Paul Adams, Principal Licensing Officer introduced the report which highlighted changes brought about by Central Government, and had taken effect on 1 October 2018.
When the Chair invited questions, Councillor Redsell asked why the report indicated there had been only one Riding School in Thurrock, when she had personally been aware of at least three. The Officer stated that only those where riding services were offered required a licence, so stables would not be included. The Officer further invited Councillor Redsell to make those she believed to be omitted known to him.
Councillor Redsell asked what Thurrock Council considered to be a Dangerous Animal. The Officer stated that there is a Schedule of strict definitions and Thurrock applies this criterion only to what is listed on the Schedule.
Councillor Hamilton asked if Donkey rides such as at the Orsett Show would now require a licence. The Officer stated that these would now be licenced but that it would be the place at which the animals were based which would need the licence and not the site on which they operate.
Councillor Hamilton asked what the allowed timeframe would be in which an organisation would be required to obtain a licence. The Officer stated that this was prescribed by the guidance accompanying the legislation.
Councillor Gamester asked if the fees presented would include the cost of any undeclared inspection during the term of the licence. The Officer stated that if further inspection was required then this would be charged separately.
Councillor Rigby asked if “Animal Boarding” would include home boarding. The Officer stated that it would, in addition to dog “Day-Care”.
Councillor Rigby asked if there was a number of litters per year that would differentiate between breeders and private individuals. The Officer stated that only professional breeders would need a licence, but there was no set number of litters. Councillor Rigby further asked what the penalty would be for failing to obtain a licence. The Officer advised he would find this out and advise the Councillor directly.
Councillor Abbas asked why an appellant would need to pay an inspection fee if their appeal was upheld. The Officer Stated that the appeal was free but there was a fee for another inspection where required, adding that if the appeal was upheld, the fee would be refunded.
Councillor Abbas asked if the fees would increase on year. The Officer stated that Thurrock would retain the ability to adjust its fees as required so long as it remained on a cost recovery basis.
Councillor Gamester asked if residents whom took in stray cats with a view to rehoming them would require licensing. The Officer stated they would not as they were not buying and selling the animals.
Councillor Redsell asked if this change in Law would prevent instances of pets being sold in car parks and other unscrupulous means. The Officer stated that it would not, but that there was separate legislation under consideration in this regard.
Councillor Hamilton asked if the breeding of cats was considered under the breeding legislation. The Officer advised that it did not apply to cats other than for the boarding of cats.
The Chair asked if the new approach was based solely on animal welfare. The Officer said that it would be 95% welfare focused, with some consideration to waste disposal etc. The Chair then asked if any consideration would be given to the appropriateness of premises. The Officer advised that this would not be the case beyond a mandatory minimum space per dog, but that this would be covered by existing Planning Legislation. Simon Scrowther added that existing tools around appropriateness of premises would not be diminished.
The Chair then enquired if the star rating would be made public, as with food hygiene ratings. The officer advised that publishing this was a requirement of the new guidance. The Chair further asked if there was an option for more than one visit per year if it was felt necessary. The Officer stated that one per year was the minimum for yearly licenses, and one per three years for five star businesses who had been granted a three year licence. The Officer added that there was an option to conduct more if required.
Lastly the Chair asked if the Council had discretion in what conditions it could impose upon a license. The Officer stated that the conditions available to the Council were prescriptive and there was no discretion in this regard.
The Licensing Committee recommend to Full
To set the fees and charges with respect to the Animal
Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations
2018 as set out in table 1 of Appendix 1 for the period of 1
· Approved the procedure for determining an appeal against a risk rating following the inspection/renewal of an operator as set out in Appendix 3.
2. Noted the Scheme of Delegation as set out in table 2 of Appendix 2.