‘New dog boarding licence fees are unfair and will destroy Luton businesses’

Some of the dogs that Dawn looks after, including her own pooch. She is passionate about her job because she enjoys meeting new people and because "dogs are such loving animals".
Some of the dogs that Dawn looks after, including her own pooch. She is passionate about her job because she enjoys meeting new people and because "dogs are such loving animals".

Luton dog boarding companies are angry with what they say is an unfair council decision to raise their licence fees to extortionate prices.

Kari Self, of ‘Kari’s K9’s & Friends’ and Dawn Richards of ‘Dawn’s Doggie Duties’ are protesting a change in price, which Luton Borough Council says is to cover “administration and complience costs” due to the new the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 that came into force on October 1.

Dawn and Kari, who register their businesses with the council and receive an inspection, used to pay £156 per year for the licence fee.

However, to renew their licence, they must now pay £200 for an application fee, followed by £240 for a one year, one star licence (£440 total); £400 for a two year, three star licence (£600 total) ;or £660 for a three year, five star licence (£860 total).

Kari claimed: “Luton is setting the highest fees compared to other counties. How can they justify such an extortionate hike? We must stand united and set a precedence for our future.”

Both Dawn and Kari say that the “huge costs” could mean potential closure, and that it may encourage other dog boarding companies to “go underground”.

Dawn claimed: “I live near the Central Bedfordshire Council border, where over there, the new fee is £220 followed by only £110 for 1 year; £165 for two years and £220 for three years.

“How is this fair?

“I would be absolutely gutted to give up my dream job.”

The ladies also allege that the council has been slow in communicating with them.

A Luton Borough Council spokesman, said: “Recent nationwide legislation has led to the introduction of a more rigorous animal boarding licence regime. The changes have meant the council has had to raise its fees accordingly in order to cover administration and compliance costs. Not all councils have published their new charges so it is not yet possible to compare fees.

“Depending on the result of the initial inspection licences will be awarded for one, two or three year periods. The overall fee reflects the period of the licence awarded. The deadline for applications is Dec 31.

“Combatting illegal animal boarders is very important. Report suspected illegal animal boarding establishments via 01582 546040.”