|Providing pet-sitting services in Newcastle for 25 years. Estd.1992 |
|POSTAL: Paws Indoors, Garden Village News, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 5BS |
T: Office 0191 2844131 Txt: 07940 339684
Another piece taken from our Handbook. I would stress that pet-sitting as a visitng service is just that. It is not a security service and should not be sold as such. However security is obviously a big part of our activities and if security is at risk, so too are our animals.
It should be recognised that every property in your care is at a higher risk of burglary than normal simply because the owner is absent. It is also important to understand that any precautionary measures that are taken, by yourself and the client, will help to reduce that risk and therefore improve peace of mind for all concerned.
Responsibility & Discretion
The client should be careful about letting people know that they are going away. Here is a salutory story about a burglary suffered by a property under the care of Paws Indoors. It began when a client won a holiday at their local bingo club. The property was part of a block of flats and many people from the block were at the bingo on the night she won. The client had no control over who knew when she was going away. Within 24 hours of leaving, after only two visits, the Visitor turned up to find that the flat had been ransacked.
Paws Indoors immediately contacted the client on holiday. To our amazement, she responded: 'I knew this would happen and I know who has done it!' She made plans to return home. We dealt with the police, the escaped animals, the boarding up and the mess! We learned a few lessons that day!
All householders arrive at a balance between:
what they consider to be acceptable security precautions limited by financial considerations and influenced by their perception of the risk of burglary or vandalism
the restrictions that such precautions place upon their sense of personal freedom influenced by the value to the client of the property they are seeking to secure.
As a Visitor you will need to make objective assessments of the attitude of your clients towards the security of their property. As seen in the example above, a lack of personal responsibility by a client towards security led almost inevitably to the break-in.
The client had assessed the risks and knew they were high, yet the precautions taken to reduce those risks were minimal. The balance was weighted towards the need to go ahead and take the holiday and she had placed very little value on the property she was seeking to secure.
From the point of view of Paws Indoors and the Visitor, this client had created an emergency situation which took up a great deal of time and additional resources.
The main fault however, lay with the Visitor's poor assessment of the attitude of the client when they attended the Booking Appointment. Had the Visitor asked a few more questions or paid more attention to the existing security in the property, they would not have taken on that risk.
In this case the risks were made much greater by the unavoidable indiscretion that the whole of the bingo hall (and subsequently everyone in the block), knew of the holiday. This, in combination with an incorrect choice of security, caused the disaster. The only safe thing to have done, (apart from cancelling or postponing the holiday) would have been to have someone in permanent residence at the property and the Visitor should have advised this.
More common examples of areas where discretion should be exercised..
The client should exercise discretion over which deliveries, if any, to cancel. If the papers are cancelled, the newsagent and the paper-boy will know.
If the milk is cancelled the milkman will know and the neighbours and possibly anyone who regularly walks past the house in the morning will notice.
So be careful about cancelling deliveries. That said, one day, when she was feeding some cats, a Visitor did once unexpectedly take delivery of a piano. And this was after she had asked the client: 'Are you expecting any deliveries?' How can you forget a piano!? In that particular case we might have advised the client to postpone the delivery.
If the client books a taxi to the airport and leaves with heavy luggage, the taxi-driver will certainly guess what is going on.
Having said all of this, a trusted and reliable neighbour who will keep an eye on the property is a great benefit to the house owner. Such a neighbour may well be in the best position to prevent or report anything untoward. It will be helpful to you as the Visitor, to have the name of the neighbour. Such a neighbour should also be given the Paws Indoors telephone number.
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