Agenda Item No 8
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 20th September 2016
Report of the Director of Environment and Housing
Licensing of Animal 'Day Care' Facilities
Purpose of the Report
- To advise the Joint Committee of the outcome of the recent consultation on draft licence conditions for animal 'day care' premises, and to seek approval for the Shared Regulatory Service to licence such establishments.
- That the outcome of the consultation is considered and a revised set of licensing conditions for animal day care premises are approved.
- That the licence fees for the licensing of animal day care premises are approved as detailed.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- Shared Regulatory Services administers the licensing of a range of animal related premises including kennels, pet shops and horse riding establishments. Each different category of licence has a set of licence conditions to be satisfied, and a fee structure. The Service has become aware of a growing trend across the region of a new type of establishment offering animal day care services under labels such as 'doggy day care' and 'dog crèches'. In order to licence this new class of animal establishment, a set of conditions and fee structure need to be agreed.
- In order to licence this new class of animal establishment, a set of conditions and fee structure need to be agreed.
- On 18th May, the Joint Committee considered a proposal to licence dog day care premises across the SRS area and approved a consultation exercise with interested parties on the draft licence conditions presented to members at that time. These draft conditions are set out in Annex 1 to this report.
- The Service had become aware of the growing trend for day care centres being set up which charge members of the public to look after their dogs while they are out at work or otherwise away for the day. Popularly known as 'doggy day care' or 'dog creche' facilities, some of these businesses run from industrial type units while others appear to be run from domestic premises.
- The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 requires that any business providing accommodation for other people's dogs and cats is licensed by the Local Authority. The legislation defines a boarding establishment as the carrying on of a business of providing accommodation for other people's dogs or cats, and acknowledges that the premises can be of any nature, including a private dwelling. There is no distinction in the Act between premises that provide overnight accommodation (the traditional boarding establishments such as kennels and catteries) and those that accommodate animals only during the day as in the case of day care / crèche facilities.
- A 2007 Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) opinion provided further clarification on the subject of novel business models, advising that 'Local authorities are advised to look at the 'primary function' of the business. Where the primary function is to board animals then this would suggest that the business requires a licence. Businesses where the boarding is ancillary to the primary function are unlikely to require a licence, for example, pet groomers and trainers'.
Relevant Issues and Options
- It is clear from the above that day care and crèche type premises are covered by the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, and it is important that they are brought into the licensing regime as soon as possible. This is for a number of reasons, in particular
- Public safety
- Animal welfare
- The avoidance of nuisance
- Fairness to other animal boarding premises in the region which have to comply with strict licence conditions and pay an annual licence fee.
As these premises haven't been licensed before there will be additional work for officers to inspect, but this would be compensated through the licence fees in what is a novel area for the Shared Service to recover costs.
- The draft licence conditions for day care facilities are set out at Annex 1 are based on the principles contained in the Animal Boarding Establishments Act whereby the Local Authority, in determining whether to grant a licence, must have regard to securing:-
(a) that animals will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable as respects construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness;
(b) that animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised, and (so far as necessary) visited at suitable intervals;
(c) that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of adequate isolation facilities;
(d) that appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the animals in case of fire or other emergency;
(e) that a register be kept containing a description of any animals received into the establishment, date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner, such register to be available for inspection at all times by an officer of the Local Authority, veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.
- In order to capture the views of those affected by the proposed licensing regime, a consultation exercise on the draft conditions was undertaken with a range of stakeholders including dog day care businesses, the RSPCA, Dogs Trust and the Royal Veterinary Society.
- The consultation was conducted over a 28 day period with respondents able to participate via a range of channels including via the Shared Regulatory Services website, email and in hard copy format.
- The consultation exercise generated one response which was from the RSPCA. The response put forward some very constructive points and is included as Annex 2 to this report. Many of the recommendations made by the RSPCA have been incorporated into the set of revised conditions set out in Annex 3.
- After further analysis of this particular trade sector, it is proposed that these conditions apply to the larger scale day care premises only and that those smaller scale businesses operating from domestic premises are taken into the fold of the existing home boarding regime which is better suited to these particular settings.
- If approved by the Joint Committee, it is proposed that the licence fee for dog day care premises is in line with that for Animal Boarding establishments which for 2016/17 are as follows:-
Inclusive of Veterinary fee
Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan
Plus full Veterinary costs, if incurred
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- As outlined above, it is proposed that the costs of administering this new aspect of the licensing portfolio would be recovered through appropriately set fees.
- As such, there are no adverse resource implications for the service.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- There are no immediate sustainability or climate change implications associated with this report.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- Under relevant legislation, the Council is allowed to recover costs for Regulatory activity and the issuing of permits and licences.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no immediate crime and disorder implications associated with this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- There are no anticipated equal opportunities implications associated with this report. Through the monitoring and review of fees and charges, the Shared Service will ensure that its enforcement activity reflects this position and is in keeping with the Equality Statements and Policies of the participant Authorities.
- Extending the current licence regime links with the participant Authorities' stated objectives which are reflected in the Shared Regulatory Service themes of 'Protecting the environment', 'Improving health and well-being', Supporting the local economy and 'Maximising the use of resources''
Policy Framework and Budget
- The key service and improvement objectives contained in the SRS Business Plan identify and link to the Corporate Plans of each Council. This proposal is focused upon health and well-being along with the maximising resources component of the plan. It is intended that the adopted Scrutiny regime will engage in the review and developments of plans, policies and strategies that support the corporate objectives of each Council.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- As set out above, the proposed extension of the current animal related licensing regime has been subject to 28 days' consultation with stakeholders
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- The SRS is currently scrutinised through the arrangements in place at each partner Council.
Helen Picton, Operational Manager (Enterprise and Specialist Services)
Assistant Chief Executive, Bridgend County Borough Council
Director (Environment), City of Cardiff Council
Director of Environment and Housing Services, Vale of Glamorgan
Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council
Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing