MSPCA-Angell Headquarters

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7400
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Angell Animal Medical Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7282
angellquestions@angell.org
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(978) 577-5992
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Pets in the Workplace

Creating a pet-friendly workplace

Beau working hard

As the pandemic winds down in the United States, many people will be headed back to the office full time or with a hybrid model. We know that many animals were adopted during the pandemic and many new owners are now starting to adjust to a different schedule. 

Thankfully, many pet owners are appropriately taking steps to acclimate their animals to this transition, which will require their pets to be alone more often. If the dog is allowed at work, preparations should be made in advance for a smooth transition. 

Things to consider when creating a pet-friendly workplace 

How should a dog owner prepare to take their dog to work? What training should be done? Does their dog even want to go to the office, or would they rather spend the day sleeping at home on the couch? How can supervisors and business owners who want to be dog-friendly help keep the peace and make sure everyone’s work gets done?

Penny taking calls

For many years, the MSPCA-Angell did not allow workplace pets. Usual concerns when considering a pet-friendly workplace included distractions, messes, and what to do in a workplace where not everyone has an office or desk. On top of these, we already have a lot of animals in the buildings and probably have a bit more employees with pets than the average workplace, raising additional concerns.

But, we solicited employee opinions, created a committee, and put in place a policy to make having pets in the office run smoothly.

Why have a pet-friendly workplace?

Reasons for a pet-friendly workplace include:

How do I start?

We believe it is a good idea to survey employees on their thoughts about a pet-friendly office space. It is important to involve those who will be impacted. Employees could have fears or medical concerns you may not be aware of, for example.

Sleeping on the job

Next, it may make sense to form a committee, consisting of people from a variety of departments and positions, to review responses and determine if there is support for pets at work, and if so, how a policy can be created to address any concerns.

At the MSPCA, we started this as a pilot program to be able to test it out before committing to a permanent policy that people came to rely on.

What should go into a “pets in office” policy?

Below are some areas that your pets in office policy will likely want to address.

Additional Resources:

MSPCA-Angell’s pet in offices policy (below)
MSPCA Pets in Offices Form


MSPCA-ANGELL

PETS IN THE WORKPLACE IN BOSTON

INTRODUCTION

The MSPCA-Angell recognizes that many of our employees in our Boston facility are devoted and dedicated pet owners. We are privileged to be able to bring our pets to work. The safety and comfort of all of our employees is of utmost importance. Therefore following the provisions of this policy will help to ensure we are able to maintain this wonderful benefit. 

The following policy is designed to accommodate the needs of employees and the Society, while understanding that MSPCA-Angell/Boston is a diverse workplace, and our primary responsibility is to our mission and to carry out the work of the organization.

PET COMMITTEE

The Boston Pet Committee consists of employees to provide representation across the organization to help implement this policy, respond to feedback, re-visit the policy and assist with enforcement.

The Pet Committee in Boston is currently comprised of:

ENFORCEMENT AND ROLE OF PET COMMITTEE

While the on-going enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of every member of management, the Pet Committee will look into and take action on specific complaints that are not clear cut. Complaints or questions can be emailed to BostonPetCommittee [at] mspca.org. If a person wishes to make an anonymous complaint, a note can be left in Human Resources’ mailbox on the second floor. Every manager is responsible for enforcing this policy with their employees. If the Pet Committee is notified and finds that an employee has violated, or enabled his or her pet to violate this policy they will send a notification to the employee from the Pet Committee, which will be copied to Human Resources and the employee’s supervisor. If necessary, the employee’s manager/supervisor will issue a warning for minor infractions. However, after the third infraction, the privilege of allowing a pet in the office will be revoked. For a severe offense, including, but not limited to, bringing an aggressive or disruptive animal into an office, the privilege of bringing that animal, or any animal, into the workplace may be immediately revoked.

CONDITIONS UPON USE OF OFFICE SPACE

This is the portion of the policy that everyone should read and be very familiar with.  All managers should be prepared to enforce this part of the policy with their employees.

An animal will be allowed to be kept in a suitable private or shared office in non-public areas with the approval of the department head or equivalent or his or her designee.

Generally, everyone should be respectful that the MSPCA-Angell is a work environment. The use of office space is a privilege, and effort should be made to ensure that any animal allowed in an office under this policy should not interfere with the owner’s work or that of any co-workers. 

 There should be no trace that an animal has been in the office! Please be mindful that not everyone enjoys being with your pet the way you do and this is a work environment. If you see a colleague’s dog behave in any way that is concerning to you or frightens you, please speak to your supervisor.

There may be provisions that supervisors, at their own discretion, may wish to add to the above conditions.

OFFICE SPACE COLLABORATION

Employees without a suitable shared or private office may collaborate with an employee who does have such an office to be able to have his or her pet in an office under this policy.  In such an event, both employees are responsible for ensuring compliance with the “Conditions Upon Use of Office Space” above.