Oakington Dog Day Care Centre receives a 5⭐rating for the New Animal Activities License (AAL) - Lic

5⭐rating New Animal Activities License (AAL) - Licensed by South Cambs District Council

Oakington Dog Day Care was recently inspected by South Cambs District Council under the new Animal Activities License Regulations (England) 2018 issued by DEFRA.

We were proud to be granted a 5* rating, and our clients and partners have shown an interest in finding out more about the regulations and our new license.

Why is there a need for new regulations?

New Animal Activities Licensing (AAL) regulations came into force on 1 October 2018, which replaced and updated several pieces of old legislation. Existing laws covering a range of animal-related legislation have been in place for decades (namely: Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Pet Animals Act 1951, Riding Establishments Act 1968, Dog Breeding Act 1991, Performing Animals Act 1925), and in that time there have been huge changes in pet owner attitudes and lifestyles. The new legislation takes account of the new business offerings which have sprung up in response to these. A major criticism of the old laws is that they were inconsistently applied across the country, with inspection fees varying hugely and the inspections themselves based on a variety of different criteria. These issues have also been addressed in the new regulations. This has been a major exercise for the local authorities as well as business.

What is included in the new regulations?

The new AAL regulations provide one generic licence for commercial pet businesses. There are standardised criteria on the various activities providing a framework of minimum standards which businesses must meet in order to gain a licence. The regulations are also supported by statutory guidance documents which provide further detail to businesses and to local authorities about how the regulations can be met.

Risk-Rating System

All businesses are now rated from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the highest you can attain) based on welfare standards found during the inspection and on whether that business is deemed low or high risk. Businesses deemed low risk and meeting higher welfare standards will be granted a higher star rating.

What do Higher standards mean?

The Ratio of dogs to staff is lower, the minimum requirement is 1 attendant to 10 dogs in established businesses. We have a ratio of 1 attendant to 6-8 dogs.

There must be a Suitable Environment with different areas for dogs to exercise and rest in. We have separate areas both indoors and outdoors with different equipment and equipment at different levels for the dogs to enjoy. We have a large range of toys which we can bring out depending on the mix of dogs on any one day. Our premises are assessed for safety.

The dogs benefit from a Routine, we have times set aside for rest periods and a dedicated complete quiet time during the day. We understand how important it is for dogs to have proper rest as well as play during the day.

Documentation is standardised. All our procedures are documented and we have extensive risk assessments. These are living documents and are reviewed and updated as necessary. Our terms and conditions have been updated ensuring that we comply with the new regulations. We also maintain comprehensive records on all aspects of our business, all of which were available for inspection by our Inspector.

Staff training and development is a key part of our business. We have an excellent team and are committed to their continuing professional development.

Spot checks – Yes, we have been granted a 5* license which is great, but we’re also prepared for a visit from our Inspector at any time in order to ensure standards are being maintained. The local authority will also have a public register on their website with a list of businesses and their AAL rating.

Every business that has been granted a license must display their license publicly and must state their rating on their advertisements for the public to see.

I hope this gives an insight to the license that is now in place. We are very proud to have been granted our 5* license, but it doesn’t mean that we now forget about it until our next inspection. These are new times and the new regulations are in place to improve animal welfare standards, which is what everyone wants and is working together to achieve.

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