When many think of animal rescue, images of pulling animals from shelters, hosting adoptive events and most importantly, finding good homes for pets in need.   While these activities are an important aspects of animal rescue, there are other details that involve the business portion of running a rescue group.

A rescue group has medical and food expenses, transport planning and fundraising activities that must be addressed.     If they have a physical location where the animals are housed or meet potential adopters, liability and hazard insurance must be purchased.   But is animal rescue insurance coverage needed if the group does not have a permanent structure for housing and visits by adopters?   Do they need coverage if the group is completely foster-based?

The answer to these questions is yes, rescue groups that are foster-based do have the need for animal rescue insurance.   

General liability insurance is needed by all rescue groups.   This type of policy will cover property damage along bodily injury and subsequent medical bills. General liability coverage can help defend your group against lawsuits, slander and libel that are outside the realm of your group’s service.

Officers and directors insurance can cover your group’s board of directors, employees and volunteers.   It can protect the personal assets of those serving against lawsuits directed towards the rescue group.  Having such a policy in place may encourage qualified individuals from serving on the board of directors or as a group officer.  This coverage can also cover the 501C organization itself against many type of lawsuits. 

While the task of purchasing insurance may not have been considered when your group was founded, it is a valuable method of protection.   Defense against a lawsuit that can costs thousands of dollars and can place personal assets of members and the very existence of your organization at risk.  Allow your group to continue on its mission of saving the lives of homeless pets by obtaining adequate insurance coverage.

A recent study conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) shows that people who adopt dogs from animal shelters are more content with their pet than people who buy a dog from a pet shop. This tears apart the stereotype of animal shelter dogs being “damage goods”, unfriendly and slow.

The truth is that animal shelter dogs are incredibly grateful to leave their strict confines and enter into your world. Can you imagine how good it must feel to leave a crowded shelter with little space to roam and play? You are doing an animal shelter dog an enormous favor by bringing him home even though you might not notice it right away. It might take your adopted dog a day or two to feel comfortable in your home but rest assured that deep down he is ecstatic with his new spacious digs, his new yard and his new family.

The survey mentioned above also indicates that dog owners who adopted from animal shelters were more than two times as likely to recommend adopting from the shelter than those who purchased a dog at a retail outlet. Part of the reason is the fact that dogs adopted from animal shelters typically require much less treatment and care from veterinarians than those bought at retail pet stores. So, you’ll be opening your heart and your home to an animal in need but you won’t be opening your wallet as much as those who opt to shop for a dog.

Part of the reason why owners who adopted animal shelter dogs are so pleased with their new pets is that the majority of these dogs lived with families in the past. This means that they will be able to quickly and easily socialize with you and your family. They’ll also be much more likely than pet shop dogs to seamlessly transition into your living environment and blend in with the rest of your household.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of adopting a shelter dog is that you are saving a life. Every dog deserves to live and live in a quality home. Just think about how much a shelter dog would appreciate the chance to live comfortably alongside a friendly family in a spacious home. Adopt a shelter dog today and save a life.

A landlord may feel the need to require animal insurance as a means of limiting her liability. Landlords, although appearing to have an interest primarily in their tenants and the tenants’ well-being, actually have a greater interest in themselves and the condition of their security property, otherwise known to  the rest of us as merely  our apartment or house. Because the condition and safety of their property interests is at the top of their lists, they must take practical steps to protect that property and their own liability as the owner of the property.

Animal insurance is important because it protects landlords against two types of liability, both of which scare property owners.  Animal  insurance covers the landlord in the event of any damage caused by the animal and  covers liability the landlord may incur as a result of an injurious act of a pet.

Animal insurance covering pet damage to a rental unit can be added as a rider to a tenants regular renter’s insurance policy for an additional policy premium. Insurance which includes liability insurance covering injuries caused by the tenant’s pets can also be added as a rider to the tenant’s renter’s insurance policy in locations where that coverage is available for renters to purchase. i f a  policy purports to cover various pet related injuries, be certain that the policy does not offer such limited coverage that it becomes impracticable to give effect to that provision. Coverage for anything is available in a particular state  only when that state’s legislature authorizes that coverage

There are additional contractual ways of offering protection to a landlord in addition to requiring animal insurance coverage provided by tenants on the acts of their pets. Certain pet agreements entered into by landlords and tenants may serve to reduce risks to landlords caused by pet misbehavior but does not replace the protection of animal insurance. One of these agreements can be put into effect by clearly stating the nature of any acts the landlord is responsible for and which acts of the pet’s behavior are then the sole  responsibility of the tenant-pet owners.

Any landlord making use of a pet agreement  to assign rights and/or responsibilities relating to pets on the premises must maintain a  list of the specific pets covered b the agreement and must further be vigilant to keep the list updated.


There is much joy to be had while running an animal shelter. Finding animals forever homes on a regular basis can be hard work, but is very rewarding. However, for all the things that can go right in your shelter, there are many others that can go wrong. That is when a liability waiver comes in handy. Liability waivers can save you a lot of headache and financial hardships. Here are a few examples of what a liability waiver can protect you and your shelter from.

1. Dog Bites.

Dogs are the most sought after animal in a shelter, and the majority of visitors in your shelter will likely be looking to add one to their family. When perusing the dogs, the visitors may put their hands in the dogs cage to initiate contact. While many dogs will be docile and friendly, others may perceive this as a threat and bite the stranger’s hand. This can be problematic because injury or disease can happen as a result. If that visitor signed a liability waiver though, then you are clear of any blame.

