The tragic incident involving the death of a beloved kitty while entrusted to a boarding facility is such heartbreaking news. We can hardly imagine the shock, horror, anger and grief all amalgamated in one. 💔
As we caught up with what was shared by the kitty pawrent who got embroiled in this incident, the gut-wrenching words "Sorry we let you fall into the wrong hands" are the saddest because all of us familiar with a sense of guilt know how awful it can be. 😢😔
While reflecting on what has happened, and in the same spirit of the kitty pawrent who shared the incident out of social responsibility, we thought one way we can contribute is to pull back the curtain on what goes on behind the scenes of becoming an AVS licensed boarding facility.
Many boarding facilities are unlicensed
There are many unlicensed boarding facilities around, which means they offer boarding services that are not regulated by AVS (Animal and Veterinary Service) and therefore not subject to their governance.
One straightforward giveaway of an unlicensed boarding facility is if the facility operates out of a private residence. AVS licensed facilities are required to operate out of a commercial lease.
A second manner of verifying if a boarding facility is licensed is to look out for the AVS licence number. (Dare we say?) all AVS licensed boarding facilities are likely to openly state their AVS licence number on their website or social media account.
But, does a license matter?
This surely comes down to each individual kitty pawrent's autonomy.
It may or may not matter, as caretaking services fundamentally condense down to trust (so key!) between both parties.
What is about to follow is our sharing on some BTS information of what goes on in the process of obtaining an AVS boarding licence, in hopes that what is shared will allow any kitty pawrent reading this to make a well-informed choice when deciding on the entrusting of your beloved kitty / kitties.
One – Accountability
All licensed boarding facilities are accountable to AVS for their operating procedures.
Prior to becoming operational, the boarding facility must first attend an educational course conducted by veterinarians on local regulations and respective animal behaviours and handling. Only upon completion of the course may the boarding facility indicate intention to apply for a boarding licence.
Upon application, the layout plans of the facility as well as the operational procedures are to be submitted to AVS for their review, and if the review goes smoothly, AVS then arranges for an audit of the premises and addresses any outstanding issues. All necessary corrective actions have to be implemented, with supporting evidence provided to AVS, before the licence to operate is then issued.
AVS subsequently audits the licensee yearly in order to re-issue the boarding licence (which has a one-year validity). At the same time, any dispute that may arise also comes under the purview of AVS as the issuer of the boarding licence.
In summary, for licensed facilities, there are multiple levels of accountability and checks in place between the boarding facility and AVS – all of which benefits and ensures the safety of the consumer (both kitty guests and kitty pawrents)!
In contrast, unlicensed facilities are free to operate in any manner as is befitting to them, and is not subject to the governance of our local regulatory authority.
Two – Industry Guidelines
From the mandatory educational course, as well as AVS guidelines, all licensed boarding facilities are required to adhere to guidelines put in place by the relevant professionals within the animal industry.
Cabins for board are designed and constructed in accordance to the guidelines drafted up by AVS that ensure the comfort and well-being of each respective animal specie.
Not just that, AVS guidelines also state some mandatory items in consideration for the well-being of each animal specie that must be included within each cabin. For example, it is compulsory for kitties (and not for dogs, rabbits, hamsters, etc.) to have a scratch mat in each cabin out of consideration for their instinctive need to scratch and sharpen their claws.
These guidelines by AVS are drafted by well-informed professionals of the field in consideration for the animals that come under the care of the boarding facility. In turn, all these guidelines must be factored into the layout of each boarding facility as well as the operational procedures, which are then subject to the audit process by AVS.
By contrast, unlicensed boarding facilities may or may not order their premise layout or operational procedures according to such guidelines.
Conclusion – you get to decide!
We hope that sharing some of these BTS snippets have been helpful or useful in some way, but more importantly we hope that it allows every kitty pawrent reading this to gain a little more understanding and to make a well-informed choice, whichever you choose!
As kitty pawrents ourselves, we only came to understand these things as we entered the industry, and may never have come to know all these matters otherwise. We believe gaining understanding would have helped us choose and decide in a more informed manner, and hope that this sharing enables you to as well! 😊