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Working Safe – Dogs and Pets in the Home

Whenever a Torus employee or contractor visits your home, we expect them to feel safe and respected by everyone who lives in the home, including your animal companions.

In the last couple of months, we have noticed a rise in dog-related incidents toward Torus employee and contractors. During the COVID-19 pandemic the RSPCA reported a huge increase in the number of pets being purchased. They estimate that there are 12 million dogs living in people’s homes in the UK, so the likelihood is that our staff and HMS Operatives that go into properties will encounter dogs, and other pets.

The law

Under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, dog owners are responsible for controlling their dog, both in their own home or on someone else’s property.

Allowing your dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ is against the law on private property, as well as in public. An exemption is in place if a dog bites someone who has no legal right to be in your home, for example a burglar. 

You will need to make sure your dog is not a threat to anyone who visits your property, such as delivery drivers, postal workers, health workers and other professionals who may visit your property, such as Torus staff and contractors, including HMS operatives.

A dog doesn’t have to bite or physically injure someone for an offence to take place. If a person feels your dog may hurt them, they may still be considered ‘dangerously out of control’. This applies to dogs of all sizes, breeds and types.

Owners can be prosecuted if their dog attacks someone in their home, including in their front and back gardens, or in private property, such as a pub.

What you can do:

Dog owners are responsible for their pets and have a duty to keep their dogs under control.

We know that the majority of our dog-owning customers are responsible, but even the most placid dog can growl or even bite if they feel threatened or anxious, this is how dogs communicate.

Having work carried out on your house can be quite stressful for the people whose home it is, but it can also be stressful for your dog!  Unusual noises and the presence of tradespeople and other strangers in your home can be very confusing for your dog.  

If you are having works done in your home or you are having a visit about your tenancy, then we ask that you do what you can to make sure that there that there are no incidences of growling, chasing, scratching, mouthing, jumping or biting.  Here are some top tips:

Door manners
If your dog barks uncontrollably, lunges at the door, jumps up on visitors, or is just generally rowdy when they hear a knock of the doorbell, then do not allow them to be in that area when you open the door.

Safe spaces
If your dog is crate trained and comfortable in the crate when you are not home, place the crate in the quietest part of the house, away from the construction. If they prefers to be out, acclimate them to staying in a room with the door closed. 

You can also set up a baby gate between the door where your dog will be kept and where the workers are working.

Recognise stress in your dog
We recommend reading about canine body language so you can tell when your dog is uncomfortable in a situation at home.  It’s importance that you recognise when your dog is unhappy wants people to stay away.  Here are some signs to look out for:

1.    Dog is standing with a stiffened body posture, weight forward, ears are up, hair raised, eyes looking at you pupils dark and enlarged, tail is up and stiff, wrinkled nose.
2.    Dog is lying down cowering, ears flat, teeth showing, tail down between legs.
3.    Dog is standing with body down and weight towards the back, head is tilted upwards, mouth tight, lips drawn back, teeth exposed, eyes staring, ears back and down, snarling.

We don’t want your dog or any pets to feel anxious and our staff have the right to work in safe environment, by working together we can reduce these incidents and keep everyone safe.
 

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