YOUR COMMITTEE & MENTORS

HEAD COMMITTEE:


Emelia 

Owner-Operator

Info@verndogs.com


Monika

Second-in-command

Certificate II in Animal Studies
info@verndogs.com


SUB COMMITTEE:


Rachael

Client Coordination

Trainer/Assessor

Cert III • Canine Behaviour Training

info@verndogs.com


Maddie

Ethical Standards Manager

info@verndogs.com


MENTORS:



Maddie

@assistance.pupper.miles


Monika 

@curlyandcoadventures


Emelia

@reggo.helperdog


Rachael

@peityn_zari_strike

 

INFORMATION FOR OUR MEMBERS

Your responsibilities as a member

SOCIAL MEDIA USE


At Verndogs, we want to protect all members of the community, not just ours.

That’s why we believe it’s important to ensure standards of behaviour outlined in our ethical standards, are being followed online as well.

We do not tolerate any form of discrimination, bullying or other illegal activity, so we have laid out some basic rules for our members to follow.


No public doxing or “call outs”

It’s unnecessary, it’s a targeted attack and its bullying. These call outs can be extremely detrimental to the health of a person. No matter how much you think they deserve it, they don’t, its hurtful and its detrimental. Everybody makes mistakes. Posting indirect posts targeting a specific person fall under the same category. Defamation is defamation whether the information you share is true or not. Don’t put yourself in the position to be sued.


No sharing private screenshots.

It’s illegal, it’s a privacy breach. Unless all parties permit you sharing screenshots, you can be sued for it. Sharing screenshots with ill intent again is extremely detrimental. I don’t care what the other person said, if it was said in a private chat, it stays in a private chat. Sharing information somebody was saying about another person hurts both people. The only exception to sharing screenshots is if they are being used as proof of bullying or failure to follow our ethical standards, where they can be sent directly to our client services team at info@verndogs.com no where else.


No rude comments or messages.

This one is pretty straight forward, nothing nice to say? Say nothing at all. Unless the information you are sharing is educational and can help the person you’re sharing it with, don’t say anything at all. Rude comments is bullying, doesn’t matter if its repeated or not, targeting a specific person still falls under the category of bullying, and why would you want to share negative energy anyway? Bring everybody up, it feels better.


No sharing photos or images of teams without permission

No seriously, do not take photos or videos of people and their dogs. Fake spotting is not on, dogs have off days, how embarrassed would you be if somebody shared a photo of you and your dog because your dog acted up on an off day. Taking videos for your protection is fine, but sharing them is not on. You can share them privately with family or friends, but once they’re on a public forum, you cannot control the horrible things others might say.

No targeting specific organisations or associations

Its still bullying, there are people behind these businesses. Talking about how much you hate an organisation or association is incredibly detrimental. Feel free to share your experiences, but back it with proof, and don’t target specific members or staff.


Failure to comply with these standards will result in immediate suspension, and depending on the circumstance, immediate termination of your membership with Verndogs Australia.

Terminations from Verndogs Australia will never warrant a refund, unless we believe you did not utilise our services. You’re always welcome to request a refund, but nothing is guaranteed.

 

COMPLAINTS RESOLUTION


Any members or ex members are to take complaints directly to manager@verndogs.com in writing before publicly posting any defamatory content online.

Doing so allows a resolution process to be followed, and to ensure any evidence or claims which are  made can be actioned immediately.

Any members who leave Verndogs for any reason or any members who are terminated from Verndogs are not permitted to share information about Verndogs, their members or any other counterparts without prior permission from Verndogs.

We appreciate feedback and take all feedback on board, and are always striving to grow and continually improve. Unfortunately it is impossible to grow when defamatory content is posted online or shared otherwise.

Verndogs also reserves the right to share the following information if necessary:

  • The reason for your termination

  • The evidence surrounding your termination

  • Committee processes and decisions

  • Whether a refund was granted/wasn’t granted and why

This information may be shared to members, the public or to a legal team.

We will never share personal information including your medical history, location, age or other personal details.

 

ETHICAL STANDARDS

Verndogs takes pride not only in the training of dogs, but the standards of human behaviour too. We do not tolerate or condone any form of bullying, animal cruelty, illegal behaviour, or provision of false information.

To obtain an assistance dog, handlers must first have a disability. You will provide proof of this to Verndogs through a Doctor Declaration form which is included with your application. Failure to provide this proof means Verndogs cannot process your application further.  A disability in Australia is defined by The Disability Discrimination act 1992 as:

disability, in relation to a person, means:

  1. total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or

  2. total or partial loss of a part of the body; or

  3. the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or

  4. the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or

  5. the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or

  6. a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or

  7. a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour;

and includes a disability that:

  1. presently exists; or

  2. previously existed but no longer exists; or

  3. may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability); or

  4. is imputed to a person.

