"The welfare of dogs is of paramount importance to all concerned in the development of partnerships involving mental health." Craig MacLellan CEO
It is already accepted that among veterans with PTSD there is acknowledgement to the way animals create a sense of safety and security for their human companions; but equal attention needs to be paid to the safety and welfare of any dogs used as an intervention for mental health.
Safety is an important concern when using dogs in any health care capacity. Specifically, the safety of the animal, the human companion, and the general public.
As a founding organisation in the field of enriching the quality of life, and enhancing the independence of Veterans living with mental health difficulties by providing specially trained dogs, VETERANS WITH DOGS bears special responsibility to ensure the welfare of all dogs is exemplary.
Commonly, the main emphasis of dog welfare is placed on the role of training, to ensure that the dogs are fully prepared for a match with their human. Additionally, there are important factors of ongoing veterinary care. We provide our extended support partnerships with education and training via health care professionals and care providers on the role of assistance dogs in mental health.
Our constant internal review methods drive the standards that we work to and aim to achieve. We set high professional standards which we continue to improve from our procedures, policies and working practices.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006
Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.
What does this mean for those responsible for animals?
In short it means they must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:
need for a suitable environment
need for a suitable diet
need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.