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New animal licensing regime comes into force

A new animal licensing regime has come into force in South Lakeland with the purpose of improving welfare standards.

South Lakeland district councillors on the Licensing Regulatory Committee were told that the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 widen the previous animal licensing duties of councils.

Previous multiple licences are replaced by one new Animal Activity Licence, which will be for one to three years depending on an inspection and type of activity. Where more than one activity takes place, they are separately assessed within the licence.

Existing licences will be assessed under the new regime on expiry of their present licence.

Premises will be inspected and according to their risk rating assessed as either high or low risk. The business will then be awarded between one and five stars based on meeting the minimum or higher standards detailed in the guidance. This will be displayed on the licence and determine the length of the licence, as well as the frequency of further inspections. The star rating will also be published on the council website.

The new regime provides licensing authorities with additional powers for safeguarding animal welfare, as well as potentially severe penalties for those carrying out a business without a licence.

Simon Rowley, SLDC’s Assistant Director of Neighbourhood Services, said: “These are national regulations brought in by government and should simplify the system and make it easier for businesses to understand. They should also further strengthen our ability to crack down on unscrupulous traders and help reduce animal suffering.

“This new system should benefit people running animal-related businesses in South Lakeland – the vast majority of whom run their activities well with the appropriate animal welfare considerations”

The activities requiring a business to be licensed by the council are:

  • Selling of animals as pets.
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs.
  • Hiring out of horses for either riding or instruction in riding.
  • Breeding three or more litters or puppies in any 12-month period; or breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition, educational or entertainment purposes.

The provision of accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs relates to providing boarding for cats, providing boarding in kennels for dogs, providing home boarding for dogs, and providing day care for dogs.

There are a number of exemptions or where other legislation may be pertinent, for example a circus or animals requiring a Dangerous Wild Animal licence.

Further information can be found on the SLDC website www.southlakeland.gov.uk under the licensing and permits section.

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