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What another great year thanks to all our guests. Bookings being taken for 2019/2020 but only a few weeks next year left now. School holidays now all booked up for 2019.
I am sticking to a max 2 dogs. There are lots of boarding homes available but how anyone can cope with more than 4 dogs beats me. 16 paws to wipe is enough! and a lot of poo bags used. I feel that by just having 2 extra dogs makes for a happy chilled house and the promise of a home from home environment.
In October 2018 The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) updated The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018. These new regulations replace the majority of existing animal licensing laws. A full copy of the guidelines can be found under Information & Forms. There are severeal points which are under discussion with the Licensing of Dog Boarders & Day Care in all Uk council as they are causing alot of home boarders to close due to regulations being contradictory and incorrect. Here is the latest reply from DEFRA in Q & A format...
UPDATE ON HOME BOARDING & DAYCARE CAMPAIGN
DEFRA have just today published their FAQs addressing our issues. You will see that sadly little has changed although the major changes (so far) are that daycare dogs can be let off lead, daycare ratio can be 1:10. It stresses that resident dogs need 1 room for ALL resident dogs and bedrooms are counted for designated rooms. We will be upping the campaign to address the 1 room per dog and the 9m2 issues.
The statutory guidance on home boarding and dog day care, as well as other animal licensing controls is now available on the Canine and Feline Sector Group website:
We worked with a large stakeholder group consisting of businesses, charities, veterinarians and local authorities in drafting the regulations and the guidance.
Questions that apply to both home boarding and day care
Q: Why can only four dogs be walked at one time, when some local authorities have a maximum of six?
A: The stakeholders involved in drafting the guidance all agreed that four dogs was a manageable maximum number of dogs to walk.
Q: Does a home boarding business that also runs day care from their home need to have a licence for both home boarding and for day care?
A: A home boarding business that also runs day care from their home only needs to have a licence for home boarding. This is because under home boarding, it is envisaged the dogs are likely to be present in the day as well as overnight.
Q: Why can home boarders walk dogs off the lead (with the owner’s permission), but dog day care operators can only walk dogs on the lead?
A: The dog day care guidance is being edited to state that dogs can be walked off the lead with the owner’s permission.
Q: Do dogs need to be constantly supervised in day care and home boarding?
A: In home boarding, dogs must not be routinely left alone for more than 3 hours in a 24 hour period, or shorter intervals as necessary for the individual health, safety and welfare of an individual dog.
In dog day care, dogs must be supervised at all times. However, in a home environment this will not extend to instances where attention is away from the dogs only momentarily. The operator can leave the dogs in a room alone for a short period as long as they are not left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress. There must always be someone on hand to check on the dogs or some other form of supervision (e.g. CCTV).
Q: Why is the mesh size different between home boarding and dog day care?
A: The guidance will be edited to ensure that these are consistent.
Q: Why is the minimum gap size for fences different in home boarding and dog day care?
A: The guidance will be edited to ensure that these are consistent.
Q: Why are the conditions for the treatment of wood different in home boarding and dog day care?
A: The guidance will be edited to ensure that these are consistent.
Q: Why are businesses that have not been licensed before considered as high risk, even if they have been in business for many years already?
A: Any business that has not been licensed before does not have a history of compliance with their local authority and so cannot be classed as low risk. They can, however, meet the higher standards and so are able to achieve a two year licence and a four star rating. Businesses that have been in operation for a number of years should have held a licence under the existing legislation or were most likely operating illegally.
Q: Why are dog walkers and dog groomers not licensed?
A: We did not consider that sufficient evidence was presented during the consultation period to justify including these activities in the licensing regime. If sufficient evidence is presented, this can be reconsidered at the five year review period.
Q: How can local authorities assess the knowledge and experience of operators?
A: Clear evidence of knowledge and experience will be assessed in tandem with inspections. Training has been developed for local authority inspectors which will cover how to assess this and if standards at an establishment are lacking then it may also become obvious that there is also a lack of knowledge/experience.
