FAQ

AnimalKind FAQ

Does the BC SPCA follow AnimalKind standards in their own branches?

Yes, the BC SPCA follows AnimalKind standards in our branches when we need dog training and wildlife and pest control. We only use reward-based training methods for dogs in our care and BC SPCA staff members oversee volunteers who walk dogs or carry out behavioural modification activities to ensure they follow BC SPCA policies.

For wildlife and rodent control, wherever possible the BC SPCA hires AnimalKind accredited companies to do work in our branches. When accredited companies are not available, we require whoever is providing the pest control service to follow AnimalKind standards.

How does the BC SPCA audit AnimalKind companies?

The BC SPCA audits AnimalKind companies every year using our robust, certified auditing processes. Auditors look at facilities and equipment, review business records and staff qualifications. Dog training auditors also speak to trainers and observe dog training classes. Pest control auditors speak to technicians and observe pest control work in progress.

Our audit follows auditing best practices established by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). The mission of PAACO is to promote animal welfare through auditor training and audit certification. AnimalKind pest control standards and audit have been peer-reviewed and achieved certification from PAACO, demonstrating they have met these internationally-recognized animal welfare auditing standards.

Customers and the public are also encouraged to provide feedback on AnimalKind companies through our email info@animalkind.ca.

What happens if a complaint is made against an accredited company?

Customers and the public can make complaints about AnimalKind companies by calling the BC SPCA Call Centre at (1-855-622-7722) or by emailing info@animalkind.ca.

When a complaint is made, the BC SPCA will gather information from the complainant. If the complaint could possibly be an incident of animal cruelty, then the information is forwarded to the Cruelty Investigations Department. If otherwise, then AnimalKind staff will investigate the complaint as a compliance issue and the affected company will be contacted. All information related to the complaint is reviewed by the BC SPCA senior management team who decide the appropriate action. The full complaints process is outlined in the AnimalKind Operations Manual (PDF).

When will AnimalKind accredited dog daycares and kennels be available?

We are currently developing science-based standards for dog daycares and kennels and have been consulting with experts and operators in the dog-boarding industry. We hope to begin piloting accreditation of these industries in early 2021.

Dog Training Accreditation FAQ

How were AnimalKind dog training standards developed?

Standards for dog training (PDF) were developed after a thorough review of scientific research (PDF), with feedback from international animal behaviour and dog training experts, and in-person consultations with 36 dog trainers from BC. Development also included a public comment period which gathered additional feedback from dog trainers, community veterinarians, animal behaviour associations, kennel clubs, service dog organizations and other humane organizations. AnimalKind standards also reflect the animal welfare values of the BC SPCA as outlined in the position statement on Animal Training.

Read the scientific review of dog training methods (PDF) that informed AnimalKind standards, or watch the webinar (YouTube) explaining the science behind the standards.

Why does AnimalKind only endorse certain trainer qualifications?

There are many schools, certifications and designations for dog trainers and it is hard to know what they all mean. Science has shown that reward-based training methods are more effective and better for dogs than methods that cause pain or fear, yet these harmful methods continue to be used and taught in some dog trainer schools. AnimalKind will not endorse dog trainer schools or certification programs that allow new dog trainers to use aversive training methods.

The dog trainer schools and certifications that make a trainer eligible for accreditation have met a set of criteria which are listed in the AnimalKind standards.

Do AnimalKind dog training standards ever allow aversive training methods to be used?

Science has shown that reward-based training methods are more effective and better for dogs than methods that cause pain or fear. AnimalKind standards require dog trainers to use positive, reward-based training methods. Aversive methods are not permitted.

Are head collars considered an aversive training tool by AnimalKind standards?

No, not if used properly. Head collars can be aversive to some dogs, but this can often be prevented with proper fitting and careful introduction of the tool. Trainers can help prevent or change a negative reaction to head collars by using positive reinforcement, desensitization and counterconditioning methods to build a positive association with the head collar.

Can spray bottles be used to distract dogs or to de-escalate aggressive behaviour?

Use of spray bottles to intervene in an emergency situation is acceptable (i.e. to break up a dog fight, to stop a dog from doing something that might injure themselves). However, spray bottles should not be used as a primary training method or a substitute for dog management practices that focus on preventing unwanted behaviours.

Can reactive dogs be trained using positive-only training methods?

Yes! Reactive dogs respond well to positive-reinforcement training when it is done correctly and under the guidance of a skilled dog trainer. The easiest way to help your reactive dog is to find an AnimalKind accredited trainer to work with.

A skilled trainer will determine the reason behind your dog’s reactive behaviours (might be fearful, frustrated, or the behaviour might just be a habit). Once the reason is known, the trainer will design an appropriate training plan that will help you teach your dog new behaviours to replace reactive ones. Most importantly, a good trainer will never use fear or pain to train your reactive dog – instead, they’ll use reward-based methods to motivate and make training fun for your dog.

Can AnimalKind trainers sell pet food or treats?

AnimalKind accredited dog training businesses may sell and promote food products for dogs (including raw animal protein food products). However, AnimalKind trainers may not make therapeutic nutritional recommendations to dog owners as these should only be made by veterinarians. The BC SPCA discourages the feeding of raw food as the whole diet to dogs due to veterinary and public health concerns associated with these diets.

