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Old 11.03.2011, 13:16
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Swiss Tierheims [Animal Shelters) - the insights

A pianist, violinist and cellist will be gathering in June for a evening of music this summer. They will not be charging for tickets but will put out a basket for the audience to donate if they want to, at the end. As one of the musicians is rather batty about animals, she would like her portion will be donated to a tierheim here in Switzerland - and I bet if she gets her way, the entire collection will be too.

As its not going to be a big event, the amount will not be that significant but hopefully, every little will help as I assume that most if not all of them are privately funded?

Appreciate any comments from anyone out there who have adopted from a Swiss tierheim about how they work and function based on your experiences. Any nominations (with reasons) are welcomed too. The only criteria is that the tierheim has to be a no-kill shelter.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11.03.2011, 14:00
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Well, there are the two very dedicated ladies who run SOS Chats in Noiraigue, which is basically an old folks home for cats of all ages that have been traumatised by re-homing and can no longer be re-homed. They all live together in a big pen and can stay there until they die of old age, or in some cases, have to be put to sleep due to illness. One cat they have with them was found with a load of junkies and it turned out that the cat was addicted to heroine, so they had to detox the poor thing first... Definitely a no kill shelter and the owners also are involved with other animal causes. The are also campaigners against the import of animal furs that come from dogs and cats farmed in terrible conditions.

Of course, there are no dogs. Ok, the one dog who herds the cats when they have to come in at night.

Also, let me know when this music evening is, I'd love to come. And donate.
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Old 11.03.2011, 14:54
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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As its not going to be a big event, the amount will not be that significant but hopefully, every little will help as I assume that most if not all of them are privately funded?
A few words of insight based on an estate issue in the family, in giving to a shelter. The majority of shelters have some type of public backing, ie. subsidies, supported by Canton or communal/city authorities, etc. Thus, they are funded, albeit not totally, in a lot in which they do. Because of this, they are not deemed independent, their policies are often determined by the authorities. There are some, albeit much smaller number, of 'private' shelters who basically determine their own policies, and are dependent on donations, etc. Having personally looked into a number of them, given the inheritance criteria of this family member, I would be very careful if you need or desire to know how this money will be used. A transparent and open organsiaton is difficult to find, not to mention one that follows any norms of accounting or non-profit organisation philosophies.

Also, fyi, in Swiss romande, a multi-millionaire died in the last year or so, and his son decided to give all the money to the swiss romande animal shelters. A lot of legal wrangling going on to determine who gets what, but essentially all the animal shelters in this area are likely to be well funded for quite some time, each getting something like a million or more based on what I recall reading in the local paper.
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Old 11.03.2011, 15:00
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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A few words of insight based on an estate issue in the family, in giving to a shelter. The majority of shelters have some type of public backing, ie. subsidies, supported by Canton or communal/city authorities, etc. Thus, they are funded, albeit not totally, in a lot in which they do. Because of this, they are not deemed independent, their policies are often determined by the authorities. There are some, albeit much smaller number, of 'private' shelters who basically determine their own policies, and are dependent on donations, etc. Having personally looked into a number of them, given the inheritance criteria of this family member, I would be very careful if you need or desire to know how this money will be used. A transparent and open organsiaton is difficult to find, not to mention one that follows any norms of accounting or non-profit organisation philosophies.

Also, fyi, in Swiss romande, a multi-millionaire died in the last year or so, and his son decided to give all the money to the swiss romande animal shelters. A lot of legal wrangling going on to determine who gets what, but essentially all the animal shelters in this area are likely to be well funded for quite some time, each getting something like a million or more based on what I recall reading in the local paper.
Thank you - this is very very helpful insight. I dont suppose you have any recommendations or feedback about specific tierheims do you?
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Old 11.03.2011, 15:04
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

That's why I mentioned SOS Chats, they are not funded by the canton.
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Old 11.03.2011, 15:15
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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Thank you - this is very very helpful insight. I dont suppose you have any recommendations or feedback about specific tierheims do you?
Perhaps looking a crossed purposes, but when looking at shelters for the purpose of this inheritance, there were very specific criteria of the deceased that had to be upheld, in fact very very difficult. Your only criteria seems to be 'no kill', which is very possible to find. You might also want to develop other criteria to help you consider your decision, if there are other things of importance to you.

