PIAI organizational members must have an ethics review process in place with a confidential and professional reporting procedure. If the PIAI receives an ethical complaint regarding a member of a PIAI organization, the ethics complaint will be referred to the home organization for review. The process followed by the organization must fall in line with this recommended procedure.
Reports of alleged membership violations must be handled according to this policy. Complaints must be limited to alleged violations of the organization’s ethical code of conduct. The responsibility for the investigation of alleged membership violations is designated to the Chair and Committee Members of the organization’s Ethics Committee.
· Complaints must be made in a timely fashion; allegations of violations occurring more than thirty (30) days prior will be considered only under special circumstances as determined by the Ethics Committee.
· Any person that feels they have been treated in a fashion that violates the organization’s Code of Conduct may file a complaint. The Ethics Committee will only consider complaints filed on behalf of a third party if the complaint is accompanied by verifiable independent evidence such as publicly available records, reports, business records, including those of a public agency, judgments of a court, marketing advertisements, commercial documents and reports, commercial publications and the like.
· All ethics complaints will be investigated and handled within an appropriate timeline.
· The individual filing the alleged violation must present the allegation to the Ethics Committee Chair in writing.
· The report will remain confidential.
· The following information must be included in the alleged violation report:ü The names of the alleged violator and the actual complainant in reference to the violation. This must be specific. The complaint must directly reference which area of the Code the complainant feels has been violated by including the actual quoted text in their report.
· The Ethics Committee Chair will acknowledge receipt of the alleged violation without comment within 24 hours of receipt.
· b) The individual filing the report will be notified to keep the complaint confidential; this means no information about the complaint will be discussed with any other person. If confidentiality is breached, it may be considered a violation of the PIAI's ethics.
· The Committee Chair will forward the complaint to the Ethics Committee Members within 48 hours and notify the organizational leadership that a complaint has been filed. The details of the complaint will be kept confidential in order to preserve the organizational ability to fairly and objectively interact with the member.
· The Ethics Committee will review the complaint. If necessary, they will gather more information and schedule an interview with the complainant.
· If the initial review indicates that the alleged infraction is not a violation of the organization’s code of ethics, then the complainant will be notified in writing and no investigation will be pursued unless further facts or evidence is proffered.
· If it appears that a violation of professional ethics has occurred based on the preponderance of evidence, (is more likely to be true than not), then the Chair will notify the individual or group that are the subjects of the complaint and provide seven (7) calendar days for a reply. If there is no reply to the complaint notification, then the Ethics Committee will make a decision based on all available information.
· Once all the information has been gathered, the Chair and Committee will make a determination about the sanctions, this may include:ü Education. The need for education and mentoring.
· If an individual wishes to appeal the Ethics Committee’s decision, they will be given ten (10) calendar days to do so.
· All materials considered by the Ethics Committee will be given to the organizational President and/or a Board Member and one other leadership Committee Member.
· A final decision will be made within five (5) calendar days and the individual will be notified in writing.
· Complete confidentiality shall be maintained by all involved parties throughout the process.
· Once a determination has been made, the parties involved will be notified that a determination has been made.
· Details of the determination will remain private.
· A violation of confidentiality by any party involved in the matter will be considered a violation of the PIAI’s Guiding Principles.
About the coalition
The Pet Industry Advocacy International (PIAI) believes there is a need for a high level of oversight in the pet industry across all professional disciplines. Licensing has been a proposed option, but licensing without a strong underlying ethical code of conduct and a minimum standard for knowledge and skills of service providers does not provide the protection and level of service needed by pet owners and their pets