The new Animal Welfare Regulations came into force on 1st October 2018. They will replace the existing Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Pet Animals Act 1951, Riding Establishments Act 1968, Dog Breeding Act 1991, Performing Animals Act 1925. The new regulations take effect on renewal or if your business is being brought into the scope of licensing for the first time. Businesses earning under £1000 per annum do not need to be licensed and licenses are generally only required by businesses that have premises like day care centres and home boarding establishments. Dog walking and pop in services are not covered by the new regulations.
Why is there a need for new regulations?
The existing laws are largely outdated in the UK and as the Pet Sitting Industry is growing rapidly, the new regulations have been brought in to ensure the welfare of animals in the care of others. There is currently a lot of inconsistency across the country with varying licensing fees and different criteria from one council to another. The new regulations are in place to stop this.
The new regulations can be found online - https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111165485
You can also access the guidance notes in your account area.
What is included in the new regulations?
The new regulations cover a whole range of criteria with regards to boarding dogs. These vary from forms and policies you should have in place, training of staff, dog rest areas, cleaning, walking, monitoring of behaviour and many other areas. A star rating system is being introduced where businesses who are meeting a higher criteria are given a higher rating and this could potentially mean lower fees and longer license periods. In the guidance documents there are details on how a higher star rating can be achieved.