Boarding kennel industry ‘poorly regulated’ in New Zealand, SPCA says

The SPCA recommends researching boarding kennels before booking in your dog. Photo / NZME

Anyone operating a boarding kennel has to be aware of the minimum standards laid out under the Code of Welfare for Temporary Housing of Companion Animals and the Code of Welfare for Dogs.

The code was developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and issued by the Minister of Agriculture in October 2018.

It specifies that people operating a dog boarding kennel should ensure “dogs are cared for by a sufficient number of staff who have the ability, knowledge and competence necessary to maintain the animals’ health and welfare”, the SPCA said.

This includes knowing when to seek veterinary advice.


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But SPCA science officer Dr Alison Vaughan said the boarding kennel industry is “poorly regulated” in New Zealand.

“This means there are very minimal standards that operators must legally comply with.

“While SPCA does not make the law, we can advocate for change and our charity recognises that the poor regulation of the industry is an issue.”

The Far North District Council said the Doggies and Moggies boarding kennel business had “operation rights” as a permitted activity.


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“These rights were existing when the current owners bought the business,” council compliance manager Rochelle Deane said.

“This means no resource consent was required for the business to operate, and therefore no council conditions are applied to its operation.”

Some district councils, including Wellington City Council, require a certificate of registration for anyone who wants to set up a dog boarding kennel.

However, “There is not a requirement for kennels to register with Far North District Council,” Deane said.

The SPCA recommends researching boarding kennels before booking.

“You can ask your vet to recommend a cattery or kennel for your pet,” Vaughan said.

“It’s also a good idea to visit the facility before making a booking. Look for clean and secure facilities.

“Don’t be shy to ask about staff experience and qualifications.”

Vaughan said a good facility will also check your pet is up to date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, and is microchipped and that your dog is registered.


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