We appreciate knowing ahead of time whether or not you keep companion animals in the venue scheduled for investigation. Your companion animals are part of your family, but they're not always predictable when guests come over....
Please understand, many of us in PPI are also pet owners, and we mean no disrespect in laying down some rules about your pets before we come into your home. Our goal is simply to conduct the safest and most effective investigation we can by creating the most controlled environment for our methods of data collection. To that end, here are some important conditions and common sense suggestions about accommodating your pets during a PPI investigation.
Planning Around Them
Unless your companion animals are important to the investigation (for instance, if they are integral in the claims of paranormal activity you report for us), we kindly ask that you make arrangements for them on the night of the investigation so that they do not pose risks to the investigators, their equipment, or the collection of data for the case. If this presents undue hardship, then please designate one room in the venue for their accommodation and let investigators know about their location, their behaviors, their sounds, and other factors that could affect our collection of data.
PPI does not use equipment that is hazardous to animals. However, animals may pose a hazard to the investigation. From our territorial intrusion as strangers in your home, to our use of strange equipment, our presence could cause house pets to behave erratically. Our use of flash photography in the dark, for example, may overexcite or confuse pets, which could lead to aggressive or neurotic pet behavior. Furthermore, unrestrained house pets pose unnecessary risks to the stationary equipment that PPI sets up as part of its investigation, including infrared cameras, data loggers, and wireless audio recorders. We rely on our clients being forthcoming about their house pets prior to our arrival, and we trust pet owners to secure any pet that might possibly bite, scratch, or be overly demonstrative; however, if we assess too many unnecessary risks due to the presence of one or more pets, PPI will politely withdraw and, if the client so wishes, reschedule the investigation when the risks are contained.
In rare cases, pets can be indispensable to our investigations because they are involved in specific aspects of the case. However, in most instances pets that are not in cages or tanks placed securely away from the investigation area compromise the measures of control we work very hard to maintain in order to safeguard our evidence from contamination. When dogs shadow the movements of their owners or cats stealthily follow the investigators during the investigation, contamination of our recorded evidence will be inevitable. In fact, the following pet related noises and activities frequently risk misinterpretation in the evidence analysis or cause us to throw out potentially legitimate evidence because it cannot be ruled out as pet related.
- Dogs, cats, potbellied pigs: clicking nails and pattering feet on hardwood surfaces; panting, purring, grunting and breathing abnormalities; licking noises; whines and cries.
- Birds: fluffing and preening; cage rattling; bruxing (sleep-related beak-scraping); screeches, squawks and peeps; and, for birds with speech abilities, mumbling and talking.
- Caged mammals and caged reptiles: rattling; rustling; random vocalization.
- Aquatic pets: filtration noises; anomalous shadows (lighted tanks).