Who's looking after your dog this Summer?

East Devon’s Environmental Health team give golden rules for checking out boarding facilities for your pet

East Devon’s Environmental Health team is strongly advising dog and cat owners who are looking to use boarding facilities over the Summer to check out the premises carefully, go on a tour of where their animals are going to stay and ensure the facility has a current licence.

The Environmental Health team has been working hard to help people and businesses who care for dogs and cats to comply with new animal welfare legislation which came into force on 1st October 2018. The legislation has been brought in to improve standards in relation to the welfare of animals, for example dogs and cats being looked after in boarding facilities.

The regulations also update controls in relation to dog breeding, pet sales and riding establishments. All premises to which the regulations apply will receive new licences by September 2019 and many have already been inspected.

Local authorities have welcomed the new legislation as the regulations are all designed to ensure that the highest standards of care are given. Officers have helped small businesses comply and are always available to give advice to proprietors and pet owners.

There are some businesses who do not meet the required standards and these will be advised on the improvements they must make. For the first time a star rating has been introduced and all premises with high standards will be awarded between three and five stars.

Many people leave their dogs and cats with carers for the day and overnight whilst they are at work or on holiday. The team encourage the use of home boarders and similar facilities, as many dogs benefit from being with other dogs and people. This helps them become more sociable generally, but owners must make sure that their pets will be safe. Most people boarding dogs have the required licences and meet high standards, but unfortunately a few do not.

The team is encouraging anyone leaving their dogs and cats to follow some golden rules:

  •  Make sure that you see the current local authority licence for the premises.
  • Make sure that you see the current insurance certificate.
  • Ask to look around the premises whilst it is in use – you want to be able to see where your dog or cat will be looked after. If this request is refused you might consider whether the premises is the right place for your pet.
  • Check that the staff caring for your pet are trained, and preferably qualified.
  • If in doubt, check with the council’s Environmental Health team.

We all hope that pets will be well looked after and return to you in a happy and healthy condition.

However if you do have concerns about the premises, or about anything that has happened to your dog or cat, please contact the team for help and advice. This not only helps you but may just prevent someone else’s pet being harmed or injured. Please tell us even if the premises owner suggests that the injury was caused accidentally. We have become aware of a few incidents where poor standards of care have led to the injury, and very sadly death, of some dogs.

Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council’s Environment portfolio holder, said:

The council considers the health, safety and well-being of animals left in the care of others to be paramount.

Our officers are well trained and experienced, visiting both dog and cat boarding premises throughout the year and encouraging the highest standards of good practice and consistency.

These new regulations assist our officers in continuing to make the right, reasonable, decisions about the conditions on the licences of anyone charged with looking after pets for payment.

Janet Wallace, East Devon District Council’s Principal Environmental Health Officer, said:

The council encourages dog owners to use day care or home boarding as an alternative to dogs being left alone for long periods, but recommends that everyone should make sure that the facility is right for their pet.

They suggest that owners visit the premises and arrange to view the facilities whilst they are open and caring for dogs, just as they would when selecting a nursery for their children. In this way customers can see exactly the way in which their dogs will be cared for, and we would expect all licensed premises to be happy to show customers around.