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IAABC Professional Code of Ethics

Handling Ethical Matters

The process for filing, investigating, and resolving complaints of unethical conduct is described in the Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of the IAABC. For matters requiring these procedures, contact execdirector@iaabc.org.

Reporting Procedure

Principle I: Responsibility to Clients

1.1 Practitioners provide professional assistance to persons without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, political beliefs, national origin, or sexual orientation.

1.2 Practitioners are aware of, and comply with, applicable laws regarding the reporting of animal bites and suspected abuse or neglect.

1.3 Practitioners respect the right of clients to make decisions regarding their pet’s management, training and care. Practitioners are responsible for helping clients understand the potential consequences of those decisions.

1.4 Practitioners obtain informed consent from clients before videotaping, audio recording, or permitting third-party observation.

1.5 Practitioners obtain signed waivers, contracts, or agreements prior to the start of services.

1.6 Practitioners ensure and oversee the safety of clients, animals, and the public in implementing training and behavior programs.

Principle II: Confidentiality

2.1 Practitioners do not disclose client’s personal or confidential information except by permission, or where mandated or permitted by law.

2.2 Practitioners keep accurate and complete records of all clients, their animals, services provided, and the conclusion of the services provided.

2.3 Practitioners provide referring veterinarians with professional feedback on services provided and training or behavior plans to improve continuity of care and ensure the collaborative relationship between health and behavior professionals.

2.4 Practitioners do not share confidential information that could reasonably lead to the identification of a client, or prospective client, research participant, or other person with whom they have a confidential relationship, unless they have obtained the prior written consent of the client, research participant, or other person with whom they have a confidential relationship.

Principle III: Professional Competence and Integrity

3.1 Practitioners work to minimize the use of aversive stimuli and maximize the effective use of positive reinforcement to modify animal behavior.

3.2 Practitioners maintain competence in training and behavior through continuing education.

3.3 Practitioners maintain adequate knowledge of, and adhere to, applicable laws, ethics, and professional standards.

3.4 Practitioners provide truthful advertising and representation concerning their qualifications, certifications, experience, performance and pricing of services.

3.5 Practitioners refrain from providing guarantees regarding the specific outcome of training and behavior plans.

3.6 Practitioners provide full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest to clients and other professionals

3.7 Practitioners work within their professional education and individual expertise.

3.8 Practitioners seek help and education when confronted with complex or difficult cases, and refrain from taking cases beyond their professional experience.

3.9 Practitioners do not advise on problems outside the recognized professional education and certifications, and do not provide advice or recommendations in areas of veterinary medicine or family counseling unless licensed and qualified to do so.

3.10 Practitioners exercise care when stating their professional recommendations and opinions through public statements.

3.11 Practitioners are in violation of this Code and subject to termination of membership, revocation of certification, or other disciplinary actions if they: (a) are convicted of a felony that involves violence against people or animals (b) engage in conduct which could lead to conviction of a felony, or a misdemeanor, related to their qualifications or functions; (c) engage in cruelty, abuse, or neglect of animals or humans, crimes against humanity or of violence against animals or humans; (f) fail to cooperate with the organization at any point from the inception of an ethical complaint through the completion of all proceedings regarding that complaint.

Principle IV: Responsibility to Students and Supervisees

4.1 Practitioners do not permit employees, subcontractors or supervisees to perform or to hold themselves out as competent to perform professional services beyond their training, level of experience, and competence based on certification and education.

Principle V: Responsibility to the Profession

5.1 Practitioners do not engage in business fraud, plagiarism, copyright infringement, theft of intellectual property or trademark.

5.2 Practitioners are respectful of colleagues and other professionals and do not condemn the character of their professional acts, nor engage in public commentary, including commentary in public presentations, written media or on websites, internet discussion lists or social media, that is disrespectful, derisive or inflammatory. This includes cyberbullying, that is, the use of electronic media for deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior against colleagues.

5.3 Practitioners maintain adequate professional liability insurance coverage.

Principle VI: Financial Arrangements & Truthful Representation of Services

6.1 Prior to entering into the professional relationship, practitioners clearly disclose and explain to clients all financial arrangements and fees related to professional services.

6.2 Practitioners represent facts truthfully to clients, third party payors and students regarding services rendered.

Principle VII: Advertising

7.1 Practitioners accurately represent their competencies, education, training, and experience relevant to their practice of training and behavior.

7.2 Practitioners do not use titles that could mislead the public concerning the identity, responsibility, source,and status of those practicing under that name.

7.3 Practitioners correct, wherever possible, false, misleading, or inaccurate information and representations made by others concerning the consultant's qualifications, services, or products.

7.4 Practitioners do not represent themselves as providing specialized services unless they have the appropriate education, training, or experience.

7.5 Practitioners refrain from making misrepresentations regarding marketing and logos for which the practitioner is no longer eligible, and remove logos and claims of certification when no longer maintained by the practitioner.

7.6 Practitioners agree to use the most current logos, and follow recommended usage of said marketing materials.

Process for Filing Ethics Concern

The process for filing, investigating, and resolving complaints of unethical conduct is described in the Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of the IAABC. For matters requiring these procedures, contact execdirector@iaabc.org.

Revised: 1/19/2018