On a personal level, have given donations to SPA Fribourg, as have adopted from there and found them very helpful, etc. It appears they are no kill based on what I've seen, but haven't asked the question directly.
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Old 27.05.2011, 13:04
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Bumping up this thread for advice.

Iam about to apply to volunteer in a tierheim in Aargau (ATs, steinenbühlstrasse) and am excited about it. Im in contact with the management/concerned person and have been given details/forms but all in german. My husband is out of town in a hectic project and i cant wait for him to translate them to me. I know about google translate but its not accurate enough to understand these infos.

If anyone has experience please share to me what i need to consider. Does anyone know anything about this specific tierheim? Is it accessible by bus? if not i will be getting a bike anyway.

Also, can i volunteer to do walks, and other things with my daughter tagging along? She has kinder in morning and afternoon class only twice a week.

How tight will they be about the schedule that i commit to?

Of course i can ask the tierheim about such but it takes days for them to answer. Id appreciate any quick info on this. Thanks

(i have an issue about phonecalls, some kind of disorder so i avoid calls as much as possible)
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Old 27.05.2011, 20:17
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Probably too late on this thread, but since it's been brought up again, I just wanted to add to it.

From what I understand all Swiss shelters are no kill, ie they are not allowed to kill the animals. Is that not correct? (actually, if it's not correct, I don't want to know).

If you DO want to give money to help save animals I would look elsewhere to give your donation, like Portugal where there are few shelters, plenty of animals that need help and poor funding for helping animals as animal rights issues are not seen as important.

There is a donkey sanctuary in Portugal that needs funding.
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Old 27.05.2011, 20:24
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

I think you´re right about not prioritizing tierheims here for donations. Well, i was urged to call them up and found out i will get chf 1.20 per minute if i walk their dogs. I was expecting close to nothing but pleasantly surprised with this. I just hope (somehow i doubt they alow) i could do it on a regular basis. 3x a week at least.
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Old 27.05.2011, 21:45
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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I think you´re right about not prioritizing tierheims here for donations. Well, i was urged to call them up and found out i will get chf 1.20 per minute if i walk their dogs. I was expecting close to nothing but pleasantly surprised with this. I just hope (somehow i doubt they alow) i could do it on a regular basis. 3x a week at least.
Wow! That's amazing that they actually pay you to take the dogs out. Not a bad deal for a nice walk out. Hopefully you & the pups will enjoy.
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Old 27.05.2011, 23:29
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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Is that not correct? (actually, if it's not correct, I don't want to know).
Not quite correct.

Animal welfare in Switzerland is far, far better than in many other countries. There is not an automatic kill-by date as in most countries (UK strays have 7 days, many US states 3 days, etc.), but dogs deemed unhealthy or of unsafe temperament may indeed be euthanized.

It is uncommon that a shelter makes the decision to euthanize an animal, but it does happen.

In Swiss law, an animal does not have an absolute right to life. However - if alive, an animal has the right to an 'artgerecht' life in humane conditions - and a humane death if that is the only solution.

Fortunately, there are many, many dedicated people working their fingers to the bone day in and day out to ensure that the animals in their care find forever homes, and that the animals are given a good life in the shelter while waiting for that home.

Fortunately Switzerland is not faced with the overwhelming numbers of homeless, abandoned or unwanted animals that is the reality in many other countries - and therefore animals in Swiss Tierheime (and those who care for them) are usually spared the ugly reality of what happens when there simply are no homes available, no kennel spaces in which to house animals while searching for homes.


A concern now is what will happen to dogs of the banned breeds in Zürich who were handed into shelters when the law came into force. They cannot be rehomed in the canton - and quite frankly, very few folks from other cantons are willing to take on a listed breed. Will these dogs be allowed to live 10+ years in shelters? That's the elephant in the room...


As mentioned, the situation here is far better than elsewhere. I thank doG everyday that the mutts I adopted from Swiss Tierheime - elderly, handicapped, or simply flippin' nutcases - had the good fortune to land in shelters in Switzerland and not elsewhere. In other countries, my guys would not have had a snowball's chance in hell.

Nonetheless, one cannot get complacent.

---

It must be said:

No matter where it happens, one cannot forget that the ultimate blame for deaths in shelters should be place firmly at the source: with irresponsible owners who abandon their animals, with unethical breeders who give no thought to what will happen to the animals they produce.