Can AnimalKind trainers offer anesthesia-free dental services?

No, AnimalKind accredited dog training businesses may not sell or promote non-professional dental scaling services (also known as “anesthesia-free dentals”, “cosmetic cleaning of the visible portion of a dog’s teeth”, and “above the gum line dental care”).

The BC SPCA recommends that guardians obtain advice on their dogs’ dental health from a veterinarian. The BC SPCA does not condone the provision of dental services by non-veterinarians due to the potential to induce high levels of stress and fear from animal handling and restraint practices and the health risk to dogs from undiagnosed dental disease.

Can BC SPCA staff members become accredited by AnimalKind?

AnimalKind is a voluntary accreditation program for businesses and organizations that provide dog training services. If BC SPCA staff members operate training businesses in addition to their employment at the BC SPCA, their business is eligible to apply for accreditation. The BC SPCA follows AnimalKind dog training standards (PDF) and uses only reward-based training methods for dogs in our care.

Wildlife & Rodent Control FAQ

What does it mean when a pest control company says they are humane?

Any company can call themselves “humane” – but like many food-labelling claims, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are using animal-friendly methods. AnimalKind companies follow our science-based standards (PDF) and pass the auditing process before they can become accredited. The standards are online so you can read them and know exactly what to expect from an AnimalKind company.

Are AnimalKind wildlife and rodent control methods non-lethal?

There are very few reasons to ever use lethal methods on wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, squirrels, beavers or birds and AnimalKind standards (PDF) describe these very specific situations.

However, the BC SPCA supports use of lethal methods when a rodent population is present and causing public health and safety concerns. A quick response when a rodent population is still small will help ensure that the fewest number of mice and rats possible experience harm. Any lethal control should always be followed by a prevention plan to stop the population from growing again. Species-specific snap traps that are in locked and secured boxes are the best option for situations where lethal rodent control is absolutely necessary. Avoid poison use if possible.

Sadly, wild rodents living in buildings are a health and safety risk to people and pets. Wild rats and mice are much less healthy than pet rats or mice born and raised under human care. Contact with the urine, feces, saliva, fur or dander of wild rats and mice can transmit diseases to people and pets. It can also make people with asthma or allergies more sick. Rats and mice can also increase the risk of fires when their gnawing damages electrical systems and building structures.

Does AnimalKind allow use of rodenticides?

AnimalKind allows the use of lethal methods, including certain legal rodenticides when a rodent population is present and causing public health and safety concerns. Rodenticides should never be used continuously to manage rodents without also using prevention and exclusion methods and taking steps to prevent the rodent population from growing again.

Rodent poisons or “rodenticides” are legal and used widely, but they cause a slow and painful death. Rodenticides are also dangerous for owls, eagles and even cats that eat poisoned rodents. Rodenticides should only be used as a last resort when there are no other viable options.

The BC SPCA supports prevention and exclusion as the main method to control rats and mice. Sadly, wild rodents living in buildings are a health and safety risk to people and pets. Wild rats and mice are much less healthy than pet rats or mice born and raised under human care. Contact with the urine, feces, saliva, fur or dander of wild rats and mice can transmit diseases to people. It can also make people with asthma or allergies more sick. Rats and mice can also increase the risk of fires when their gnawing damages electrical systems and building structures.

Download the rodent-proofing guide and checklist (PDF).

Read about rodenticides.

Does AnimalKind use glueboards?

AnimalKind does not allow the use of glueboards.

Members of the public should never use glueboards as these plastic or metal trays coated with glue are designed to catch rodents – not kill them. Birds, small wildlife and even pets can get caught in these traps. Read more about glueboards.

What is different about AnimalKind pest control?

Companies in the AnimalKind program follow our standards which reflect the kindest, most animal-friendly way possible to resolve wildlife and rodent problems. Glueboards are not used. Wildlife, such as raccoons, skunks, squirrels and beavers, are gently excluded from undesirable locations and not trapped and relocated far from their home range. The BC SPCA encourages people to coexist with our wild neighbours, but we know it is not healthy or safe for wildlife and rodents to be living inside our homes or workplaces.

Does AnimalKind trap and relocate wildlife?

AnimalKind accredited companies do not trap and relocate wildlife. When wildlife is trapped and relocated, animals often injure themselves and may die trying to escape a trap. Relocated animals have to set up a new home, and may starve trying to find food or get into fights with other animals over territory.

When you trap animals, you also risk separating a mother from her babies. Even if you move an entire family, a mother may abandon her young due to pressure to find food and care for the babies. To remove an animal, an AnimalKind wildlife and rodent control company will use animal-friendly wildlife-proofing and one-way doors instead of trapping/relocating. In the rare situation that an animal is at immediate risk of harm and must be live-trapped, an AnimalKind company will release the animal in its home range.

How were AnimalKind standards for pest control developed?

AnimalKind standards (PDF) are evidence-based using the latest science in wildlife and rodent control. They were developed in consultation and with feedback from academic and pest control industry experts. The standards have also undergone expert peer-review and meet or exceed the legal requirements for wildlife and rodent control in BC and Canada. In addition, AnimalKind pest control standards and audit have achieved certification from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO), demonstrating they have met these internationally-recognized animal welfare auditing standards.

PAACO