As part of the new Animal Activities Licensing Regulations 2018, which came into force on 1 October 2018, every licensed boarding kennels, cattery, dog home boarding, dog day care, pet shop (sales) and dog breeding establishment will be given a star rating.
The star rating is based on a combination of the business score for current animal welfare standards and risk (e.g. history of compliance).
The scoring matrix from DEFRA is as follows:
The welfare standards are those set out in the regulations and guidance to the regulations. All businesses should meet the standards to get a licence and therefore receive a 2 or 3 star rating. However, minor failings that do not compromise the welfare of animals, e.g. minor administrative issues, may allow for a licence but with a rating of 1 star.
The guidance to the regulations includes a number of higher standards which businesses may aspire to in order to receive a higher standard rating. These are divided into required and optional. A business needs to meet all the required higher standards and 50% of the optional ones to qualify as meeting higher standards.
The higher standards are specific to the type of activity but in general relate to things like level of qualifications, exercise/enrichment availability and staff ratios. Those achieving higher standards will get a rating of 4 or 5 stars.
It worth noting also that new premises, without three years' previous compliance history, are automatically classed a high risk.