New dog care laws are welcomed, but will some small businesses suffer?
- Credit: Archant
Owners of Suffolk dog care facilities have welcomed new animal welfare legislation - but there are fears the rules could put some smaller businesses at risk.
The new Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 and Defra guidance notes cover dog daycare and home boarding, as well as many other animal operations, including breeders and pet shops.
The home boarding rules say each dog, or dogs from the same family unit, must have a room for itself where it can sleep - and some types of room, including outbuildings, are not acceptable.
Almost 20,000 people have signed a national petition on the Government website calling for a review, expressing fears some smaller businesses could be forced to close.
Tina Alexander, owner of Doggie Daydreamz dog daycare and home boarding at Buxhall, near Stowmarket, welcomed the new rules.
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She said: “I think it’s really good that we’re being regulated and having to follow new rules. I don’t think people should be looking after dogs unregulated, any more than after children.”
Tina has been running her business for two-and-a-half years, based at a family farmhouse with ten acres of land for off-lead walks and an acre of secure garden.
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“I don’t have a problem with designated rooms, because I have always separated dogs out at night,” she said.
“But I do just worry that it may put some people out of business if they don’t have the space to keep dogs separated at night. I think there will be even more who run unlicenced - a lot of people are doing that now.”
Candace Rose is director of Suffolk Canine Creche, based in Martlesham, a leading provider of dog daycare. She was involved in the consultations which led to the drawing up of the daycare sections of the regulations, but not the home boarding rules.
She spent 18 months consulting with Parliament, together with people from many different parts of the industry.
“The new laws were desperately needed. From the daycare perspective, I think they have got it as right as it can be,” she said.
Dog lover Candace founded Suffolk Canine Creche in 2012, and it has grown very quickly, showing the scale of demand. “This is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country,” she said.
As well as the original creche in Martlesham, the group now has franchises in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Needham Market and Lowestoft, as well as one outside Suffolk in Harpenden.
The aim of the new rules is to simplify the licences needed by businesses and drive up animal welfare standards. Businesses will have to meet criteria covering numbers and training of staff, space, hygiene and many other aspects.
Previously, some of the licensing systems dealing with animals had been in place for 50 years and were badly outdated.