Q: Isn’t providing multiples of resources, such as food, dangerous and contradicts the condition that dogs should be separated for feeding?
A: 6.1 states that dogs should be fed separately unless the permission of the owner is given. Where an owner gives permission for their dog to be fed alongside other dogs then competition must be minimised as per 5.8. In this case there must be resources for each dog and the dogs should be carefully monitored.
Q: Why have you insisted on the provision of scatter feeders?
A: The guidance states that dogs must receive appropriate toys and feeding enrichment. If certain forms of enrichment are not considered to be appropriate then they do not need to be provided.
Q: Why are you insisting on a leptospirosis vaccination?
A: The four core vaccines (against canine parvovirus, canine distemper, canine adenovirus/infectious canine hepatitis and leptospirosis) are all recommended by BSAVA. Research shows that the risk of a dog experiencing a serious side effect to one of the core vaccines is remote and that not vaccinating dogs against these diseases is a much greater risk.
Q: Why can someone not board dogs if they have a communal hall? There is nothing to stop people in flats from having pet dogs.
A: These regulations do not apply to individual owners, but apply to businesses which are looking after a dog that belongs to someone else. This means they are held to high standards to minimise risk.
Q: Why do I need a preventative health care plan?
A: A healthcare plan is necessary to ensure that the policies and procedures in place are sufficient to prevent or minimise risk and to protect animal welfare.
Q: How are the fees decided and what can I do if I think they are too high?
A: It is up to local authorities to set their fees based on full cost recovery. If an operator is finding that fees are disproportionate then these should be disputed with the local authority or the ombudsman can be contacted. Many councils will charge a separate application fee and fee for a 1, 2 or 3 year licence in which case the savings come from only having to pay the application fee once over a three year period.
When setting fees, local authorities should have regard to “Open for business: LGA guidance on locally set licence fees”, which sets out the steps that must be taken to set fair and reasonable fees, and explains the EU Services Directive upon which the LGA guidance is based.
Local authorities should also have regard to the BEIS Guidance for Business on the Provision of Services Regulations. As with other areas of licensing, regard should also be had to the principles in the Regulators’ Code. “Reasonable anticipated costs” will be fact specific and dependent on the local authority in question. The “Open for business: LGA guidance on locally set licence fees” guidance includes information on what could be considered reasonable.
All activities are covered under a single licence however local authorities may choose to break up fees into separate parts in order to simplify these.
Q: Why was there no mention of home boarding and dog day care in the original consultation? Have these businesses been consulted at all?
A: The public consultation focussed on the major changes proposed to the system. It was stated that the legal requirements for each activity would be updated and we received responses from a number of home boarders and boarding establishments. The guidance was developed by local authorities, welfare organisations, vets, the Kennel Club and trade associations such as the Pet Industry Federation (PIF). Home boarders and dog day care providers were part of this consultation.
Q: Why do I need OFQUAL regulated training?
A: The guidance states that training must be “a minimum of an OFQUAL regulated level 2 qualification in a relevant subject, or clear evidence of knowledge and experience”. The OFQUAL qualification is not mandatory, as long as the operator can demonstrate clear knowledge and experience.
Q: The requirement for all doors to open internally is unreasonable. Why has this been included?
A: The guidance accepts that it may not always be possible to have a setup where a door opens inwards. The following sentence in the guidance states: “Where this is not feasible there must be a procedure in place to demonstrate safety”.
Q: Why does each dog need its own designated room? Does this include the owner’s dogs?
A: Allowing each individual dog a designated room in which it can be separated from other dogs is important as in a worst case scenario where multiple dogs need to be separated for an extended period of time, one or two temporary spaces may not be sufficient. The regulations must allow for this worst case scenario.
The dogs belonging to the owner of the business must also have a designated room. These dogs can share one designated room – they do not need a room each.
Q: If the dogs are shut in their designated rooms, then they are not in compatible social groups and this is a welfare concern. Home boarded dogs usually like to socialise with one another?
