Report by Public Protection Manager (attached).
The Committee considered a report in respect of the draft Animal Licensing Policy proposed amendments (circulated previously) by the Public Protection Manager.
The Public Protection Manager introduced Lee Staples, Environmental Health and Licensing Practitioner, to the meeting who updated the Committee with the following:
· A public consultation ran from 20 June 2022 until 15 August 2022 seeking comments on the Animal Licensing policy being proposed.
· A good number of responses were received. A total of 61 responses were received including a direct response from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
· After careful consideration of the responses received Officers in the Licensing, team drafted several amendments to the proposed policy.
· A summary of Officer Comments and recommendations on the consultation responses could be found at Appendix C of the report.
· The amendments made as a result of the consultation responses were as follows:
Ø Minor amendment to the proposal to appoint an independent Vet to undertake hiring out horses’ activity inspections who will be independent and not one that was retained by the applicant/licence holder. The proposed amendment was that an independent Vet would be used “wherever reasonably practicable”, and it was acknowledged that due to the relatively small number of specialist equine Vets in Devon, it may not always be possible or reasonable, to contract an independent Vet;
Ø In relation to applicants who disclosed relevant convictions the Policy had been amended to direct those applications to a Licensing Sub-Committee for determination. In the case of offences for animal cruelty, Licensing offences, or offences involving sex, indecency, or exploitation, the recommendation to the Licensing Sub-Committee would be one of refusal, whereas for other relevant offences the recommendation would also be refusal where the offences fell within the timeframes since conviction/sentencing as set out in the Policy. It was proposed Officers retain delegated powers to refuse applications where applicants were considered to fail to meet minimum welfare standards upon inspection;
Ø It was proposed that the requirement for applicants, for renewal, to undertake a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as part of their application be delayed until 1 January 2023 to enable adequate notice of the new arrangements to be communicated in a timely manner within the renewal documentation.
· Concerns raised by a small operator in connection to the previously proposed requirement for a trade waste agreement had led to the following subsequent amendment:
Ø Amendment to requirement for applicants to provide evidence of a commercial trade waste agreement, to allow for some degree of Officer judgement where an application was from a small-scale operation or was likely to produce very small volumes of waste.
In response to questions from the Committee, the Environmental Health and Licensing Practitioner gave the following replies:
· If an independent Vet was on the prescribed registered list but also worked at the same practice as the applicants own Vet they would not be precluded from carrying out an inspection.
· The highest star rating a new business could expect to be awarded after its first inspection was four. This national framework had to be adhered to.
· The reason for relevant offences relating to sex offences being a requirement to disclose was, by way of example, in regards to the situation of a horse riding stables where children might be unaccompanied by their parent or guardian.
· North Devon did not currently have any households registered with a primate as a pet.
(a) The representations received in response to the public consultation shown at Appendix B of the report be noted; and
(b) No further amendments are required to the policy shown at Appendix A of the report.
RECOMMENDED that the Animal Licensing Policy 2022, shown at Appendix A, be approved at a future Strategy and Resources committee.