Animals and Pets

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Early childhood services are required to implement safe and hygienic handling practices in regard to animals and pets.  For example, this could include making sure that cats are defleaed and washing hands after playing with the bunny and guinea pigs. 

Restraining animals

Services are required to be able to restrain all animals, including pets. 

But imagine trying to restrain the neighbour’s cat as it wonders across the playground, putting a leash on the mice, or trying to control the movement of every bee and insect?  Probably the intent of this requirement is not that all animals are to be tied up or caged, but that any dangers to children from animals are minimised by how the service responds to the presence of various wild animals, and how pets are housed and cared for, e.g., a pet sheep is not allowed to walk where babies are crawling and near toddlers and birds are prevented from flying around inside, leaving their droppings on surfaces and toys or eating children’s food.  We suggest separating children and animals such as dogs during noisy high-energy play, when food is present, and when the animal or child is sleeping.  We also suggest removing insect nests, and taking safety precautions around insects, for example, wearing closed shoes when playing in long grass or where there are bees and wasps, and not letting children put insects in or near their mouths.

Failing to meet minimum standards

The Ministry of Education needs to know:

  • If you are concerned children’s needs are not being met.
  • If you are concerned a service is not meeting a minimum legal requirement.

READ MORE: How to make a complaint and your options.

CAUTION: This page and the information here is provided as part of the My ECE Guide to Regulations and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education Services (The Guide).  The Guide does not purport to be a full and accurate interpretation of all statutory provisions relating to early childhood education services. While best efforts have been used in preparing this guide, no representations or warranties of any kind are made and My ECE assumes no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the content. Please note that the Government and Ministry of Education may change, update, or alter any of the requirements at any time.  Please help to keep the information on this page up to date by letting us know of changes that need to be made.
Thank you!  Kia pai te rā

Animals and Pets. Published in the My ECE Guide to Regulations and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education Services, prepared by Dr Sarah Alexander and Warwick Marshall.

Last reviewed: 20 November 2022


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