Under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, anyone wanting to board animals commercially must obtain a licence from their local council. The Act requires councils to ensure that the business in question observes certain conditions regarding the suitability of the accommodation provided and the welfare of the animals boarded.
To assist councils in doing this the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health convened a working party of animal welfare and industry experts in the early 1990s to draw up some model licence conditions and guidance (MLC). Since then there have been developments in understanding of animal welfare and also the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act in 2006.
The MLC for Cats (2013) and the MLC for Dogs (2016) is the revised and updated document reflecting the legal and animal welfare considerations to be borne in mind by local authority inspectors when looking at kennels and catteries and making recommendations for licensing and any conditions applicable.
This revised document is aimed at all those who are tasked with inspecting, advising and licensing catteries under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963. It may also be useful to owners and managers of catteries and kennels and those planning to build boarding catteries who wish to better understand what their legal requirements are under both the 1963 Act and the Animal Welfare Acts 2006 as well as other related legislation.
What does MLC mean?
MLC means Model Licence Conditions. The full name is Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Dog Boarding Establishments 2016.
It’s a document that has been reviewed and updated in 2016 – the first time in 20 years. The document is designed to advise those tasked with inspecting, advising and licensing kennels under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963.
The MLC for Cats was similarly reviewed and updated in 2013.
Does the MLC affect me?
Those tasked with inspecting, advising and licensing kennels under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 – in other words the Local Authority Licensing Team will use the MLC as guidance when inspecting and licensing boarding premises for dogs and cats.
The aim of the guidelines is to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The documents aims to reflect changes in training/ handling techniques during this time and will be kept under review to ensure that it remains relevant and accurate.
Should I be concerned about the MLC?
Yes! Absolutely – please read on….
The amount of kennel space required to board a greater than 20Kg dog has increased significantly under the new regulations with the run area being expanded to a minimum of 6 sq m. In conjunction with this the amount of space required for multiple occupancy of dogs within a kennel has effectively doubled. This has had a significant effect on the size of the building required for boarding dogs.
In the typical 10 Kennel example shown for the previous guidelines a total area of Kennel space of 68.0 sq m is required. Under the new guidelines the total Kennel area requirement increases to 99.3 sq m, an increase in required kennel space of 31.3 sq m (~46%). The overall building size increases from 166 sq m to 220 sq m which is an increase of 54 sq m (~33%). Given that the sq m of a building is one of the biggest construction cost drivers this increase in size will have a significant impact on the cost of a new kennel building.
In order to determine the licensed number of animals that can be boarded on site, consideration would need to be given to the types of dogs that could be boarded and the likely combinations of multiple occupancy so that the owner will have the greatest amount of flexibility to offer places to their customers. This determination is very complicated based on the multiple occupancy rules and would need to be done in conjunction with the Local Authority Licensing Officer.
As well as the size increase there are other aspects of the new regulations that will also have a significant impact on the build costs for new boarding kennels and we are currently consulting with the Association of Licensed Kennels & Catteries (ALIKC) and our Local Authority Licensing Officer to review the regulations in full and understand the practical application and enforcement of the new regulations throughout the industry.
How much could the new MLC cost me?
ALIKC commissioned has commissioned from industry experts, Kennelbuild an exclusive impact assessment of the new Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Dog Boarding Establishments (2016) and the impact on kennel size.
Nov 2016: The Model License Conditions for Dogs that was reviewed in June 2016 is one of the hottest topics in the pet industry today. As part of its support to members, ALIKC was able to secure a number of authoritative guest speakers at it’s Northern Conference held at the College of Animal Welfare in Leeds, in November 2016.
Prof Stephen Dean, Chair of the Canine and Feline Sector Group opened the presentations to members by talking about “Setting the right standards for Boarding Kennels”.
