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Animal Welfare Advice during the Coronavirus outbreak

We are updating this webpage regularly, as Government guidance and requirements change. If you would like to discuss any issues relating to animal welfare licensing with thus, you may call us on 023 8028 5230 or email


Home Boarders (14 May 2020)

The Canine and Feline Sector Group (CFSG) have revised their guidance regarding home boarding.  It states that the priority should be given to board dogs from householders of key workers or shielded or vulnerable people.  If you chose to board dogs there is a handover protocol you must follow in the guidance, see CFSG Guidance.

Additional precautions that must be taken include :

  • Dogs to be walked on the lead locally maintaining social distance from other people and pets.
  • Dogs must arrive and depart at different times so clients can maintain social distance.
  • Avoid transport in a vehicle for walks.
  • Dogs from non infected households or self isolating households can be mixed.
  • Owners retain their own lead.
  • All equipment  is washed once the dog has left.
  • Dogs from infected household should not be mixed with dogs from non infected households.


Riding Establishments (13 May 2020)

The British Horse Society (BHS) have today announced that they believe that riding schools and livery yards may re-open providing they observed the current Government guidance in relation to social distancing. They state that establishments will also need to follow addition Government guidance (yet to be issued) on hygiene and increased biosecurity for the resumption of sport. They have done so having consulted with Sport England and the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

General guidance provided by BHS includes:

  • any stables opening may only do so for outdoor activities
  • group hacks or lessons would not be permitted
  • people may only exercise in groups of no more than two unless the group is exclusively from one household
  • freelance coaches are advised to provide lessons or coaching and this should be to individuals only, not to family groups.

We are monitoring the situation and any additional Governmental clarification closely and will liaise with any riding establishments which may seek to re-open. Before opening, you must be confident that you can do so safely and in line with Government requirements. To assist you, we may ask to see your coronavirus risk assessment which should demonstrate how social distancing will be maintained when assisting clients, tacking up, adjusting girths and stirrups and checking hats. We may also ask you about the hygiene and biosecurity measures in place at the establishment.  

We would strongly advise that each business seeks advice and guidance from their Insurance Company. 


Can Home Boarders Continue to Trade During the Coronavirus outbreak?

Current Government advice is for us to stay at home and only travel if absolute necessary. This means that most animal boarding establishments will have very low occupancy levels. As people operating a licensed home boarding establishment are not included on the list of businesses the Government has required to close, they can continue to operate, providing they maintain social distancing guidelines. With this in mind, New Forest District Council recognise that home boarding establishments may be able to continue operating albeit in a restricted capacity.

As most people should be staying at home operators should only be accepting boarders from a single household of a key worker, those in a vulnerable or shielding group or people with the Covid-19 virus or those self-isolating who are unable to look after their dog themselves. The licence holder must should ensure they fully observe the social distancing guidelines at all times, particularly at the point of animal handover.

Although unlikely, the virus may be carried on the dogs coat, or on their belongings, and these should be thoroughly washed and allowed to air dry. Likewise dogs or cats wiped down; a disposable apron or protective apron should be worn.

If an animal is taken from an infected household, it should be isolated within the setting for three days to ensure that no virus is remaining on the animal.

When walking a dog you must observe the guidelines of only taking exercise outside the house once a day and maintaining a 2 metre separation from other people. The dog should be walked on a lead in a public place to avoid coming into contact people. If at all possible, you should aim to exercise dogs at your premises when you have the ability to do so. These changes must be explained to owners.

Procedures should be put in place to maintain good hygiene standards; these should include:

  • Cleaning of leads, collars and any other of the dog's personal items as necessary.

  • After touching the dog wash hands as per government advice.

  • You need to consider any children in the house as they will be at home all the time. Both the children and the dog may require time apart.

Vaccinations should still be checked, but telephone confirmation of the date or a photo of the current vaccination will be acceptable. If you not see the vaccination certificates you should record this on the paperwork.

The registration form can be completed over the phone or by email. In most cases these are likely to be animals that you may have already had boarding with you and are already known to you, so you need to check only for any changes in diet or medication.


Licence Renewals

Regulation 9 of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 allow us to vary licences and whilst the outbreak continues we will use this a means to extend licences which are due on a case by case basis, for an initial period of three months. This will reduce the need for inspection and the risks involved whilst the outbreak continues. To allow for this you should either apply for a licence as normal, or send us an email requesting an extension to your licence.


Can I walk dogs or look after other pets for people who are shielding, self-isolating or ill as they may have Covid-19?

The rules allow you to leave your house to provide care or to help a vulnerable person and this includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house.

Where possible pets should be cared for away from their home during the isolation period so that repeat visits are avoided. Strict social distancing should be followed when pets are collected or returned so you avoid coming within 2 metres of the people self-isolating and wash your hands afterwards. Dogs from self-isolating households should be kept on a lead and contact avoided with other people and animals if being walked in public.


I am self-isolating but do not have any symptoms

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so it is important that you minimise the amount of time you spend outside home, and you should maintain the 2 metres separation distance.


Are there any precautions for pets or other animals in self-isolating households?

You are responsible for the care of animals, such as cats, horses and livestock during any period of self-isolation. Wherever possible you should make arrangements in advance with friends, family or neighbours for the care of your animals should the need arise.

Please see for further information. 


Pet Shops

Licensed pet shops are deemed to be an essential services for the provision of pet food and supplies. Any pet sales during this time should only be ancillary to the primary purpose of the visit to the pet shop, and the sale of only animals already in stock is allowed. Sales can only take place if they can be undertaken in accordance with the Governments' Covid-19 guidance.




Updated: 14 May 2020
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