Health and safety rules for dogs and cats will see businesses which look after pets in East Devon rated by council bosses.
New animal welfare legislation means, for the first time, boarding and day care facilities for canines and felines will be given one- to five-star status.
All establishments have until September to bag a fresh licence.
Residents with four-legged friends are being urged by East Devon District Council (EDDC) do their homework on any establishment they are considering using.
The authority says incidents of poor care in the past have led to the injury – and even death – of some dogs.
Improving standards is the aim of the regulations, which also apply to dog breeding, pet sales and riding establishments.
Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “The council considers the health, safety and wellbeing of animals left in the care of others to be paramount.
“Our officers are well-trained and experienced, visiting both dog and cat boarding premises throughout the year and encouraging the highest standards of good practice and consistency.
“These new regulations assist our officers in continuing to make the right, reasonable, decisions about the conditions on the licences of anyone charged with looking after pets for payment.”
EDDC’s Environmental Health team is ‘strongly advising’ dog and cat owners who are looking to use boarding facilities over the summer to check out the premises carefully.
They should go on a tour of where their animals are going to stay and to ensure the facility has a current licence.
Officers have been working hard to help people and businesses who care for canines and felines to comply with the new animal welfare legislation.
The health and safety rules for pets are all designed to ensure that the highest standards of care are given.
EDDC says there are some businesses who do not meet the required standards – and these will be advised on the improvements they must make.
For the first time, a star rating has been introduced. Premises with high standards will be awarded between three and five stars.
Janet Wallace, EDDC’s principal environmental health officer, said: “The council encourages dog owners to use day care or home boarding as an alternative to dogs being left alone for long periods, but recommends that everyone should make sure that the facility is right for their pet.
“They suggest that owners visit the premises and arrange to view the facilities whilst they are open and caring for dogs, just as they would when selecting a nursery for their children.
“In this way, customers can see exactly the way in which their dogs will be cared for, and we would expect all licensed premises to be happy to show customers around.”
EDDC is encouraging anyone leaving their dogs and cats to follow these golden rules:
Make sure that you see the current local authority licence for the premises;
Make sure that you see the current insurance certificate;
Ask to look around the premises while it is in use, you want to be able to see where your dog or cat will be looked after. If this request is refused, you might consider whether the premises is the right place for your pet;
Check that the staff caring for your pet are trained and, preferably, qualified;
If in doubt, check with the council’s environmental health team;
An EDDC spokesperson added: “If you do have concerns about a premises, or about anything that has happened to your dog or cat, please contact the team for help and advice.
“This not only helps you, but may just prevent someone else’s pet being harmed or injured.
“Please tell us even if the premises owner suggests that the injury was caused accidentally.
“We have become aware of a few incidents where poor standards of care have led to the injury, and very sadly death, of some dogs.”
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