Do you ever require visitors to sign liability waivers before interacting directly with animals? We had a bite situation recently and the visitor has engaged an attorney. We feel the visitor did not listen to staff when interacting with the dog and inadvertently provoked the dog. The bite was not bad, but was to her face. People should not kiss dogs!
Anyway, our liability insurance adjustor asked me if we had people sign a waiver. My first reaction was "well that makes it sound really fun to visit the dogs!" Then I wondered if other shelters have a way to have people acknowledge that living animals in a stressful situation could be dangerous without making the shelter sound like a very dangerous place?
Interested to hear from anyone who has conquered this mountain.
To meet any of our animals, we have a general sign-in sheet that doubles as an adoption survey. It asks for very limited information such as name, address, contact information, and people/animals in the household (kids/etc) so we can put it in our system if they choose to continue to adopt, but right before they sign their name we have a small stipulation that states by signing in to meet with an animal, they understand that there is a natural risk of injury not limited to scratches or bites that may happen. A few of the other places I've worked in have also switched to this system of "signing in" before allowing people to meet the animals because yeah, unfortunately, some people just really love to give kisses to strange animals :(
We always require that everyone entering our shelter sign a Liability Waiver. We have never once had any pushback or negative remarks.
------------------------------Mona HicksCanine Humane NetworkHighland MD3017757661------------------------------
Would you be able to share that language?
------------------------------Mona HicksCanine Humane NetworkHighland MD3017757661Original Message:Sent: 03-10-2023 08:54 AMFrom: Johanna HumbertSubject: Liability Waiver to Visit Animals?
Our wording is: "By signing in to meet with an animal, I understand and accept the inherent risk in this activity, including but not limited to scratches or bites. I agree to hold Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester harmless from any liability or expenses that may arise should something occur."
I've thought about having volunteers sign a waiver for volunteering at our foster homes but have not had time to make one up. I especially want to do this for underage volunteers so if anyone could share one that would be great.
We do have liability insurance to cover volunteers if anything were to happen.
May I ask what company you get your liability insurance from? We are a foster based rescue and our one insurance company that we had last year quoted $2,000 (compared to $500) for this year. We don't have the funds for it right now and trying to investigate other options. Thank you!
We use United States Liability Insurance Group 866-632-2003 It is about $400 a year.. We are a small rescue based non-profit as well so this is definitely what we can afford too.
Can you provide the name of the agent you have worked with? I called United States Liability Insurance and they said I needed an agent in order to contact them. Thank you!
Frank CaseyAccount Manager
I don't know why the company names are different but this is our account manager and he has been really helpful as we have had to have things added and changed quickly to secure a city TNVR purchase order.
I think this is a great idea and I presented it, but I am tasked with providing examples if anyone want to share their form.
We are not open to the public for visits but we do require anyone who comes to the sanctuary, including adopters, volunteers, grant site visitors, to sign a release of liability waiver. It states that the visitor cannot hold our nonprofit liable as well as our board of directors, founders, and volunteers.
I wonder if a sign on the door to the kennel area would work for the general public so you don't have to have every visitor sign a waiver. Maybe something similar to the signs required to be posted at all equestrian properties - "Under Virginia law, an equine activity sponsor or professional shall not be liable for any injury to, or death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risk of equine activities". I worked at a county facility and I know it absolutely would not work for us to have every single person sign a waiver.
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