Last edited by meloncollie; 27.05.2011 at 23:59.
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Old 28.05.2011, 00:04
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Thanks for your post.

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A concern now is what will happen to dogs of the banned breeds in Zürich who were handed into shelters when the law came into force. They cannot be rehomed in the canton - and quite frankly, very few folks from other cantons are willing to take on a listed breed. Will these dogs be allowed to live 10+ years in shelters? That's the elephant in the room...

Oh, let's not go there. That whole things makes me crazy!
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Old 28.05.2011, 00:07
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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Animal welfare in Switzerland is far, far better than in many - if not most - other countries.
I fully agree. Plus: They seem to be well funded by the various levels of "government" already.

Bottom line for me would be: There are probably other charities that need money much more urgently and money could make a much bigger impact than being the "icing on the cake" of a well funded place.

There are countless of options. If you do want to really help animals in Europe that need money and suffered badly, on special suggestion: The Dutch stichting aap - "ape foundation":
Quote:
AAP is a European rescue centre and sanctuary for primates and other exotic mammals. Based in the Netherlands, we house animals from all over Europe. They have been confiscated, abandoned or offered by private owners as a result of illegal trade, were being exhibited in illegal zoos or used in biomedical research or the entertainment industry.
Basically if the authorities want to close down a circus for animal abuse somewhere in Europe, the victims often end up in the Netherlands. I have seen several TV programs on them and to me it looks like apes can get really badly traumatized...

They are independent and completely privately funded, which typically translates to "need money for basic things like food".
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Old 28.05.2011, 10:38
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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Does anyone know anything about this specific tierheim? Is it accessible by bus? if not i will be getting a bike anyway.
I know it well. It is not accessible by bus and up a steep hill. Not sure a bike will help at all. Walking might be the simplest.
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Old 28.05.2011, 10:44
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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I know it well. It is not accessible by bus and up a steep hill. Not sure a bike will help at all. Walking might be the simplest.

Do you happen to know how volunteering there works? the schedule? They told me its on a day to day basis. I was hoping doing it part time until daughter is in gradeschool. They just asked me to show my health insurance card and maybe we can arrange things from there..but not sure as when i called up, they simply reserved a dog for me for a specific day. Maybe i didnt fully understand it.
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Old 28.05.2011, 13:38
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Stephanie, since you mention that you are not fully comfortable with the German, I've taken a gander at the 'Hundespaziergangsdienst ATs' link; here is a (very) rough translation:

http://www.tierschutz-aargau.ch/site...enst%20ATs.pdf

---

Dogs may only be walked by adults. One dog per person.

Dogs must be kept on lead. The shelter's insurance only covers accidents when a dog is handled correctly.

The shelter is not responsible for damaged clothing, jewelry, etc.

A tetanus vac is recommended. Speak to your doctor.

For safety's sake we recommend that dogs be kept away from other unknown dogs. (My comment - speak to the shelter personnel as to how best to do this for each individual.)

Don't 'switch' dogs on your own initiative. Should you have problems with the dogs assigned to you, bring him back to the Tierheim and speak to the shelter personnel about your concerns.

Despite taking precautions, should there be an incident, inform the shelter personnel immediately.

During your walks with the dog, if you notice behavior issues, inform the shelter personnel. This information is important in finding the right kind of home for the dog.

We thank you in advance for always picking up after the dogs, and depositing the poo bags appropriately in the Robidogs.

The shelter personnel are responsible for determining which dog you will walk. As far as possible, you wishes will be considered.

Please plan your walks in accordance with our opening times.

ATs may determine, if rules are broken, that the person is no longer allowed to walk the dogs.

You will be asked to sign a disclaimer saying you have a copy of these rules, and that you have read the brochure 'Hundespaziergänger Fibel' (My comment: http://www.tierschutz-aargau.ch/site...oschuere_1.pdf This is a very good article by the Suzy Utzinger Foundation, too long to translate here - but which you must read, or have your husband translate for you) which is also linked. You will need to give your details, including your accident insurance policy.

----

Now a disclaimer: I do not know this Tierheim at all, nor am I familiar with any of their policies. The following comments are mine alone, based on my experiences as a rescue volunteer with various different groups. Take what I say with a grain of salt - but in any event, please discuss expectations - yours and the rescue's - in detail with the shelter personnel.

Some general thoughts:

First - good on you for doing this!

Safety first and at all times - yours, your child's, the dog's, and strangers you may encounter. Never forget this. A volunteer dog walker is there to help the dogs, the worst thing a walker can do is to put a dog into a situation he is unable to handle at the moment. Whilst one may have the best of intentions, the wrong kind of freedom, the wrong kind of interaction can have adverse consequences. Your job as a dog walker is to ensure that the dog gets appropriate, safe exercise and has enjoyable, safe experiences on his walks. As such, you need to be focused on the dog's behavior, on your behavior, be aware of the consequences of your choices at all times. Anything else is not fair to the dog.

How old is your child? Is your child 'dog savvy'? Will your child obey your instructions instantly, at all times? Does your child understand that some dogs like petting and cuddling, and some do not - that she needs to ask permission from you first before touching the dog? Talk to your child beforehand about what she should, and should not do, and make sure that she knows she must do as you say, no questions asked.

Were it me, I would first volunteer for some time without bringing my child along. I'd want to get to know the shelter staff, I'd want them to get to know me, to assess my capabilities as a dog handler, I'd want to get to know the dogs first, to determine for myself which are a good match for interacting with my child.

Never, ever let your child take charge of the dog - holding the lead is your job, your responsibility.

A Tierheim can be a stressful atmosphere for some dogs - some react with hyperactivity, some react by becoming shut down. Many of course take it in stride and are very easy to work with. Some dogs are already well trained and socialized, easy to walk. Some need more guidance and training. Be honest about your skills - better to under- rather than overestimate your capabilities. Do not hesitate to tell the staff if you are uncomfortable taking charge of a particular animal.

Speak with the shelter staff at length about how they train dogs. You need to follow their program, their instructions. Using different techniques can send conflicting messages and confuse an animal - possibly making it harder for him to find a home.

Volunteering is a very, very rewarding experience - you are in a position to give a dog not only exercise but also the mental stimulation and socialization he needs. You are are giving him valuable skills to help him find his forever home. It's a big responsibility - and also a true joy. You are, quite literally, saving a life.


--


Hope you enjoy your volunteer engagement - you are doing a very good thing.

Last edited by meloncollie; 28.05.2011 at 14:03.
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Old 28.05.2011, 13:59
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

Tank comes from st Catherines in Lausanne, beautifull place and the dogs seem to be well treaded. Then Ouzo who came from Greece was helped by the following organization here in CH: http://www.wirvermitteln.ch/

thanks for the good cause
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Old 28.05.2011, 18:49
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Re: Swiss Tierheims - the insights

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Stephanie, since you mention that you are not fully comfortable with the German, I've taken a gander at the 'Hundespaziergangsdienst ATs' link; here is a (very) rough translation:

http://www.tierschutz-aargau.ch/site...enst%20ATs.pdf

---

Dogs may only be walked by adults. One dog per person.

Dogs must be kept on lead. The shelter's insurance only covers accidents when a dog is handled correctly.

The shelter is not responsible for damaged clothing, jewelry, etc.

A tetanus vac is recommended. Speak to your doctor.

For safety's sake we recommend that dogs be kept away from other unknown dogs. (My comment - speak to the shelter personnel as to how best to do this for each individual.)

Don't 'switch' dogs on your own initiative. Should you have problems with the dogs assigned to you, bring him back to the Tierheim and speak to the shelter personnel about your concerns.

Despite taking precautions, should there be an incident, inform the shelter personnel immediately.

During your walks with the dog, if you notice behavior issues, inform the shelter personnel. This information is important in finding the right kind of home for the dog.

We thank you in advance for always picking up after the dogs, and depositing the poo bags appropriately in the Robidogs.

The shelter personnel are responsible for determining which dog you will walk. As far as possible, you wishes will be considered.

Please plan your walks in accordance with our opening times.

ATs may determine, if rules are broken, that the person is no longer allowed to walk the dogs.

You will be asked to sign a disclaimer saying you have a copy of these rules, and that you have read the brochure 'Hundespaziergänger Fibel' (My comment: http://www.tierschutz-aargau.ch/site...oschuere_1.pdf This is a very good article by the Suzy Utzinger Foundation, too long to translate here - but which you must read, or have your husband translate for you) which is also linked. You will need to give your details, including your accident insurance policy.

