New regulations introduced in October mean that dog boarders, and other pet care professionals will see changes to the way they are awarded a licence. Announced in June, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 aims to both simplify and better manage the administering of licenses.
The new rules affect home boarding and other commercial dog and pet boarders, as well as breeders and pet vendors. Rather than having a licence for each activity, the new approach will see all activities covered under the same licence.
The updated approach and system will only apply to new applications and renewals of old ones. Current licences will continue to be valid until their original expiry date.
One of the major changes implemented is the introduction of a star rating system. Applicants will have their business, premises and level of welfare rated out of five. This allows local authorities to make a judgement on the risk the business poses to the animals in it’s care.
Having deemed the business either a low or a high risk proposition, the authorities will then make a decision regarding not only whether to award a licence, but also for how long.
Another alteration sees the introduction of fixed term licences, with the term based on a business’s risk rating. A licence could be awarded for between one and three years to successful applicants.
When judging a businesses suitability for a licence, local authorities will focus on five key criteria:
– Whether you are able to provide a suitable environment to carry out your activities
– Whether you are able to provide the animals in your care with a suitable diet
– Your ability to monitor the behaviour and the training of the animals in your care
– The businesses animal handling and interaction skills
– Your businesses capabilities in protecting animals from pain, suffering, disease and injury
Businesses will also need a number of written procedures in place outlining how they might deal with a number of welfare-based scenarios. There must also be written documentation highlighting how the business ensures a suitable environment for pet care, as well as notes on the feeding schedules and precautions take to ensure the safety of the animals in the care of the boarder.
The first licence application under the new rules will be judged on the above criteria, with a star rating given. Upon renewal, either one, two, or three years subsequently, not only will these items be re-inspected, but local authorities will take into consideration whether the business has had cause for concern in relation to welfare in the previous licence period.
To read the full regulations that now apply to dog boarding businesses, just visit the Gov.UK website. If you have any doubts about how the new regulations are handled in your area, it is best to contact your local authority.