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Animals on Campus Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) As an accredited animal research establishment, the University is subject to a number of statutes governing the use and care of animals for research and teaching purposes. Under these statutes the University is responsible for the animals' welfare and standard of care.

(2) The University recognises that animals can and do present a risk to the health and safety of individuals who attend its campuses and to those animals kept for research and teaching purposes. Some animals have the potential to inflict harm (i.e. attack) and the vast majority pose a potential threat in terms of their capacity to contribute to accidents, spread disease and/or cause allergic reactions. In light of these concerns, the University has adopted strategies to reduce and manage the risk that animals present, as set out in this Policy.

(3) The Policy applies to all individuals and groups, whenever they are on University premises.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. assistance animal - means an animal referred to in section 9 (Disability discrimination - guide dogs, hearing assistance dogs and trained animals) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 of the Commonwealth.
  2. dangerous dog - refers to any dog that has, without provocation:
    1. attacked or killed an animal or person;
    2. repeatedly threatened to attack an animal or person;
    3. repeatedly chased an animal or person; or
    4. any dog that has been declared dangerous by a council or a court.
  3. natural fauna - refers to animals that are native to the University's premises and not brought to or kept on those premises.
  4. restricted dog - refers to dogs that are currently on the prohibited list of importations to Australia and the full or cross-bred off-spring of those dog breeds listed including, but not limited to:
    1. American Pit Bull Terriers or Pit Bull Terriers
    2. Japanese Tosas
    3. Dogo Argentino (Argentinean Fighting Dogs)
    4. Fila Brasiliero (Brazilian Fighting Dogs)
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Part A - General Prohibition

(5) To protect the health and safety of individuals who attend the University's premises and to guard the welfare of animals retained by the University for research and teaching purposes, no animal is to be brought or kept on University premises at any time, unless that animal is covered by a current exemption in accordance with Part B of this policy.

(6) The University reserves the right to:

  1. remove any individual from University premises for failure to comply with its policies or the reasonable directions of its employees; and
  2. detain any animal found on its premises in breach of this policy and, if appropriate, to hand such animals over to appropriate external authorities.

(7) Any student or staff member who breaches this policy may find themselves subject to disciplinary and/or legal proceedings.

Part B - Exemptions

(8) Natural fauna are automatically exempt. The University may also grant specific exemptions to the general prohibition detailed in clause (5). Where an exemption is granted, the person bringing the animal onto the University's premises must ensure that they:

  1. keep the animal restrained and under effective control at all times while on University premises;
  2. remove any faeces deposited by the animal, having due regard for health and safety and environmental protection;
  3. comply with all provisions applicable to the grant of the exemption; and
  4. comply with any statutes or regulations governing the management of the animal (e.g. council regulations governing the control of restricted breeds of dogs).

(9) The University reserves the right to amend and/or revoke exemptions to address changing circumstances and/or failure to comply with the conditions of the exemption.

Standing Exemptions

(10) Under a standing exemption, an animal may be brought or kept on University premises at any time to perform the activities for which the exemption has been granted.

(11) Where the University grants an animal a standing exemption, a description of the animal as well as the details and extent of its exemption, will be added to the list contained under clause (12).

(12) The University has granted a standing exemption to:

  1. assistance animals, when accompanying a person with a visual, hearing or other disability;
  2. Western Sydney Area Health Service accredited therapy dogs;
  3. Australian Defence Force dogs, when being used by and under the control of Australian Defence Force Officers in the performance of their official duties;
  4. police dogs, when being used by and under the control of NSW or Federal Police Officers in the performance of their official duties;
  5. search and rescue dogs, when being used by and under the control of official rescue services officers in the performance of their official duties;
  6. security dogs, used by and under the control of University security services;
  7. working dogs, used by and under the control of University farm staff; and
  8. other animals kept by the University for research and teaching purposes, subject to the approval of the University's Animal Care and Ethics Committee.

