What are the Legal Requirements for Running Boarding Kennels

The requirement to hold a licence

Where a person wishes to “keep a boarding establishment for animals” he must obtain a licence from his local authority.

What is the definition of the keeping of a boarding establishment for animals?

The keeping of a boarding establishment for animals is defined by the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 and means the carrying on at any premises, including a private dwelling, of a business providing accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs.

Where a person provides accommodation in connection with a business but the provision of such accommodation is not the main activity of the business, for example a vet, then such activity falls outside of the definition.

Can a licence be granted to anyone?

  • If a person is disqualified from keeping a boarding establishment for animals or from keeping a pet shop a licence cannot be granted.
  • If a person is disqualified from owning, keeping, dealing in, having custody of or transporting animals a licence cannot be granted.

What matters will a local authority take into account when deciding to grant a licence?

When deciding whether to grant a licence the local authority will take into account the suitability of the accommodation. The local authority will want to ensure that the animals will be suitably fed, exercised and that reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of disease and to guard against fire. The local authority will also want to ensure that a proper register of animals is kept. The register should state the dates of arrival and departure of each animal and should state the name and address of the owner.

A local authority has the discretion to refuse a licence on other grounds.

Conditions of a licence

  • Any licence granted may be subject to conditions.
  • If a person wishes to appeal against any conditions of a licence then they may make an appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.
  • Where a person contravenes a condition of a licence they may be fined and/or imprisoned. The licence may also be cancelled by a Court and the holder may be disqualified from holding such a licence for such period as the Court thinks fit. Where a Court cancels a licence or disqualifies a person, it may suspend the operation of the order pending an appeal.

How long does a licence last for?

Any licence granted will, unless cancelled in the intervening period, need to be renewed on an annual basis.

If the holder of a licence dies the licence passes to his personal representatives for up to 3 months. If after that time they wish to continue with the running of the boarding kennels, for example, to enable the business to be sold as a going concern, they will have to apply for a licence in their own name or names.

If a licence is refused can I appeal?

If a licence is refused an appeal can be made to the Magistrates’ Court.

What are the consequences of failing to obtain a licence?

Where a person is required to obtain a licence and they fail to do so they may be fined and/or imprisoned. They may also be disqualified from holding such a licence for such period of time that the Court thinks fit.

Inspections by local authorities and vets

A local authority has the power to inspect boarding kennels or authorise a veterinary surgeon or practitioner to carry out an inspection on its behalf. It is a criminal offence to wilfully obstruct or delay such an inspector, punishable with a fine.

Are there any other specific matters I should be aware of?

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 created a number of criminal offences the purpose of which are to prevent harm to animals and to promote the welfare of animals. Where such an offence is committed the Court may cancel a licence, disqualify a person from keeping boarding premises, fine a person and in some instances, order the imprisonment of a person.