The media is full of animal-related stories. If I come across something that's topical, thought provoking, entertaining or of general interest to animal lovers and pet owners in particular I'll do my best to add it here. Also, I'll include any new services on offer from Sit 'n' Stay Petminding. So do be sure to check back here regularly and also feel free to comment on any items or issues via the Sit 'n' Stay Facebook page!
Home dog boarders being forced out of business by 'barking mad' regulations
From an article by Haley Dixon published in The Telegraph on 31st December 2018
They are considered to be a man's best friend, so it is little surprise that when dog owners have to leave their pets they want them to still have all the home comforts that they are accustomed to.
But the thriving industry that provides this in the form of home daycare and boarding for dogs is now under threat because of new legislation which has been described as "barking mad".
New restrictions including each dog having to have its own room and a huge increase in fees for licences mean that some businesses are being forced to close down whilst others are losing a large proportion of their income.
In turn, the owners who depend on the facilities could be left with nowhere to go.
Suzi Harris spent £25,000 adapting her Hampshire home before she opened Just-Like-Home Doggy Daycare & Boarding in June 2017, and the new regulations mean that she will lose a third of her income.
She said: "It is absolutely soul destroying. I am going to be sort of OK, but others won't be and this is effecting hundreds of people across the country."
Ms Harris has been lobbying Defra for a change since the rules were introduced alongside Maria Worthington, who runs Oscar's Pals from her Berkshire home.
"I think that I am going to be OK, but you just don't know until the inspector comes around," she said. "There are just so many people who still haven't heard anything and don't know what will happen to their businesses."
Ms Worthington, whose petition for change has received almost 19,000 signatures, said that the one room per dog rule penalised those with open plan houses and meant the business was determined by layout rather than space, experience or skill.
Each boarding dog could be worth up to £7,000 a year, which could be "the difference between a small business being viable or not", Ms Worthington said.
Conservatories, garages and outbuildings cannot be counted as a room for a dog.
As a result of this one business owner, Helen Stead, who had a licence to house six pets in The Doghouse - a specially converted heated outhouse at her Shropshire home -has been forced to close down.
Despite being described as the the "crème de la crème" of boarding last year, the new rules mean that she can only get a licence for one dog and her business is not viable.
People have also been barred because they share communal hallways with neighbours and other are struggling to install gates to ensure they comply with having two secure barriers to prevent the dog escaping.
The rules appear to be designed to limit the number of dogs people can care for, though the business owners say anyone who would want to cram their home full of too many dogs is unlikely to apply for a licence in the first place.
The campaign has already had some success and Defra have updated several of the guidelines in the Animal Welfare regulations that came into force on October 1.
They now allow daycare providers to walk dogs off the lead if the owners have provided written consent and have included hallways and bathrooms as seperate rooms to keep dogs in if they need to be isolated.
However, a number of issues remain, including the use of a star rating which is not about quality but a risk assessment based on pre-determined standards such as paperwork and how long an establishment has been running. It is feared that getting low starts despite maintaining high standards of care could put customers off.
Furthermore, because the new licences are being administered by local councils there has already been evidence of them interpreting the rules differently.
Most licences run out on December 31 and many of the the 5841 home boarders in the UK have not been able to renew them because of the confusion and the need for all premises to be inspected in a short space of time.
Ms Harris said: "One of the main issues is that the licensing authorities have raised fees, in some cases up to £800. But there is such disparity - in some areas people are paying £80 and in others £800."
A spokesperson for campaign group Dog Owners Against Discrimination described the new rules as "barking mad".
She said: "People are heartbroken. Our experience is that the people who run these businesses do so out of love for dogs.
"The businesses sprung up because of a gap in the market but it is not a high income industry and some of these people are out at all hours in all weathers walking the dogs.
"If they were providing a poor service then owners would notice and word would get around the community, it is self regulating so Defra do not need to stick their nose in."
A Defra spokesperson said: “The licensing systems for businesses that work with animals have not been reformed for almost fifty years, and these changes simplify these into one system for licensees and local authorities, helping consumers to make better informed decisions and improving animal welfare even further.
“Designated rooms are an important part of this, ensuring dogs have their own space away from other animals if necessary when they are being looked after. We expect local authorities to work with the businesses in their area to implement these changes.”
Please note: As stated on our home page, these changes HAVE NOT had any effect on
Sit 'n' Stay following the renewal of our license by Caerphilly Borough Council in December 2018.
20th February 2017
Animal lovers hope to make it mandatory for pets found by council workers to be checked for microchips so they can be returned to their owners.
The petitions said only Gwynedd, Anglesey, Cardiff, Newport, Blaenau Gwent and Neath Port Talbot councils do not routinely scan animals.
7th July 2016
A new law came into force on 6th April 2016 which stated first and foremost that all dogs within England and Wales MUST be microchipped.
