Dog boarding business owners furious over fee
Same annual licence charge to apply across industry
Dog boarding business owners have unleashed their fury over proposed new council charges.
West Dunbartonshire Council intends on bringing home dog boarders and commercial day boarding into line with kennels by hitting them with a £335 annual licence fee.
This figure is more than THREE times what most other Scottish councils charge as the national average is just £104.
Four dog boarding business owners attended the council’s licensing committee last week to speak out about the costs and several other “ridiculous” rules council chiefs plan to introduce.
All welcomed proper regulation of the industry, but snapped over disparity between boarders and kennels and that dog walking businesses are excluded.
Alexandria man Ian Fisher, of Lomond Home and Pet Care, criticised the plans at the licensing committee.
The 64-year-old, who has ran his dog boarding business for 17 years, said: “The fee is ridiculously unfair considering our income.
“Our maximum is only four dogs at a time, while some kennels have 10, 20, 30 or 40.
“It’s like asking someone in a corner shop to pay the same as Asda or Morrisons.
“We are fully in favour of legislation and the home boarding licence in general. But it’s the costs and we are concerned there’s nothing regarding dog walkers who cause the most problems.”
Ian’s business runs in partnership with Daniel Murray, who also boards a small number of dogs at his home in High Overtoun, Dumbarton.
Daniel’s wife Catherine attended the licensing committee and said: “In relation to the costs it should be pointed out that the average in Scotland is £104 and West Dunbartonshire Council is looking for £335.
“That’s a massive difference. Where are you getting that figure from?
“We have limited places and only board up to four dogs, and sometimes that’s not even practical because of the dogs we are boarding.”
Council chiefs also intend on introduce a rule that all dogs aged over six months must be neutered, which is fiercely opposed.
Catherine Murray said: “We just can’t understand why that clause is in there. It’s not common sense. It’s not practical.
“We support the neutering of dogs but there are a wide variety of reasons why some dogs are not neutered, such as show dogs.
“Where are those dogs going to go? Why discriminate against their owners?”
Council worker Heather Williamson also runs a small dog boarding business and attended last week’s licensing committee to raise concerns.
She said: “I’m fairly new to this business and bring dogs into my home so they don’t have to go to kennels.
“I only charge £15 per day which includes an overnight stay – so I would have to take in a lot of dogs for 24 hours to meet this unfair licence fee.”
Council officer Martin Keeley said: “Currently people who have kennels pay the fee and operate the business.
“They are competing with businesses that are unregulated, that don’t pay the fee, or have a licence.
“Keeping un-neutered dogs at home as a day boarder is a safety issue raised by the national board.”
Council legal officer Raymond Lynch explained that the £335 fee was set in 2014 but that the council is listening to the concerns of dog boarding business owners.
The council ran a short consultation period with dog boarding business owners, but it was criticised for not lasting long enough or reaching enough people operating this type of business across the area.
Councillors agreed to go out to consultation over the proposed changes and a report will be brought to the licensing committee in April 2017. A Helensburgh man who has been convicted of vandalising cars was granted a temporary taxi driver’s licence last week.
Graham Bell applied to West Dunbartonshire Council for the licence on October 17 and attended last Wednesday’s licensing committee in Clydebank Town Hall.
Police Scotland sergeant Angela Walker was also invited and she told the committee how Bell was fined for vandalism and breach of the peace at Dumbarton Justice of the Peace Court.
She explained how the fatherof-three was caught kicking wing mirrors off cars parked in Helensburgh town centre in the early hours of December 27, 2011. He also began shouting and swearing at police officers.
Bell, of Stuckleckie Road, was later hit with £270 in fines and a £400 compensation order.
Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, chairman of the licensing committee, asked Bell: “Why should we grant you a licence?”
He replied: “That incident was totally out of character. I had been drinking for much of the Christmas period.
“Since then I’ve had three kids, I’m getting married next year and I’m embarrassed about that incident.
“I’m just trying to better myself and provide for my kids.”
Councillors unanimously agreed to grant the temporary taxi licence.
Dog licence Daniel Murray and Ian Fisher run Lomond Home and Pet Care