A: The purpose of the designated rooms is so that dogs can be separated if the need arises (e.g. if they are being aggressive towards one another). The dogs should not be permanently shut in their designated rooms.
Q: If I have permission from the owner for dogs to be kept together, do they still need a designated room each?
A: Yes, because it must still be possible to separate the dogs if the need arises.
Q: Can I use my bedroom as a designated room?
A: Yes, unless the usual occupant is under 16 years old.
Q: Can I home board cats?
A: Home boarding of cats is not permitted unless it meets the standards set out in the Defra Guidance notes for conditions for providing boarding for cats.
Q: Can I crate a dog overnight?
A: A dog can only be confined in a crate for three hours in any 24 hours. A crate can be used overnight as long as the crate is kept open so that the dog is not confined.
Q: Why can’t I use my own dog crate if the owner provides one that is unsafe?
A: If an owner cannot provide a suitable crate then the dog should either not be kept in a crate or should not be boarded at the establishment.
Day care questions
Q: What is the staff to dog ratio for dog day care?
A: As a guide, a ratio of staff to dogs in established businesses must not normally exceed 1:10.
Q: Does the number of dogs that can be kept on the premises include dogs that are there for grooming?
A: The guidance states that the figure includes dogs kept in the licensed premises which are not present for day care and must not be exceeded. It would be for the local authority to decide if this includes dogs kept temporarily, such as for grooming.
Q: Why is crate time for dog day care restricted to one hour in any eight hour period? What if they need to be isolated for health or behavioural reasons?
A: Stakeholders agreed that dogs should not be confined in a crate for long periods of time. The establishment is required to have separate isolation facilities (condition 9.3) and so if a dog needed to be isolated for health or behavioural reasons, the isolation facilities should be used rather than a crate.
Q: Why are dog day care providers responsible for grooming? As they are only present during the day, shouldn’t this be the owner’s responsibility?
A: The guidance states that licence holders should ensure that dogs benefit from “adequate routine grooming and other health regimes as needed e.g. cleaning of eyes or keeping long fur from matting and inspection for parasites”. The intention is not that the licence holder groom the dogs on a daily basis, but that they ensure that the dog’s welfare is maintained by preventing their fur from matting for example.
Q: Why do dogs needs to be supervised at all times in dog day care? How is
this possible in a home environment?
Q: There is inconsistency in the amount of time that dogs can be left for – in one place it says they must be supervised at all times and in another that they can be left as long as they are not in distress?
Answer to both: Dogs must be supervised at all times, however, in a home environment this will not extend to instances where attention is away from the dogs only momentarily. The operator can leave the dogs in a room alone for a short period as long as they are not left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress. There must always be someone on hand to check on the dogs or some other form of supervision (e.g. CCTV).
Q: How can I take the dogs outside for toileting opportunities if they must all be supervised at one time?
A: The guidance states that “in a home environment dogs must have access to a secure outside area for toileting”. The dogs could all be allowed into this area at one time.
Q: If I have to remove the dogs from the room before cleaning it, do I have to do this every time they go to the toilet?
A: Dogs must be removed from the room before a thorough clean is undertaken. Spot cleaning of faeces or urine can occur while the dogs are present.
Q: Why are there so many conditions on transport? Is this really necessary?
A: Some dog day care providers collect all of the dogs in the morning and return them in the evening. It is important that the dog’s welfare during these journeys is maintained and that they do not spend excessive amounts of time in transport.
Q: Isn’t it the owner’s responsibility to ensure that a dog has a suitable diet?
A: The owner can provide the food for the dog, but the licence holder must take into consideration whether or not this is suitable.
Q: How can I walk the dogs if I cannot leave them unsupervised?
A: The dogs could be walked together.
Q: Why are there references to fish and horses in the dog day care guidance?
A: This wording comes from the regulations themselves where some of the wording of the conditions are reproduced in the guidance. The regulations cover five different animal activities: dog breeding, animal boarding, hiring out horses, pet sales and animal exhibits.