Risks of Running Petting Zoos

Risks of Running Petting Zoos
Risks of Running Petting Zoos

Children and adults alike enjoy taking some time off from regular activities and relax at mobile animal farms and petting zoos. Zoos and aquariums are a pastime of choice for many people. They are making big business, racking in as much as $2.6 billion a year in the United States. With big business also comes great potential risks for financial losses due to misfortunes that may occur.

As families enjoy themselves in some of these little make-do farms and zoos; they can unintentionally agitate the animals or hurt themselves. Beyond the potential risks associated with children and adults who visit zoos and aquariums, there are other risks such as damage to property. Animals may also be hurt in transportation or they may escape and cause damage in nearby areas. Animals may also get sick and veterinarian services can be quite costly.

Some of these sicknesses may have resulted from animals being fed inappropriate food by visitors. Sometimes visitors to the zoo can be infected with diseases which may spread, after being in contact with animals. All these different scenarios can end in financial loss or lawsuits. Petting zoo insurance can help protect you from such risks.

Whether it’s a mobile petting zoo, animal education, wildlife sanctuaries, or animal rehabilitation centers; it is wise to always have petting zoo insurance in case some of the scenarios described above find themselves on your doorstep.

Most petting zoo insurance companies offer these different types of insurance such as public liability; worker’s compensation; property; vehicle insurance general liability; professional liability; coverage for equipment, like a laptop and commercial auto. Other insurance options available include commercial auto insurance and barn or stable insurance.

It is also wise to cover petting zoo activities under insurance. Such activities may include carriage rides, pony rides, hayrides, educational shows, to mention just a few. Activities to be covered vary depending on the activities offered by each petting zoo or aquarium.

While insurance will cover expenses due to various unfortunate incidences that may occur at a petting zoo; below are some precautions to take heed of in order to avoid potential lawsuits and property loss:

  • Offer ready access to hand hygiene stations: This includes running water with liquid soap and disposable towels and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Hand hygiene stations should be accessible to everyone who accesses the petting zoo, especially children to avoid the spread of infections.
  • Healthy animals: All animals should appear clean, healthy, and well cared for. There should be no evidence of diarrhoea (either in the pens or on an animal’s tail or rear end), Skin lesion (e.g. Scabs, crusts, missing patches of hair), or other abnormalities.
  • Avoid keeping high-risk animals: If high-risk animals are present, there should be no means of contact between the public and these animals or anything inside their enclosures.
  • Don’t allow inside premises: Food should not be allowed in the petting zoo area, and should certainly not be for sale there.
  • Have prominent signs: Signs should be clearly visible to remind people to wash their hands, not to have food or drink in the exhibit, and other general safety tips for being around the animals.
  • Supervision: There should be easily-identified personnel paying close attention to the people and the animals in the petting zoo to help prevent problems.
  • Maintain cleanliness: Manure and soiled bedding should be removed regularly from the animal pens, and kept or disposed of away from public areas.
  • Don’t allow smoking: This is a major fire hazard around the bedding used for most petting zoo animals.
  • Don’t multi-task: No other activities, events, or displays should be in the same area as the petting zoo. This allows for better traffic around the zoo, and most importantly through the hand hygiene area after people have.