can be easily maintained via a central, local registry. Annual registration may help keep licensing records current and accurate, as circumstances frequently change in the lives of people and their pets. At the minimum, NACA recommends that licenses include complete owner contact information, and a complete description of the licensed dog. It is also helpful to include whether the dog has been spayed/neutered.

Licensing should be required as a condition for owning, harboring, or keeping a dog, and not combined with restraint laws.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety - Ballistic Protective Vests

Approved: 11/07/08

Guideline Statement

Animal Control Officers should be offered ballistic protective vests (commonly referred to as "bullet proof vests") as part of their standard equipment. Each ballistic vest should properly fit the individual officer, inspected and replaced in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended standards. Policies, procedures and guidelines for the use of ballistic vests should mirror local law enforcement agency standard operating procedures.

Basis for Guideline

Animal Control Officers encounter individuals with the same or greater frequency than regular law enforcement officers. Some of these individuals engage in criminal activity, are armed and can present an immediate threat to officer safety.

The basis of the policy recognizes that many Animal Control Officers now deal with the same violent felons and armed criminals as other law enforcement officers. The number of assaults on Animal Control Officers has increased and officers have been shot and killed in the course of their duties.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal Control Officers should be offered adequate personal protection gear that provides protection from the dangers and threats to their personal safety that they may encounter in their daily duties.

Animal Control Officers should not be given old, re-issued or re-used ballistic vests that are no longer certified to provide ballistic protection or do not provide ballistic protection due to improper fit.

Animal Control Officers should receive proper training and instruction on the care, maintenance and use of ballistic vests.

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Personnel Training and Safety - Bite Stick

Guideline Statement

Bite sticks may be used as a defensive tool to provide an Animal Control Officer with non-lethal force for dealing with aggressive animals. Use of a bite stick for personal protection from humans should be in accordance with agency training, policies, and procedures.

Basis for Guideline

Animal Control Officers frequently encounter hostile or aggressive animals and people. Officers must be able to defend themselves in order to retreat to call for assistance without placing their life in imminent danger.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that no Animal Control Officer be permitted to carry or use a bite stick without proper animal related training. NACA further recommends that any agency approving the use of this item must have a written policy regarding their use and insure proper training.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety – Minimum Kennel Staffing Needs

Approved: 02/08/03

Guideline Statement

NACA recommends that each shelter and animal care facility be staffed each day with the appropriate number of kennel personnel to insure that every animal is properly cared for in a safe and humane manner and to maintain a safe working environment for employees.
Basis for Guideline

Caring for sheltered animals requires daily cleaning and sanitation to reduce the spread of disease, maintain the health of the shelter population and to maintain a clean and odor free facility. Shelters and animal care facilities must maintain an appropriate daily feeding schedule for each animal in its care and insure there is adequate staff and time to complete all the other duties and responsibilities of caring for sheltered animals including but not limited to laundry, dish washing, lost and found, stocking and inventory of supplies, janitorial, and supplemental waste removal throughout the day.

It is the responsibility of every animal shelter and animal care facility to meet or exceed the minimum standards of animal care for all impounded animals by maintaining a staffing level that insures that the minimum animal care standards are adhered to on a daily basis without putting staff at risk of injury.

Formula for Determining Kennel Staffing Needs

____________________
(Human Population)
Multiplied by 7%
=
____________________
(Incoming Animal Population
Per Year)
____________________
(Incoming Animals Per
Year)
Divided by 365
(days per year)
____________________
(Incoming Animals Per Day)
____________________
(Incoming Animals Per Day)
Times Four* Day
Holding Period =
____________________
(Animals in Shelter Per Day)
____________________
(Animals in Shelter Per Day)
Times fifteen
minutes** per
animal =
____________________
(Number of Minutes Needed)
____________________
(Minutes Needed)
Divided by 60
(minutes) =
____________________
(Number of Hours Needed)
____________________
(Number of Hours Needed)
Divided by 3***
(hours for
cleaning/feeding)
=
____________________
(Staff Needed Per Day)

* The HSUS is using the average holding period of four days as a basis for this study. Some animals may be held for a much shorter period; however, many animals may be held for a period exceeding the four day requirement.

** This formula is based on a per-animal time of nine minutes for cleaning and six minutes for feeding.

*** These three hours are solely for the performance of these two tasks, but allowing for further time in the day to perform routine maintenance tasks such as laundry, dishes, lost and found checks, etc.

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Personnel Training and Safety – Minimum Training Requirements

Guideline Statement

All Animal Control personnel should receive minimum training and seek certification in compliance with state law. Training should include ongoing in-service training in animal control.

Basis for Guideline

Training provides Animal Control personnel with the minimum skills necessary to adequately prepare them for the duties they are about to perform.