The police and local authorities are tasked with policing compliance with the scheme, and all local authorities and police forces have been issued with an appropriate number of microchip scanners to be able to execute their duties effectively.
Importantly for all dog owners if the police or local authorities find a dog without a microchip since 6th April this year (assuming that the owner of the dog in question can be located), the owner will be given a further short window of opportunity to get their dog microchipped. If they still then fail to comply with the law, they will face a fine of up to £500 per dog.
Of course all responsible dog owners and dog lovers will welcome this new legislation as it is designed to provide a number of benefits that include:
Your dog (and indeed your cat) is probably already microchipped. But is the information stored on the chip up to date? If you've moved home or changed your contact details, such as your landline and/or mobile phone number since the original microchip was implanted, then the data stored on the microchipping database won't match your current details and could result in difficulty tracing you.
The National Dog Warden Association says that 40% of the microchipped dogs they take in have missing or inaccurate information held about their owners on the databases, making reuniting a microchipped dog with its owner as hard in some cases as it can be for dogs that are not microchipped at all.
31st March 2016
Something only cat owners will understand!
BATHROOMS: Always accompany your humans and their house guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.
DOORS: Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get the door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an "outside" door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold or exceptionally wet or windy weather.
CHAIRS AND RUGS: If you feel the urge to throw up, get to a chair or bed quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an oriental rug. If there is no oriental rug, shagpile is good too. When throwing up on any carpet, make sure you back up so the trail is as long as your human's bare foot.
HAMPERING: If one of your humans is engaged in some activity, and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called "helping", otherwise known as "hampering". Here are some of the basic rules for maximum hampering:
cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.
For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book -- unless you can lie across the book itself.
When your human is working at their computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at the mouse pointer on screen, and then lay in human's lap across arms, hampering typing in progress and possibly resulting in a spellcheck meltdown.
WALKING: As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of your human, especially on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.
BEDTIME: Always sleep on your human at night so he/she cannot move around.
LITTER BOX: When using the litter tray, be sure to kick as much litter out of the tray as possible. Humans love the feel of cat litter between their toes.
HIDING: Every now and then, hide in a place where your humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause your humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, your humans will cover you with love and kisses, and you'll probably get a treat!
FINALLY: Whenever possible, get close to your human, especially their face, then turn around and present your butt to them. Your humans really love this, so do it often. And don't forget their house guests too!
2nd October 2015
Some disturbing figures released by the Dogs Trust
Today I saw the following on the BBC News website:
Figures released by the Dogs Trust say more than 47,500 dogs were abandoned by their owners in the UK last year. The animals all ended up in council pounds and more than 5,000 were later put down, according to the charity's annual survey of 345 local authorities.
In total, UK councils picked up 102,363 strays in 2014-15 - a fall from 110,675 dogs in 2013-14, but were having to put healthy ones down due to "a lack of space and resources", the Dogs Trust said. Of those 102,363, 54,767 were reunited with their owners, the charity said, but 47,596 dogs were never collected.
The Trust said it also had handled 43,771 calls from people trying to give up their dogs in the last 12 months, but was hopeful the number of stray pets returned to their owners will rise once it becomes a legal requirement from April 2016 for dogs in England, Scotland and Wales to be microchipped.
Dogs Trust chief executive, Adrian
Burder, says it's time for people to stop treating family pets as a "disposable item".
"Abandoning a dog is simply unacceptable and sadly, Dogs Trust's famous slogan 'a dog is for life' is as significant as ever," he said. "If you are not ready to care for a dog for its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner."
Mr Burder goes on to say local authorities have found themselves in the tough position of being forced to put healthy dogs to sleep due to lack of space and resources."
The figures were compiled from 319 local authorities in England Wales and Scotland that responded to the Dogs Trust survey, as well as 26 councils in Northern Ireland.
22nd September 2015
Petition to UK Government to make it illegal to run over a cat and not stop to report it.
I recently signed an on-line petition at the website change.org seeking to have cats afforded the same protection as dogs under the Road Traffic Act. The RTA states drivers must stop and report an incident involving a collision with a dog, however there is no similar law covering cats. Sadly, cats on roadsides are an all too common sight. They are left for dead or die in terrible agony from their injuries before anyone can get to them.
The petition requires 75,000 signatures in order for it to go before government. As of today it has received just over 63,000. If, like me you think cats deserve the same status in law as dogs, please go to: https://www.change.org/p/uk-governement-make-it-illegal-to-run-over-a-cat-and-not-stop-to-report-it and add your support. It could make a real difference.
For more information on any aspect of the services provided by Sit 'n' Stay Petminding, please contact Sue on:
07749 660 738
029 2088 1778
Or contact us via the Sit 'n' Stay Facebook page.