2. Cat Scratches.

Cats are another animal that is highly sought after in a shelter, and chances are your shelter houses many. One of the cats in your shelter may come into contact with many visitors in a day, and may scratch them. While a cat scratch, or bite may seem harmless at first, it can have lasting consequences. A cat scratch can lead to a nasty bacterial infection known as cat scratch fever. A visitor who contracts cat scratch fever from one of your shelter cats may hold you liable. However, a liability waiver would say different.

3. Slips, Falls. Etc…

Even if your shelter animals are well contained and on their best behavior, there is still many things that can go wrong. A dog may urinate on the ground, and someone could slip in it. The puddle may have gone unnoticed by the shelter staff until this accident occurred, so a wet floor sign didn’t get put out. Liability waivers can include a clause for this situation, and any other non animal related incident.

Dog bite claims are on the decline which means that responsible owners like you are taking the precautions necessary in order to minimize bites. Some of these precautions include training your animals either in your home or by attending obediance classes. It is also important to socialize a dog especially at a young age in order to be comfortable around people of all ages and backgrounds.

However, claims cost – the money paid out to a victim for medical costs and settlements – is rising per dog bite. Which means if you aren’t insured, you may have to pay that money out of pocket. And it doesn’t matter if you win the case/claim or not. It’s still a costly experience.

We all want to believe that our pets aren’t going to harm a person or their property. However, dogs can bite for various reasons, especially if they are scared. This can happen if someone they don’t know attempts to take their food or water or invade their territory. It can also happen if someone doesn’t see the dog and steps on them accidently. Dogs also tend to be more reactive when they aren’t feeling well.

It’s hard to foresee what may happen to your pet or with your pet’s behavior. The best thing you can do is to be prepared in case the worst does happen and lessen any potential financial burdens on yourself. Those at AWOIP are prepared to help you with the Pet Protection Pak. Check out their website for more information on first steps to take and a 5-minute application for a quote.

Tips to Avoid Dog Bites

April 22, 2013

Like any animal, even humans, dogs naturally have an instinct to defend themselves from attackers. It can be just looking like a threat, barking, or even biting. However, a dog bite is completely avoidable if you know how to go about it.

  • Never pet a strange dog without their owner saying it is okay. You never know if that dog is violent or nervous, and either one could end in a painful dog bite.
  • Avoid dogs that are tied up or running around. Dogs can be very territorial and if they think you’re invading their space, they will defend themselves.
  • That said, never turn and run from a dog when it’s about to attack. Back away slowly, facing the dog.
  • Be gentle when you’re playing. While rough play might be fun on occasion, it’s important to remember that when dogs play rough, they bite, scratch and pounce.
  • Teach kids how to act around dogs.  Kids, especially young kids, may not necessarily know that dogs don’t like to play all the time. And when a dog feels like they’re being harassed, they will lash out.
  • Watch out if you’re moving an injured dog. An injured dog doesn’t know that you have good intentions and want to help them. For all a dog knows, you’re moving your hand to hurt them further.
  • Don’t wake the dog up. Think of how annoyed you are if someone interrupts your sleep. Also leave them alone if they’re eating or taking care of their puppies.
  • Be careful around fighting dogs. In fact, the less you physically touch them, the better. Spray them with a hose or even some kind of breath spray (dogs hate it, and its non-toxic). If you absolutely HAVE to physically separate them, get the dogs by the hind legs, and get one inside a room, or a car, or even a fenced yard.
  • Keep your dogs shots up to date. A dog with rabies is aggressive no matter what.
  • Socialize your dog as early as possible. The simplest way to avoid a dog bite is to make them comfortable around people and other dogs. And if it’s not a comfortable situation for your dog, keep them out of it.

While anyone with a dog will inevitably be bitten at least once, it’s fairly easy to make it happen as little as possible, and keep your friends and family safe.

5 Signs a Dog May Attack

April 15, 2013

Dogs do not attack without warning.  The warning signs, however, must be recognized by humans if they do not want to be victims of a dog bite.  Knowing what to look for will help you avoid being bit.  Keep reading for the top five signs to watch for; knowing them can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the long run.


A dog that feels threatened will emit a deep growl as warning.  This growl will seem to come from deep within and is his way of telling you to stay back.  A growling dog is one that feels threatened and will bite if pushed.

Raised fur

When a dog is feeling threatened, the hair on its back, from the base of his tail to the back of his neck, will stand up.  You can see what looks like a line going up the center of his back.  If this happens and you proceed to approach, a dog bite is almost a certainty.

Teeth showing

Along with a growl, a dog getting ready to bite may roll his upper lip back so you can see his teeth.  It may look like he is smiling, but his message is more along the lines of “See what I have for a weapon.” than “I’m happy to see you.”

Whites of eyes are visible

If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes; a dog bite is very close.  Dogs that feel threatened will lower their heads in preparation of an attack.  At the same time, they will keep their gaze on their target.  This combination of slightly lowered head and steady gaze position the eye where the whites are visible.

Stiff stance

A dog preparing to attack will stiffen his entire body.  His tail will be raised and stiff, his ears laid back and his legs ready to spring forward.  His head may be lowered slightly, giving the impression of a bull about to charge.

Not every dog will show all five of the above signs but each is an indicator that the dog is feeling threatened and could attack at any moment.  In order to avoid a dog bite, do not approach any dog exhibiting even one of these signs.  Walk slowly away and give him a chance to calm himself.