Harborough councillors vote unanimously to look into transparency issues over pet service ratings

Ms Owen’s dog was killed in the road after she escaped boarding kennels
Bella died after she was hit by a car after escaping the kennels.Bella died after she was hit by a car after escaping the kennels.
Bella died after she was hit by a car after escaping the kennels.

Councillors have voted unanimously to look into transparency issues over information on the quality of pet-based services in Harborough.

During a Harborough District Council (HDC) meeting on Monday, councillors showed support for a campaign launched to display ratings of pet businesses on council websites.

An online petition was started by Wales resident Victoria Owen whose dog was killed in the road after she escaped boarding kennels.

Ms Owen then contacted councils across the UK, including HDC, to ask ratings to be displayed on local authority websites - not currently compulsory.

On her petition page, Ms Owen explains ratings are not often publicaly available on council websites or generally lack transparency.

She adds: “A licensing certificate shows the star rating yet more often than not, owners have no knowledge that the system exists. This is not the owners fault, this is because the criteria and results are not talked about enough!”

During the meeting Cllr Darren Woodiwiss explained the information was on the website although accessing it was not straight forward.

Responding to Cllr Woodiwiss, Cllr Phil King said the section of the website was ‘not user-friendly in any way, shape or form’.

He proposed the issue be looked at by the Regulatory Committee and recommendations made to resolve the issue.

He added: “One of the outcomes of the pandemic is the number of people who own animals, in particular, cat and dog owners have massively increased and therefore demand for such services has massively increased as is evidenced by the increase in applications for dog walking areas and doggy day care, so we do need to get this into the 21st century.

“It might well be on the website but it’s incredibly difficult to find and understand and I think we do a disservice to our residents by not doing anything about it. If we are giving people a star rating, residents need to have confidence in these matters so they can make the right choices about the sort of place they want their prized pet pooch to be looked after.”

A unanimous vote agreed that a report on the issue would be brought to either a Regulatory or Overview and Scrutiny Meeting.

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