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DEFRA a Step Closer to Licensing?

DEFRA to consider licensing for dog groomersIn December 2015 DEFRA launched a national consultation to review animal establishments licensing in England. Presently, business premises which handle or hold animals are licensed through the local authority. This includes pet shops, dog breeders, riding establishments and animal boarding establishments. Presently, this does not include dog grooming premises, but the industry has been aware that there is a willingness from local authorities and associations within the trade that licensing will encompass dog groomers at some point in the near future.

We cannot say with any certainty that dog groomers will be included in the new legislation, but we can tell you our opinion - that it will. We are already aware that the BVA have had the Veterinary Act revised, partly as a result of unprofessional groomers injuring dogs – including damage to the anal glands, rectum, eyes, ear canal, significant cuts and joint injuries. Rest assured the BVA will be consulted on this new legislation. Like other animal based businesses, dog groomers must comply with the Animal Welfare Act, so we can expect that the RSPCA, PIF and other animal-related bodies will want all businesses to be covered by this licensing and it’s potential enforcement. We have all read the horror stories of dogs which have died in grooming salons at the hands of unscrupulous, untrained, uncaring groomers or their home-made or unsafe equipment, this too will have an influence on the responses to the consultation. None of us should be naive enough to believe that DEFRA won’t focus their attention to dog grooming salons in their considerations for the new law. Their web site states “We are proposing to introduce new secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This would introduce a single ‘Animal Establishment Licence’ for animal boarding establishments, pet shops, riding establishments, and dog breeding. We want to know what you think about these proposed changes.” Dog grooming salons operate, primarily, under the Animal Welfare Act and are classed by local authorities as an Animal Establishment, so it’s not difficult to conclude that this consultation could be the first step towards licensing for our trade and other animal-related trades (eg. day care, walking, dog sitting, etc.).

But is licensing bad news for dog groomers? Well, for those of us who have the dog’s health and well-being at heart, those who make the effort to train to nationally recognised standards and run a dog grooming business which has the dog’s welfare as a priority – NO, it is good news. It will raise the standards of care and facilities for the industry as a whole. It will remove (or cause significant improvement) those who are operating a badly managed business that risks the dogs health. It will give the public reassurances that their dogs will be cared for by a professional, in approved conditions. Subject to the final outcome, those of us who are professionally trained and qualified should welcome it. The animal first aid qualification can only enhance our readiness for compliance should this law change to include our trade.

The DEFRA web site has lots more information on their consultation to review animal establishments licensing. On their web site you can download a 16 page document called ‘Consultation on the review of animal establishments licensing in England’ which outlines their reasons for revising the present laws into one piece of legislation. Dog grooming businesses are not specifically mentioned (as they are not presently covered), but the ethos of the text of the document indicates why we are likely to see groomers included in the new legislation. Should you wish to read this, you will find it here (click the picture below):

DEFRA pet care licensing consultation

Another part of the web site gives a general outline of the reasons for change and asks for submissions by interested parties. There is an online consultation form which can be completed and submitted to DEFRA, to have your voice heard by those who will draft the proposed changes for government. This is your chance to have your say – take it! The Academy will be adding it’s voice to the submissions, as will individual members of our staff. We are in favour of licensing for dog grooming establishments as this will make our trade a more professional industry and can only be good for the welfare of dogs. Additionally, we have been being told for some time that groomers will be required to prove their competence under any new licensing conditions, and that means that our students who hold the C&G certification already have the required compliance in that respect. You can find the DEFRA online survey form here:

The consultation runs until the 12th March 2016, so don’t miss this chance to put your opinions forward. If you feel sufficiently motivated, you could even write to your MP and local authority department which presently handles licensing to ask that they express an opinion in respect of dog grooming salons also.



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City & Guilds Approved Training and Examination Centre Members of the Pet Industry Federation Members of the British Dog Groomers Association 

City & Guilds Approved Training
and Examination Centre

Members of
The Pet Industry Federation

Members of The British Dog Groomers Association