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Complaints of Ethical Misconduct

The IAABC prides itself on the quality and conduct of its members and credential holders as well as its dedication to holding them to high standards of professionalism. In order to protect the general public, the reputation of our membership and credentials, and the organization, the IAABC accepts complaints against current and former IAABC members and credential holders.
Anyone who is found in violation of the Code of Ethics may be subject to sanctions. Depending on the severity of the violation, the sanctions may range from a letter of reprimand to mandatory corrective action, suspension, or termination of membership and/or credentials.

Conduct During the Complaint Process

If you are notified of a complaint against you, please remember that participation in the process is a requirement of membership and credentialing. We are required to process all complaints received; nobody is exempt based on their status in the industry, service to the IAABC, or any other factor. In addition, we expect you to conduct yourself according to professional standards of courtesy.  Poor treatment of the Ethics Director including abusive language or personal attacks is wholly unacceptable and may be presented as a secondary violation. 


If a respondent does not agree with the outcome of the complaint, they may file an appeal and have the case re-evaluated by a Hearing Panel. This process is time-sensitive and no further appeals are available.

The Ethics Complaint Process

We encourage all stakeholders to read the specific details of our complaints policies and procedures. These published policies will always take precedence. However, for ease of understanding the process, you can read on for a summary. 

Initiation of the Complaint 

The process begins with formal filing of an ethics complaint through the online form. Any person is eligible to file an ethics complaint. The form is used both for external reports as well as by IAABC staff to begin an internal member disciplinary process. 
The individual who files the form, or the "Complainant," is required to state their identity to the IAABC. They may opt to remain anonymous from the alleged violator, or "Respondent." However, in some cases the complaint may be weaker if identifying information is excluded. This is because all Respondents have the right to defend themselves and because the IAABC holds high evidentiary standards in order to protect our members and credential holders from misuse of the complaint process.

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Preliminary Complaint Review

After the complaint is filed, a Complaint Review Panel is formed from Ethics Team members to determine if the complaint will be pursued. At any time in the process, the Complaint Review Panel may also decide that further investigation is needed and choose to proceed as such, for example, conducting web searches or interviewing witnesses.
The preliminary decision is made based on analyzing factors including the strength of the evidence, the complainant's involvement in and familiarity with the situation, and the complainant's argument for how the situation posed a violation of the stated section of the Code of Ethics.

If this assessment does not indicate a potential violation, the Ethics Director will contact the Complainant to let them know the complaint is closed.

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Respondent Notification

If this assessment indicates a potential violation, the Ethics Director next contacts the Respondent with the complaint, the evidence, and the opportunity to answer questions or offer a rebuttal.

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Complainant Statement

After the Respondent replies, the Ethics Director may contact the Complainant for a final statement, if indicated.

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Final Determination

In the last step, the Complaint Review Panel  convenes for a final determination. During this meeting, the Complaint Review Panel will decide if a violation occurred and if so, what the consequences will be.

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Executive Approval

The final determination is then approved by the Executive Director of the IAABC or returned to the CRP for reconsideration, resubmission to the Executive Director, and approval.

Member Testimonials

Here I get support, information and training on current, evidence-based knowledge. A great community of international consultants offers great exchange on each relevant topic to support each other helping animals, their owners or even organizations that take care of animals of different species.

Sylvia Czarnecki, Certified Horse Behavior Consultant

I am proud and honored to be certified by, a member of, and educator for the IAABC. I consider the organization to be the industry standard for well-rounded, quality, ethical animal behavior information that is disseminated in a supportive, effective, collaborative environment. The IAABC works very hard to produce not only quantity of educational resources, but also quality.

Katenna Jones, Certified Dog & Cat Behavior Consultant

As a member, I get to network with experts in my field all over the world. This allows me to expand my knowledge in cat behavior as well as shelter behavior. As the feline behavior manager in an open intake shelter, this opportunity to learn from the best has allowed me to ensure the mental health and behavior needs are met for the cats in our care. The IAABC is the "go to" place for people all over the world to find experts in animal behavior. As a certified member my profile is available for the public to view. Since I earned my certification, I've seen my private business almost triple.

Lisa Stemcosky, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant

a woman with brown hair and a grey dog touch noses

IAABC has been an invaluable learning tool for both myself and staff. As a shelter professional, the webinars provide relevant and up to date information to be used in multiple formats. The online convenience allows for continuing education, minus the travel.The mentorship programs are nothing short of amazing, including the pricing . This organization is always looking forward and growing.

Amy Schindler, Shelter Behavior Affiliate