New committee aims to tackle boarding inconsistencies

The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) is spearheading a campaign to tackle the lack of licensing amongst many dog home boarders. The aim is to create a level playing field between the different types of boarding establishments and improve animal welfare.

Boarding kennels and catteries require a licence from their local authority to operate, a requirement which is enshrined in the 1963 Boarding Establishments Act. Since the Act was established, however, home boarding – the practice of pets, mainly dogs, staying in other people’s homes when their owners are away - has sprung up and is now an increasingly popular way of boarding.  In the absence of any specific legislation surrounding home boarders, some dog boarders operate without a licence, with many, even licensed ones, taking in dogs from different families at once. Added to this, there is little consistency amongst local authorities as to whether these home boarding businesses should be licensed and what standards they should be judged against.

A working committee of the Canine Feline Sector Group, instigated and chaired by PIF, is examining the issue. The group comprises national animal charities and organisations such as the Dog’s Trust, International Cat Care, RSPCA, The Kennel Club and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

Nigel Baker, Chief Executive of PIF said: ‘It’s not right that kennels and catteries have to obtain a licence and adhere to strict criteria in order to run their business, whilst many home boarders operate under the radar. Equally though home boarders by their very nature, should be judged by a different set of criteria to those of kennels and catteries. It’s this disparity that can ultimately compromise animal welfare and is what the group aims to remove, in the absence of any new legislation. We are delighted that so many high profile organisations have agreed to get involved in the working party; it highlights how important this issue is.’

The committee met for the first time in January 2014 and has agreed to develop guidelines specific to each type of boarding establishment, which can then be implemented by local authorities nationwide, allowing them to license and inspect all boarding facilities effectively and within the scope of the legislation.

 

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