(13) With the exception of those exemptions covered by clause (12)h, the Executive Director, Estate and Commercial may, having due regard for the purpose and intent of this Policy, grant, amend or revoke a standing exemption. Anyone seeking to add to or amend the standing exemptions must submit a written application to the Executive Director, Estate and Commercial. The application must clearly state the purpose and extent of the exemption.

Temporary Exemptions

(14) Under a temporary (short-term) exemption, animals may be brought onto University premises for a limited period of time. The University may grant a temporary exemption from the general prohibition contained in clause (5) where it deems that an exemption is necessary to support the University's business objectives and/or fulfil the University's mission or where it deems that the animal poses no risk to the fulfilment of the University's obligations as an organisation or accredited animal research establishment.

(15) Where an animal is used for certain educational activities (e.g. open day, external course activities, etc.) temporary exemption is subject to approval by the Animal Care and Ethics Committee in accordance with their procedures and terms of reference. Where a non-research/teaching animal is used the Director, Campus Safety and Security may, having due regard for the purpose and intent of this Policy, approve a temporary exemption. Applications for temporary exemption are to be submitted in accordance with relevant procedures set out in Section 4 of this document.

Part C - Handling Animals Found on University Premises

(16) Individuals are expected to adhere to the animal handling procedures contained in Part E and, in doing so, to take appropriate precautions to ensure that they do not place themselves or others at risk by handling animals found on University premises.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part D - Exemption Procedures

Applying for an Exemption

(17) Applications for a new Standing Exemption must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director, Estate and Commercial, as per clause (13). Applications for a Temporary Exemption must be submitted in writing to the Animal Care and Ethics Committee or the Director, Campus Safety and Security, as per clause (15). All applications for exemption must clearly state:

  1. the name and contact details of the applicant;
  2. the name and contact details of the person or persons who will be in charge of the animal while on campus;
  3. the numbers of animals for which exemption is being sought;
  4. a description of the animal or animals to be covered by the exemption;
  5. the purpose and extent of the exemption being sought;
  6. the period for which the exemption is requested;
  7. the nature and type of activities to be undertaken; and
  8. the duration of the activity (i.e. expected arrival and departure times).

(18) In addition to clause (17), where the exemption relates to an animal being used for educational purposes, the application must also clearly state:

  1. the location of the activity;
  2. how the animal will be monitored during the activity, including:
    1. how often it will be checked;
    2. how emergencies will be managed;
    3. the name of the person or persons who will be responsible for these tasks; and
  3. the name of the person or persons responsible for coordinating the activity (internal and external) and their contact details for the day; noting that:
    1. the internal staff member must be on campus for the duration of the activity to ensure emergencies or adverse events are appropriately managed. It is the responsibility of the external applicant to ensure that the required permits (Security) are obtained and the activity has adequate insurance cover (check with Accountant, Tax and Insurance ).

(19) Exemptions are not automatically granted on submission of an application and applicants must wait until they have written confirmation that an exemption has been granted prior to bringing an animal on campus. Accordingly, applications should be lodged as early as possible to allow time for processing. Where an application has to go to the:

  1. Animal Care and Ethics Committee, the application must be submitted in time to meet the committee's agenda closing dates (refer to the ACEC Terms of Reference and Meeting Dates web page).
  2. Executive Director, Estate and Commercial or Director, Campus Safety and Security, the application should be submitted at least four weeks in advance of the date on which the exemption is sought to commence.

Approval of Exemptions

(20) The Executive Director, Estate and Commercial, Animal Care and Ethics Committee or the Director, Campus Safety and Security are responsible for considering applications for exemption in accordance with this Policy and any other relevant considerations.

(21) The Executive Director, Estate and Commercial, Animal Care and Ethics Committee or Director, Campus Safety and Security will notify applicants of their decision regarding exemptions in writing. Where an exemption is granted, the written notification will detail any additional conditions applicable to the exemption and state the period for which the exemption will apply.

