Several months ago there was a lively discussion in one of the online pet sitter forums I am a member of. The topic of discussion was about clients using security cameras outside and inside their homes. Is it necessary? How do we feel about it? Does it violate our rights? Is it because the clients don’t trust us? On and on the discussion went. There were opposing views and some interesting situations I hadn’t given thought to before so I quickly got lost in the discussion thread, reading all of the other pet sitter opinions. I even contributed a few comments of my own.
There was one woman in the discussion who was vehemently against camera use and expected to be trusted and she would not pet sit for someone who had cameras. To me, this is a red-flag. What is she doing behind closed doors in a client’s home that makes her so camera shy?
Several of my clients throughout the years have had cameras inside and outside of their homes. Often times an interior camera is placed in a common area such as a living room, kitchen/dining, or entryway. Most clients with cameras typically show me where they are located, clearly visible. A couple of clients failed to inform me about their use of cameras which ensures I will not work for them again. There has to be some level of trust & respect in the pet owner-sitter relationship.
I have to admit that I don’t love the idea of a camera recording (& audio recording) me every second I am in someone’s living room. That said, I know that most clients aren’t spending their entire vacation logged into their camera system watching me intently. I know that the camera footage is simply insurance in case something bad happens. I know the camera footage is there to protect them, their pets, and also to protect me!
I never feel that clients don’t trust me if they have cameras. They had cameras before me and they will after me, so I know it is not about ME. I would encourage any pet owner to disclose their use of cameras. Cameras should be placed in common areas, never in a bedroom or bathroom, an overnight pet sitter deserves some ounce of privacy!
I like the use of cameras for these reasons:
The client can see when I come and go (they’re probably horrified I’m such a hermit!).
The client has an aggressive dog.
The client has multiple people who have access to the house. This way if their family/friend/neighbor/cleaner takes or breaks something I cannot be blamed for it.
The client’s sink/stove/fixtures spontaneously malfunction - at least it is caught on tape!
The client’s dog/cat suddenly decides to ruin their expensive rug by eating it or peeing on it or acting out in some other way, they can at least see that it was not due to any neglect on my part.
Some sort of random crime or burglary happened then it would be caught on tape.
Lastly, I like cameras for the reason that the pet owner can feel more confident and secure while they are enjoying their vacation. They can login any time to see their home/pets and get that instant peace of mind!