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Unlicensed boarding is a ticket to nowhere for pet owners

woman playing with two rescue dogs

Published: Tuesday, 13th June 2023

As holiday season approaches many pet owners start to think about how their dogs and cats will be looked after while they enjoy a well-deserved break.

A boarding kennels or cattery seems like a choice guaranteed to give peace of mind but unless they are licensed they have not been inspected to make sure they give a good standard of care and may even be operating illegally.

Alexa Baker, the council’s assistant director for legal, governance and licensing, said: “Anyone who puts their pet in a cattery or kennels while they are on holiday does so in expectation that they will be properly cared for.

“Unfortunately, without the reassurance that a licence gives, this may be far from what happens. The risk of incidents and accidents occurring are far higher and can include escape, injury from fighting and unintended impregnation.

“It’s part of our role to ensure that the premises we license provide a good standard of care and I would urge anyone looking for a cattery or kennels to check the premises they intend to use is licensed, to be confident their pet will be properly cared for.”

The borough council’s licensing team is responsible for maintaining a register of licensed businesses. Licences are listed on a public register on the council’s website and the business must also display a licence reference on their website/business accounts.

All premises have a basic description of what they do and a star rating that demonstrates how well the premises meets both mandatory and higher standards.

The borough council’s licensing team recommends that as well as checking whether the premises is licensed, pet owners visit the business to see for themselves what is on offer. Facilities differ and some may suit one pet better than another. This is especially important if the premises is offering pick/drop off services, so owners can see where their pet will be staying.

Pet owners can check the council’s licensed premises register at The register also lists licensed breeders for people who are interested in getting a pet – this ensures that breeders meet the required welfare standards for the animals in their care.

For more information contact the borough council’s licensing team on 01553 616200. You can also use these details to report an unlicensed premises or make a complaint about a premises.

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