The Canine and Feline Sector Group – often referred to as the CFSG – is made up of influential organisations who advise Government on behalf of the sector on strategically important dog and cat health and welfare issues and standards, with the aim of improving the health and welfare of dogs and cats. They offer expert advice and recommendations from groups including charities, the veterinary sectors and the pet industry. The voice of licensed kennel and cattery owners is now being heard by the CFSG through ALIKC representation within the advisory Group.
Prof Steve Dean, is a former Chair of the Kennel Club. He’s a veterinary surgeon, general practitioner and Royal Veterinary College lecturer in anatomy. He breeds, exhibits and judges Border Terriers and is a published author and regular columnist for sector publications.
The Model License Conditions for Dogs that was reviewed in June 2016 is one of the hottest topics in the pet industry today. As part of its support to members, ALIKC was able to secure a number of authoritative guest speakers at it’s ALIKC North Conference held at the College of Animal Welfare in Leeds, in November 2016. Professor Steve Dean, Chair of the Canine and Feline Sector Group, was the first speaker to address our members.
Aug 2016: ALIKC commissions Impact Assessment of MLC on Kennel Size to show that the MLC 2016 will have a significant effect on the size of the buildings required by boarding establishments and also the determination of the number of licensed animals that can be boarded. ALIKC opens consultation with kennel construction experts and CFSG to urgently review the situation.
July 2016: ALIKC meets with Chair of CFSG to discuss our concerns about the MLC 2016 not being fit for purpose for boarding establishments. Download the Summary of meeting. An ALIKC Response to MLC is sent to the CFSG for their consideration.
July 2016: The Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Dog Boarding Establishments 2016 is published and ALIKC members are invited to review and feedback on the recommendations to the CFSG.
March 2016: MLC consultation closed. Outcomes to be announced in due course by DEFRA.
December 2015: DEFRA announces consultation to review animal establishment licensing in England. The intention is to create a single set of criteria, based on the Animal Welfare Act 2006, that will apply to all commercial premises where animals are kept. Boarding kennels and catteries (6,300 total) are the largest group of commercial premises where animals are kept and larger than pet shops, dog breeders and riding establishments combined. Licensed boarding establishments are the fourth largest group of business licensed by local authorities. The proposal is to introduce new secondary legislation which will introduce a single ‘Animal Establishment Licence’ for all those affected by current legislation enacted prior to the 2006 Act.
June 2015: ALIKC Vice Chair, Pam Gee attended the CFSG Big Tent Event where the majority of delegates were given the opportunity to offer their views. Attendees heard from Michael Seals, Chairman of the Animal Health & Welfare Board England (AHWBE) and Claire Horton who sits in both CFSG and AHWBE as well being the Chief Executive of Battersea Cats & Dogs Home. Delegates were able to learn about the work undertaken by many different organisations to improve cat and dog welfare and to also confirm ways in which they could work collaboratively to progress this work in future. The CFSG welcomed the opportunity for wider working and delegated feedback indicated the CFSG strategy is on the right track. Download 2015 CFSG Big Tent Overview (PDF)
The amount of kennel space required to board a greater than 20Kg dog has increased significantly under the new regulations with the run area being expanded to a minimum of 6m2 In conjunction with this the amount of space required for multiple occupancy of dogs within a kennel has effectively doubled. This has had a significant effect on the size of the building required for boarding dogs.
An impact assessment commissioned by ALIKC has shown that the recently published Model License Conditions for Dog Boarding Establishments (MLC) 2016 will have a significant effect on the size of the building required for boarding dogs.
In line with the recommendations, the amount of kennel space required to board a dog greater than 20Kg has increased considerably and the amount of space required for multiple occupancy of dogs within a kennel would effectively be doubled.
The area of kennel buildings is one of the biggest construction cost drivers and the published recommendations could have a significant impact on the cost of kennel building that could be imposed by Local Authorities. Multiple occupancy rules to determine the licensed number of animals that can be boarded on site will also become very complicated.
ALIKC is consulting with kennel construction experts as well as the Canine and Feline Sector Groups (CFSG) to review the regulations in full and understand the practical application and enforcement of the new regulations throughout the industry.