----

Now a disclaimer: I do not know this Tierheim at all, nor am I familiar with any of their policies. The following comments are mine alone, based on my experiences as a rescue volunteer with various different groups. Take what I say with a grain of salt - but in any event, please discuss expectations - yours and the rescue's - in detail with the shelter personnel.

Some general thoughts:

First - good on you for doing this!

Safety first and at all times - yours, your child's, the dog's, and strangers you may encounter. Never forget this. A volunteer dog walker is there to help the dogs, the worst thing a walker can do is to put a dog into a situation he is unable to handle at the moment. Whilst one may have the best of intentions, the wrong kind of freedom, the wrong kind of interaction can have adverse consequences. Your job as a dog walker is to ensure that the dog gets appropriate, safe exercise and has enjoyable, safe experiences on his walks. As such, you need to be focused on the dog's behavior, on your behavior, be aware of the consequences of your choices at all times. Anything else is not fair to the dog.

How old is your child? Is your child 'dog savvy'? Will your child obey your instructions instantly, at all times? Does your child understand that some dogs like petting and cuddling, and some do not - that she needs to ask permission from you first before touching the dog? Talk to your child beforehand about what she should, and should not do, and make sure that she knows she must do as you say, no questions asked.

Were it me, I would first volunteer for some time without bringing my child along. I'd want to get to know the shelter staff, I'd want them to get to know me, to assess my capabilities as a dog handler, I'd want to get to know the dogs first, to determine for myself which are a good match for interacting with my child.

Never, ever let your child take charge of the dog - holding the lead is your job, your responsibility.

A Tierheim can be a stressful atmosphere for some dogs - some react with hyperactivity, some react by becoming shut down. Many of course take it in stride and are very easy to work with. Some dogs are already well trained and socialized, easy to walk. Some need more guidance and training. Be honest about your skills - better to under- rather than overestimate your capabilities. Do not hesitate to tell the staff if you are uncomfortable taking charge of a particular animal.

Speak with the shelter staff at length about how they train dogs. You need to follow their program, their instructions. Using different techniques can send conflicting messages and confuse an animal - possibly making it harder for him to find a home.

Volunteering is a very, very rewarding experience - you are in a position to give a dog not only exercise but also the mental stimulation and socialization he needs. You are are giving him valuable skills to help him find his forever home. It's a big responsibility - and also a true joy. You are, quite literally, saving a life.


--


Hope you enjoy your volunteer engagement - you are doing a very good thing.
This is a good thing to offer to help but it is strange that I can't hire a dog walker who is not qualified (training to handle dogs) and insured, but the Tierheim can.
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Old 28.05.2011, 19:14
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Re: Swiss Tierheims [Animal Shelters) - the insights

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This is a good thing to offer to help but it is strange that I can't hire a dog walker who is not qualified (training to handle dogs) and insured, but the Tierheim can.
Yes, I find this odd as well - especially when there are liability issues to consider. Seems to defeat the spirit of the TschV.

But so much of this law seems not to make sense - on one hand, there is overkill (dog sitters) and on the other hand, lack of regulation where it would be most sensible ( lack of an enforcement mechanism for the SKN, the dog sitter registration, etc. ). There seems to be little consistency...



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Old 28.05.2011, 19:21
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Re: Swiss Tierheims [Animal Shelters) - the insights

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Yes, I find this odd as well - especially when there are liability issues to consider. Seems to defeat the spirit of the TschV.

But so much of this law seems not to make sense - on one hand, there is overkill (dog sitters) and on the other hand, lack of regulation where it would be most sensible (no tracking of the SKN, etc. ). There seems to be little consistency...



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Nothing makes sense. The dogs that are to be walked are not those left there when owners are on holiday. We have left our dogs there and they are not walked. The dogs to be walked are homeless, for a variety of reasons. I would proceed with caution here if one is to volunteer. I am not sure it is a very good idea to bring a young child along either.

Last edited by Mrs. Doolittle; 28.05.2011 at 19:23. Reason: Edit: Summerrain, not meaning to derail your thread but I can add that the ATS in Untersiggenthal is not one for your list.
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