What is a Pet Assessment?
What is a Pet Assessment?
For many prospective and existing carers who are pet owners it may seem strange to be asked for a risk assessment on your family pet, however, it is an expectation that an assessment should be undertaken with the focus on the safety of the child being paramount alongside the potential benefits to a child being placed.
There are many positive aspects to having a family pet, companionship, unconditional affection, an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and an element of a secure home environment.
It is important to know when prospective carers own a dangerous/banned dog (see GOV.UK website on banned dogs breeds) will not be considered unless they agree to the removal of the dog. This will also affect the registration of an existing carer. If an approved carer acquires a dangerous/banned dog, their approval will need to be terminated if they are not prepared to cease ownership.
Before accepting a child to be placed in your home pet owners will need to take account of the child’s history, possible fear of dogs or other animals, or ill-treatment of animals and the child’s particular needs or allergies.
Careful consideration and assessment should be given to the number of pets/dogs, in particular, households where there are packs of dogs (more than2/3).
The assessment is approached using a Health and Safety perspective and considers the following key points:
- How and where are the dogs or animals kept?
- Will they be accessible to children in any way?
- What risk to health and safety could there be to a child?
- How would the carer feel or react if their dog/animal was hurt by a child?
On occasions, other professionals may be asked for their views, such as a vet as a part of the assessment process.
Consideration should also be given to the breeding of animals and or working animals and how this might impact the welfare of the child.
Foster Carers need to remember that the safety of the child placed is paramount and it is the responsibility of the carer to demonstrate the pet’s ability to cope with children and that they have a responsible and good understanding of the issues involved.
As carers, we need to consider whether our pets are used to children and how this might impact their wellbeing. All dogs have the potential to be dangerous and there is always a possibility that a child could provoke an attack. Carers need to demonstrate that they can supervise and keep both a pet and a child to avoid a dangerous situation occurring.
All animals are considered on an individual basis during the assessment.
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