Exercising an Exemption

(22) Persons responsible for animals that are on campus under a standing or temporary exemption must ensure that they comply with all requirements as set out in this Policy and any other applicable requirements, including signage. This includes any additional conditions stated in the written exemption approval notification.

(23) Further, whenever on campus under a temporary exemption, the person in control of the animal must:

  1. have the written exemption approval notification in their possession; and
  2. present the exemption approval notification to the relevant Campus Security Officer upon request.

Removal of Faeces

(24) When exercising an exemption, the person in control of the animal is responsible for removing any faeces deposited by the animal. The minimum acceptable action in this regard is that the individual collect, bag and deposit the faeces in an appropriate general waste disposal bin. Faeces are not to be deposited in paper or other recycle bins under any circumstances.

Part E - Animal Handling Procedures

Natural Fauna and Non-Exempt Animal Handling Procedures

(25) Where an animal is found on University premises contrary to the provisions of an exemption (e.g. is without its controller, unrestrained, violent) or where natural fauna is considered to present a risk to safety, notify Campus Safety and Security immediately. When notifying Campus Safety and Security, provide:

  1. a description of the animal;
  2. details of the animal's location;
  3. direction of travel (if the animal is on the move); and
  4. any other pertinent information.

(26) With the exception of the animal's owner, controller or an expert handler called in to provide assistance, no individual is to attempt to handle any:

  1. snake;
  2. dangerous or restricted dogs;
  3. animal that has been involved in an attack on an animal or person;
  4. animal that has demonstrated menacing behaviour;
  5. animal that presents an unknown risk (i.e. the individual has insufficient knowledge, experience or information to make an informed evaluation); and/or
  6. animal they lack the confidence and/or expertise to handle safely.

(27) Having reported the presence of the animal on campus, individuals should attempt to keep track of the animal until Campus Safety and Security arrives. In tracking the animal, individuals should not place themselves or others at risk.

(28) Where the handling of the animal is prohibited under clause (26) or undesirable to the individual concerned, they should simply attempt to keep track of the animal's location so that they can direct the Campus Security Officer on arrival.

(29) Where handling of the animal is not prohibited under clause (26) and where the individual is comfortable doing so, they may detain the animal until a Campus Security Officer arrives.

(30) In the event that the animal (detained or otherwise) presents an immediate threat, individuals should take appropriate action to remove or alleviate that threat. In doing so, individuals are not to place themselves or others at unnecessary risk, nor inflict unnecessary harm on the animal.

(31) On arrival, the Campus Security Officer will evaluate the situation and make appropriate arrangements for the capture, detainment and/or removal of the animal. Such arrangements will include the engagement of expert assistance in the capture, detainment and removal of those animals prohibited from being handled under clause (26).

(32) Campus Safety and Security will also determine whether the animal is permitted on University premises under a current exemption and establish whether the conditions of the exemption are being adhered to. Where a breach has occurred, Campus Safety and Security will issue further instructions and/or initiate further action in accordance with this Policy.

(33) Where the animal's owner/controller is not present, Campus Safety and Security may:

  1. detain the animal, or
  2. seek expert assistance to safely capture and remove the animal from University premises.

(34) The mechanism (e.g. collar, leash, pen or cage) used to detain the animal must be suited to the animal and be unlikely to cause the animal any harm.

(35) Where Security Services detain an animal they will provide it with water only and:

  1. attempt to identify and alert the owner and make arrangements for the animal to be collected and removed from the campus; or
  2. where the owner cannot be identified or contacted, alert the relevant authorities and request that an appropriate animal control officer collect and impound the animal.

(36) Where an animal has been collected by an animal control officer, the animal's owner will be responsible for retrieving the animal from the relevant authority and for any costs associated with the animal's detainment by that authority.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(37) The University is in the process of developing Environmental Management System Operational Control Procedures which include more information related to natural fauna and non-native wildlife pest control.