A Manchester dog care business is pleading with Manchester City Council to change the way it approaches licensing applications after finding out that it faces the prospect of having to close down the overnight, kennel free hotel part of its operations.
Daycare4dogs, which is based in Sharston, has been told by the council to build kennels and separate the dogs, or close the doggie hotel altogether. The overnight facility is a kennel free environment that means no stress, no isolation, but instead familiarity and comfort.
The team also runs Dogs4Rescue which is a unique, independent dog rescue in Irlam where again the dogs live together without being locked away. The rescue is directly funded by the daycare business so this will also be impacted by the licence decision. The focus at the rescue is on the dogs spending their days getting all the exercise, socialisation, stimulation, love and care that they need whilst waiting for their forever homes. They are free, happy and sleep in warm beds at night, completely unaware they are homeless dogs.
At present there are only two types of boarding licence the team can apply for: 1) home boarding, the council confirmed that is not an option in a commercial building; or 2) kennels – where all dogs need to be isolated.
That prospect goes against everything the business and rescue stand for and why they do what they do. Owners Louise Fields and Emma Billington have pioneered kennel free environments since they set the business up 12 years ago.
Manchester City Council had said that it would work with Daycare4Dogs to adapt a licence to work for its unique night-time setup, or come up with a specific licence that covers what they offer. However, after months of deliberation and delays, the council has determined that they have to build kennels to “fit” their licence and that a home boarding licence (the most similar to what they do) isn’t applicable as the doggie hotel is not operated from a home. Therefore, unless they build kennels they will be forced to close that part of the business.
Emma Billington said: “When the new licences for dog daycare and boarding came into effect last year, we explained to the council how the regulations would be to the detriment of the welfare of the animals we care for including how stressed the dogs would get when isolated in kennels. We understand that procedures are in place to protect the welfare of animals, but all of this makes no sense. I appreciate that everyone is trying to do what they think is best but the council must look on this situation with compassion as well as practically as their decision will have a real impact on the lives and wellbeing of countless dogs in Greater Manchester as well a big part of our business.”
Emma added: What makes it worse is that even if we did make luxury kennels or bedrooms the boarding dogs would not be allowed to socialise with the daycare dogs in the day because it states in the licence that they can’t be mixed, and so would have to be confined and have separate exercise. It’s a really worrying time – especially as we don’t know what the impact will be on the business, our customers or the animals we look after.”
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