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Agenda item

Changes to Animal Licensing Legislation

Minutes:

Mr Martyn Jeynes, the Community Protection Manager, introduced his report which provided guidance from DEFRA on the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 which would come into effect on the 1st October 2018.

 

The Committee noted that the new legislation provided an updated licensing framework in England for five activities involving animals which were as follows:-

 

·  Selling animals as pets

·  Providing for or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats and dogs

·  Hiring out horses

·  Dog breeding

·  Keeping or training animals for exhibition

 

Mr Jeynes highlighted areas that were now captured by the legislation such as online trading of pets. 

 

In response to questions from Members, Mr Jeynes advised that:-

 

·  The fees were calculated according to the guidance and took into account all the activities involved in the particular processes such as travel, time spent at the establishment and the processing of the licence application.

·  The new regulations were made on 16th April 2018 and due to come into effect on 1st October 2018. The relatively late publication of the guidance, particularly around fee setting meant that it had not been possible to brief Members before the Committee meeting.

·  The legislation gave more powers to Local Authorities, including giving Officers authority to enter a premises with a warrant on suspicion of trading rather than having to gather evidence of an offence first. 

·  If selling pets online the person was required to show a licence number on their advertisement.

·  A dog training establishment did not fall under the new regime but the person who exhibited the dog would have to be licensed.

·  The guidance stated that there should only be 1 litter per bitch each year.  The restriction of 3 litters per year related to 3 breeding bitches in one household.  An Officer can investigate if there was a suspicion that it was more.

·  The current licences were due to expire in December 2018 so existing  establishments had been contacted and advised about the new regime.  The legislation provided for the transition of existing licences which needed to be issued under the new regime once  expired.  With most licences due to expire in December 2018 there was likely to be heavy demand on the service between October and December. 

·  It would be possible to review the fees in 12 months’ time as there would have been sufficient time to check if the fees had been calculated in the correct manner.

·  Officers could follow up on concerns from residents who suspected an activity was being operated without a licence.

·  The guidance stated that a cost for enforcement against unlicensed activities should be included, which would be paid from licensed activities fees, as enforcing against unlicensed activities protected their business. 

·  Establishments who were awarded a 5 Star rating would pay upfront cost in the first year, but the Council would still need to recover its costs overall.

·  Dog Day Care and Home Dog Boarding were new additions to the regulations and therefore an unknown quantity. 

·  Dog Walkers and Horse Livery Stables were currently outside of the scope of the legislation.

·  It was envisaged that the details of the Animal Licences would be published on the licensing website in order that anyone could check  to see if the establishments had a licence.

·  Officers would be working with the Communications Team to ensure that the message was given out to the general public to reflect the new changes.  Mr Jeynes stated that he would also address the requirement for a hotline so residents could report their concerns around unlicensed activities.

·  Officers had taken into account the cost of an inspector and others in training to provide cover.  It had also been recognised that for the first one to two years the service would be resource heavy, especially as a lot of the existing licences expire at the end of 2018.

·  The fees were calculated to cover the cost of the service provided, this included the cost for one official visit and an unannounced visit during the term of the licence. 

·  The activities of home dog boarding and dog day care were required to be licensed from 1st October.  If these were excluded from the list of fees then it would not be possible to licence this activity.  The guidance specifies the fees from other licensed activities cannot be used to subsidise another licensing activity.  The fees for each licence had been costed based on predicted costs for the Council on administering the licence and not on the relative incomes of the activities themselves. 

 

 RESOLVED: 

 

1)  That the changes required by The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 be noted.

2)  That the associated fee structure, produced in accordance with the guidance provided by DEFRA effective from 1 October 2018 be agreed.

3)  That a review of the service be submitted to the Committee in 12 months’ time.

Voting:  For: 8  Against:  4  Abstentions:  0

Councillor Garten asked for his dissent to be noted.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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