New dog boarding laws forcing business closure
A petition calling for a review of the 2018 Animal Welfare Regulations has received more than 19,000 signatures.
Dog daycare centre owner Marie Worthington, who launched the campaign, says the new laws for licensed activities involving animals are ‘contradictory and unclear in many aspects and will force a large number of home businesses to close’.
She adds that while guidance notes have been issued for councils to use, ‘there are many grey areas open to interpretation.’
‘The guidance notes do not seem to cover all aspects of the regulations, and in other places seem to bear no relevance to the regulations,” she writes. ‘The guidance seems to be aimed at bigger day care centres and small home businesses will be forced to close. Some have already taken the decision to not apply for a new license at all’.
The new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on October 1 with the aim of streamlining and modernising existing licensing controls. But with many licenses expiring on 31 December, it is reported that numerous home boarders in the UK have not been able to renew them.
Ms Worthington told The Telegraph that the new one room per dog rule penalised those with open plan houses and means that the business is determined by layout rather than space, experience or skill. She added that with each boarding dog being worth up to £7,000 a year, it could be “the difference between a small business being viable or not.”
Under the new regulations, garages, outbuildings and conservatories cannot be included as a room for a dog. This means that some home boarders have had no choice but to close down their business.
Responding, a Defra spokesperson said: “The licensing systems for businesses that work with animals have not been reformed for almost fifty years, and these changes simplify these into one system for licensees and local authorities, helping consumers to make better informed decisions and improving animal welfare even further.
“Designated rooms are an important part of this, ensuring dogs have their own space away from other animals if necessary when they are being looked after. We expect local authorities to work with the businesses in their area to implement these changes.”