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Council allows kennels to continue trading


As more and more responsible breeders back the call for the closure of puppy farms, it seems that there is much interest in kennels in the general media. Over the course of the last week a number of reports appeared in the Basildon Echo concerning about a council funded boarding kennels, owned by dog breeder Alan Peake.

The RSPCA inspected the kennels on September 8th this year and as a result advised Mr Peake of a number of improvements which needed to be made. During the visit by the RSPCA it is claimed that the conditions were so bad that they posed a threat to human as well as animal health. The kennels were, according to a spokesman for Basildon Council, inspected twice a year, and an independent vet had to follow up the inspection by giving the council a full report.

Yet it has been claimed by former RSPCA Southend president and former Basildon Labour group leader Nigel Smith, that concerns about the kennels were first raised in summer 2004, when a local resident complained to the council of poor animal welfare. Mr Smith was assured that the kennels were up to standard at the time. Since then a number of complaints have been lodged, but as the kennel passed its annual inspections the council felt they could continue to rely on the kennels to provide care for any strays taken there or dogs held for other reasons by the police authority.

Cancelled

A council spokesman explained that it has now cancelled its contract with Novem Kennels, but could not take away the licence as that can only be done if the kennel owner was to µbe prosecuted. He added that “When a licence comes up for review then any improvements made by the owner would have to be taken into consideration and if passed by inspectors there would be no reason not to renew the licence. We are already investigating the situation at these kennels. If any licensing conditions have been breached, we will be taking appropriate action.”

At the time the RSPCA went to inspect the kennels vet Alan Hatch was present. Among the problems identified were the keeping of dead dogs, two which were allegedly being held before going for a pet burial, two found dead by the highways authority and the leg of a horse were found rotting in a freezer which was not working along with tripe for feeding the dogs. Mr Hatch described this as a major health risk and appalling poor practice. Other complaints were lack of water provided for dogs and an isolation area for sick dogs were housed next to dogs being boarded by owners, which gave concern for the spread of disease.

Mr Peake has informed the local media and council that he is making improvements, and described the findings of the RSPCA as minor problems. The seven improvement notices issued by the RSPCA have been dealt with, including the dead animals and horses leg which were there awaiting a contractor to come to remove them on the day of the RSPCAs visit, and a new freezer has now been installed.

A number of dogs at the premises were described as emaciated, but after the RSPCA left Mr Peake claims to have taken four of them to his own vet who passed them as healthy. These dogs it is claimed were thin on arrival at the kennels.

At the time of going to press Mr Peake has not been available to comment to Our Dogs.
The contract between the council and the kennels for taking in the stray dogs was worth £20,000 per annum. Since the boarding and breeding licence is still in force Mr Peake can continue to trade, boarding dogs and breeding dogs for sale.