Closed petition Review the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 and DEFRA Guidance notes

New regulations for licensed activities involving animals are coming into force on October 1st. Two activities covered are day care for dogs and home boarding for dogs. The new law is contradictory and unclear in many aspects and will force a large number of home businesses to have to close.

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Guidance notes have been issued for councils to use, to enforce the new law but they contradict the legislation in places and there are many grey areas open to interpretation. The guidance notes do not seem to cover all aspects of the regulations, and in other places seem to bear no relevance to the regulations. The guidance seems to be aimed at bigger day care centres and small home businesses will be forced to close. Some have already taken the decision to not apply for a new license at all.

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Government responded

This response was given on 12 February 2019

We worked with key stakeholders to ensure the licensing requirements are clear and consistent, clarifying and updating the statutory guidance supporting the controls in light of stakeholder concerns.

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The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 streamline and modernise existing licensing controls with respect to dog breeding, animal boarding, riding establishments, pet sales and animal exhibits. They have been widely welcomed and came into force on 1 October. The purpose of the licensing regime is to provide greater reassurance about welfare standards in various commercial establishments involving animals. The controls include a new risk based approach in that those that are low risk and apply higher standards get a 5 star rating and can benefit from a longer licence (up to 3 years) and a lower fee.

We received a number of comments relating to the statutory guidance issued under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 for home boarding and dog day-care. Primarily, these are issues of clarity. We have discussed the specific issues that have been raised with our stakeholder groups which includes businesses, charities, veterinarians and local authorities. We also met with the individuals that started the petition to discuss their concerns. We have made some adjustments to the · guidance, to address those comments, to provide further clarity and to help improve the understanding among both local authorities and businesses. This includes changes to the definition of a designated room in the home boarding guidance, so that hallways and bathrooms can be included as designated rooms as long as they meet certain standards, and so that dogs from the same household can share a designated room. We have disseminated the updated guidance to local authorities and stakeholders to ensure that the regulations continue to promote a high standard of animal welfare with a minimal disruption to businesses. The updated guidance has now been published on gov.uk. Feedback on the changes has been positive.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.