Guideline Recommendation

A certified training program, preferably the NACA 100 Level 1 and Level II Training Academy which would include all aspects of animal handling, disease detection, report writing, constitutional law, and professionalism.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety – Pepper Spray/Citronella

Guideline Statement

Pepper Spray and Citronella may be used as non-lethal deterrents to deal with aggressive dogs, wildlife, or hostile people in accordance with specific training. Pepper Spray or Citronella should never be used on cats.

Basis for Guideline

Chemical deterrent sprays are viable alternatives to lethal force when dealing with some aggressive animals and may provide a level of protection against hostile people. NACA recognizes that these chemicals do not work on all species of animals or people in all situations.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that no Animal Control Officer be permitted to carry or use Pepper Spray or Citronella Spray without proper animal related training. NACA further recommends that any agency approving the use of these items must have a written policy regarding their use and insure proper training.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety – Portable Radios

Guideline Statement

All local agencies should make every effort to provide all Animal Control Officers with portable radios/cellular telephones/direct personal communication devices in addition to vehicle radios.

Basis for Guideline

Officers often pursue strays on foot several blocks from their vehicle and frequently encounter hostile owners. This equipment allows officers to call for help or backup in case of emergency.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recognizes that some agencies budgets are small and raising funds can be very challenging yet the officers safety and liability concerns should be first and foremost when deciding how to spend funds available to that agency. Also, officers should be required to carry issued radios at ALL times while duty.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety - Pre-Exposure Rabies Immunizations

Guideline Statement

All animal control officers and those working in the field of animal control should be protected from the possibility of the exposure of rabies.

Basis for Guideline

The rise of rabies in wild populations combined with the increased frequency of animal control handling of wildlife control cases, makes the animal control officer and other personnel a higher risk to exposure than the average citizen.

Guideline Recommendation

Agencies should provide their employees with preexposure rabies immunization programs.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety - Training Certification

Guideline Statement

All Animal Control personnel should received thorough training in all aspects of animal control duties, and should seek certification for such training.

Basis for Guideline

Training certification provides animal control personnel with basic or advanced training which may enhance the professionalism of the animal control agency. Also, it may adequately prepare the officer for a variety of situations that may be encountered.

Guideline Recommendation

A training certification program should be sought for personnel. At the minimum, the training should include the preparation of well written reports and documentation, animal handling techniques, detection of basic animal diseases, techniques for dealing with the public in a professional manner, and constitutional law. Overall, the NACA training manual can serve as a guideline for training programs.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Personnel Training and Safety - Use of Electro Muscular Disruption Device (EMDD) on Animals

Approved: 6/04/05

Revised: 5/17/06; 10/15/09

Guideline Statement

The use of any EMDD (more commonly known by the trade name "Taser") is not recommended by NACA for use on animals for routine capture or restraint. NACA acknowledges that departments may issue EMDDs as a defensive tool to provide Animal Control Officers with non-lethal force in response to aggressive humans or dogs in accordance with agency training, policies and procedures. EMDD's should never be used on domestic cats or other small animals.

Basis for Guideline

NACA recognizes the use of certain weapons originally designed for human restraint may cause serious injury or death to animals in situations of normal use. There is no current data to support the use of any EMDD on animals for routine capture or restraint. NACA does not support the use of these instruments in normal animal control activities. The use of such equipment may lead to serious liability.

Guideline Recommendations

NACA does not recommend the use of any EMDD for the routine capture or restraint of animals. NACA recommends that no Animal Control Officer be permitted to carry or use an EMDD without species-specific training. NACA further recommends that any agency approving the use of this device for animals must have a written policy which includes a deployment protocol, humane veterinary care treatment provisions and a prohibition on use against domestic cats or other small animals.

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Personnel Training and Safety - Vehicle Safety

Guideline Statement

Animal Control Officers should receive driver safety training appropriate to their profession and be provided vehicles equipped with appropriate safety equipment and lighting.

Basis for Guideline

Animal Control Officers should be familiar with the vehicles that they operate on a daily basis. Animal Control vehicles have certain characteristics that present unique operational limitations relating to vehicle safety.

Guideline Recommendation

Animal Control Officers should be provided with defensive driving training using animal transport vehicles that they will be operating on patrol. Special emphasis should be given to backing and turning as well as slow operation of vehicles following animals in residential settings. In addition, Animal Control Officers should receive training regarding general maintenance requirements in order to spot potential safety hazards.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Promotion of Proper Pet Responsibility - Pet Management Training

Guideline Statement

Animal control agencies have a responsibility to promote owners to receive proper pet management training in all circumstances. Lack of, inadequate, or improper training is a common reason for owners to surrender their pets to animal control agencies, or, even worse, to abandon the uncontrollable pet.

Basis for Guideline

Pet management training, when done correctly, teaches owner responsibility, enhances the bond between owner and pet, helps to ensure the pet's place in the home, and benefits the community as a whole.

Guideline Recommendation

Local animal control agencies should keep a list of qualified animal behaviorists and obedience instructors to give out to owners, prospective owners, or citizens who request such information. Agencies may wish to encourage legislation which might require owners to attend training classes in lieu of first time offense fines or court costs.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Promotion of Proper Pet Responsibility - Spaying/Neutering

Guideline Statement

Spaying/neutering education programs must be a vital part of any animal control agency's efforts to reduce animal overpopulation.

Basis for Guideline

Animal overpopulation is considered the number one killer of animals.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA supports the concept of early (8-16 weeks) spay/neutering. All unaltered animals adopted or claimed from the shelter or animal control agency should be considered a candidate for spaying/neutering. Adoption policies regarding spaying/neutering should be developed and implemented, but owner reclaim of unaltered animals presents a unique challenge. All owners should be supplied with information regarding current birth rates and euthanasia rates for shelters nationwide. The benefits of the procedure should be fully explained to all owner of all breeds. Provide a list of qualified referral information for spay/neuter programs.

Altering may be encouraged by establishing higher license fees, impoundment charges, and running-at-large for intact animals.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Rabies Vaccinations

Guideline Statement

All dogs and cats should be immunized against rabies and other communicable diseases deemed necessary by national, state, or local health departments, strict rabies quarantine and/or laboratory analysis of rabies suspect animals should be mandatory, and enforceable by health codes or statutes.

Basis for Guideline

The National Animal Control Association believes that confirmed cases of rabies in domestic pets and humans has greatly diminished primarily due to successful rabies immunization programs. However, the depletion of natural wildlife areas places common wildlife rabies carriers in closer proximity to domestic pets. This fact makes it more important than ever to consistently expand immunization programs.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA recommends that animal control agencies work closely with local health departments to educate the public on this important health concern. The prompt, accurate reporting of animal bites, in spite of proof of rabies vaccinations, will provide for thorough observation and/or laboratory testing of the animal involved.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Scanning for Microchips

Revised: 05/16/04

Guideline Statement

All local agencies should make every effort to locate the owner of a lost animal by using the technology available.

Basis for Guideline

Each year thousands of dogs and cats are impounded at area animal shelters without tags. With the introduction of an effective universal scanner, microchips can be detected more readily. Owners can be notified and reclaim their animals in a more timely manner, in-turn reducing sheltering costs.

Guideline Recommendation

NACA does not encourage the substitution of the microchip for a rabies or license tag. However, tags do get lost and the microchip is an excellent backup for identification. If a microchip is detected, ownership can be determined, the owner notified and the animal returned in a very short time. Owners need to be reminded that their information must be kept current in order for the system to work.

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Support Dogs - Guide/Disabled/Assistance Dogs

Guideline Statement

Local animal control agencies should strive to assist these animals and their owners whenever possible. NACA supports qualified training programs which seek placement of such animals in homes where they are undoubtedly needed.

Basis for Guideline

The training of animals, particularly dogs, to assist the blind, deaf, or disabled, is representative of man's lengthy relationship with companion animals. The symbiotic partnership of animals working with their masters encourages positive owner/animal relationships.

Guideline Recommendation

Laws which reduce or eliminate licensing fees for owners whose animals serve this purpose can be a consideration, providing documented proof or training has been completed. The adoption of dogs to be trained for these purposes is recommended to qualified agencies/individuals.

Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02

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Support Dogs - Patrol/Sentry/Rescue Dogs

Guideline Statement

Dogs trained for sentry, patrol, and rescue purposes serve a need in today's society. NACA recognizes the use of dogs trained for drug enforcement, police work, and military operations providing that humane methods of training are utilized. Adoptions for such purposes only to recognized police, military, or disaster rescue operations should be considered.

Basis for Guideline

A dog trained for such duties by knowledgeable, qualified trainers or handlers generally receives extensive socialization training, as well, making the animal an asset to society, rather than a liability.

Guideline Recommendation

Police and military trainers generally possess the necessary knowledge and training to adequately engage in this specialized training. NACA recommends that these dogs be kept in the same manner or confinement as dogs deemed as dangerous or vicious, when kept by the handler in the home environment; except that disaster rescue dogs or drug enforcement dogs may carry less stringent confinement specifications. These dogs should be licensed by their immediate, designated handlers. Except when engaged in "on duty" operations or activities, law enforcement patrol or assistance dogs and their owners should be subject to existing leash/restraint laws.

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Reviewed/Revised by the NACA Corporate Office - 09/17/02


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