To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.


Verndogs do accept people with a multitude of psychiatric disabilities and understand some diagnoses may include symptoms such as delusions, irritability, mood swings, aggression, impulsivity, mania, paranoia, hallucinations, difficulties with interactions, panic attacks, altered consciousness, compulsive lying, inappropriate social interactions, sensory issues, difficulty understanding others emotions, apathy and others symptoms which can generally be seen as detrimental and unacceptable by the public. We understand many of these symptoms are difficult to regulate and manage, but you are responsible for managing these symptoms and maintaining reasonable control in order to keep you and other members safe and free from harm. See our ‘self help’ section of the website for resources for mental health support.

Should you be caught breaking any of Verndogs Ethical Standards or terms and conditions, your membership may be immediately terminated or suspended. If you wish to dispute a termination or suspension, contact Verndogs directly.


Definitions of each Verndogs Ethical Standard:


Bullying 

Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing.

The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:  

  • Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)

  • Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone

  • Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.

  • Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)

  • Mucking about that goes too far

  • Harassing someone based on their race, sex, religion, gender or a disability

  • Intentionally and repeatedly hurting someone physically 

  • Intentionally stalking someone

  • Taking advantage of any power over someone else like a Prefect or a Student Representative.

https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/commission-general/what-bullying-violenceharassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet  

Harassment

Harassment can be against the law when a person is treated less favourably on the basis of certain personal characteristics, such as race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, breastfeeding, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. Some limited exemptions and exceptions apply.

Harassment can include behaviour such as:

  • telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups

  • sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails or text messages

  • displaying racially offensive or pornographic posters or screen savers

  • making derogatory comments or taunts about someone’s race

  • asking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life, including his or her sex life.

https://humanrights.gov.au/quick-guide/12040  

Stalking 

Stalking is defined under this law and includes:

‘the following of a person about or the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity’.

The person being stalked may only realise they are being stalked once they identify a pattern of strange or suspicious incidents occurring, such as:

  • phone calls

  • text messages

  • messages left on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter etc.

  • notes left on their car

  • strange or unwanted gifts left at their home

  • an awareness that they are being followed

  • being continually stared at or gestured to by another person.

https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/crime/domestic_and_family_violence/what_is_stalking  

Stalking online

Technology like the internet or mobile phones can be used to harass, intimidate or control you.

This may include:

  • harassing you or making threats on social media sites

  • posting (or threatening to post) embarrassing, fake or intimate videos, photos or comments about you

  • gathering information

  • impersonating you

  • interfering with your computer

  • tracking what you do online.

https://www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au/the-crime/types-ofcrime/stalking#:~:text=Stalking%20is%20a%20crime%20in%20Victoria.%20If%20you,syste m%20in%20Victoria%20and%20what%20to%20do%20next. 


Defamation 

Defamation is where a person or small business seeks damages for loss of reputation due to someone publishing or otherwise distributing defamatory material that causes others to think less of them. Defamatory material can take many forms including blogs, articles, novels, poems, photos, songs, emails, cartoons, drawings, paintings, online reviews, social media posts, and more.



Defamatory matter can also be broadcast or spoken (e.g., a person might be defamed on a radio show or in a public presentation). If you state or spread something defamatory in any public forum, including over the internet, you could be taken to court.

Defamation law is designed to protect all Australians from false or damaging statements being made about them that may cause harm to their personal or professional reputation. It enables those who have been defamed to seek compensation for financial and other losses resulting from a defamatory publication of any kind.

https://www.slatergordon.com.au/disputeresolution/defamation#:~:text=Defamation%20law%20is%20designed%20to%20protect%20 all%20Australians,resulting%20from%20a%20defamatory%20publication%20of%20any%20 kind  

Disturbing behaviour

A disturbance could include:

  • assault or threat of assault

  • use of threatening or abusive language

  • behaviour that is uncontrolled, violent, disorderly, indecent, offensive or threatening

  • behaviour that causes a substantial, unreasonable annoyance or disruption

  • willful damage to property.

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/register-or-report-to-police/report-a-crime-ordisturbance/report-a-nuisance-ordisturbance#:~:text=behaviour%20that%20is%20uncontrolled%2C%20violent%2C%20disor derly%2C%20indecent%2C%20offensive,property.%20How%20to%20report%20a%20nuisan ce%20or%20disturbance  

Animal Cruelty 

Cruelty to animals

  1. A person shall not commit an act of cruelty upon an animal.

  2. A person in charge of an animal shall not authorise the commission of an act of cruelty upon the animal.

  3. A person in charge of an animal shall not fail at any time—

  1. to exercise reasonable care, control or supervision of an animal to prevent the commission of an act of cruelty upon the animal,

  2. where pain is being inflicted upon the animal, to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to alleviate the pain, or



  1. where it is necessary for the animal to be provided with veterinary treatment, whether or not over a period of time, to provide it with that treatment.


Tethering of animals

(1)  A person shall not—

  1. tether an animal, or

  2. where the person is a person in charge of an animal—authorise the tethering of the animal,

for an unreasonable length of time or by means of an unreasonably heavy, or unreasonably short, tether.

Certain procedures not to be performed on animals

(1)  A person shall not—

  1. dock the tail of a horse, bull, ox, bullock, steer, cow, heifer, calf or dog,

  2. crop the ears of a dog,

  3. operate upon a dog for the purpose of preventing the dog from being able to bark, https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1979-200#sec.5  

Provision of False or misleading information

307B False or misleading information (1) A person is guilty of an offence if--

  1. the person gives information to another person, and

  2. the person does so knowing that the information--

  1. is false or misleading, or

  2. omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading, and

(c) any of the following subparagraphs apply-- (i) the information is given to a public authority,

  1. the information is given to a person who is exercising or performing any power, authority, duty or function under, or in connection with, a law of the State,

  2. the information is given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the State.

CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 307B

CRIMES ACT 1900 - SECT 307B False or misleading information (austlii.edu.au)  

Illegal Behaviour

Verndogs and all its members must comply with Australian Federal Law.  


5


“When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.” Section 109 – Constitution.

All Verndogs teams are expected to follow the Disability Discrimination Act, 1992, and does not impose any laws set out by the state. This includes all state Dog and Cat Management Board(s). There is no expectation to comply with the Guide Hearing and Assistance Dog Act. The only expectation is to comply with federal law. Teams are welcome to follow their local state and territory laws, but there is no expectation to do so.

https://www.alrc.gov.au/publication/for-your-information-australian-privacy-law-and-practice-alrcreport-108/3-achieving-national-consistency/the-federalsystem/#:~:text=Section%20109%20of%20the%20Australian,the%20inconsistency%2C%20be%20inv alid'.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00125  

 

MEMBERSHIP AND LIABILITY


Any member who has signed with Verndogs agrees with Verndogs terms and conditions. Members include any individual who has utilised Verndogs classes, or any individual signed to an advocacy, start to finish, start to finish 2.0, or hands on program.


Verndogs does not take liability for any injury to dogs or humans caused by a misuse of gear, incorrect training or any injury whilst in a public place. Verndogs will not take liability for handler fault including but not limited to deliberate injury or accidental injury. Verndogs expects that all clients or members of Verndogs carry out their own individual pet insurance and do not expect Verndogs to cover the costs of any veterinarian visit including emergency visits.


Verndogs is a virtual training company meaning that the actual training is undertaken by the dog’s handler or co handler. Verndogs does not take responsibility for any unsuccessful training or for poor training methods if training was undertaken by the dog’s handler. Verndogs does their best to assess temperamental aspects of all working dogs and does not take responsibility for any genetically aggressive or behaviourally aggressive dogs which were approved by a veterinarian prior to membership with Verndogs.


Verndogs aim is to be an advocacy organisation to advocate for disabled handlers and teams. Verndogs provides easier accessibility by providing an ID and program patches. Verndogs will not be liable for any legal action taken against a Verndogs member. Verndogs teams are their own individuals with Verndogs aiming to be a common ground. Verndogs do not take responsibility for any actions taken out by members, including any damage to persons or property caused by a Verndogs team.

 

BRANDED GEAR AND CONTENT


Verndogs reserves their right to enforce the following policies on anybody utilising verndogs branded gear or other products.


Verndogs ID cards, patches or training vests are not to be used by any dog:

-             Younger than 8 weeks old

-             That is reactive or aggressive and is awaiting assessment

-             Not approved by verndogs for public access

-             Not complying with the disability discrimination act 1992

-              Previously terminated from Verndogs Australia

-             Trained by or working under a different organisation

-             That is NOT an assistance dog

-             Who has not received a waiver to be training in non-pet friendly businesses if they are under 6 months old.


Failure to comply with these terms and conditions will result in immediate termination of verndogs membership. By joining Verndogs, members agree to these conditions and agree to return these products at their expense if a termination is imposed.

Verndogs enforces these conditions to protect the integrity of verndogs teams and other working dogs. Dogs who are not assessed and approved for public access pose a risk to the public which verndogs does not take responsibility for if the handler was non-compliant with the terms and conditions outlined in all verndogs programs and the conditions listed here.