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Advice needed - what to do re poor quality 'home boarding' please

(13 Posts)
ItsNotMyName Tue 19-Jan-16 11:57:26

Our neighbour runs a home boarding service for dogs - she takes them in and offers a home from home type arrangement when people go away. In theory this is fine - we have dogs ourselves and love them, so this sort of thing close to home should be a positive.

Unfortunately it isn't. The neighbour presents a very good 'front'. When people arrive to drop off dogs she comes out and meets them, is charming, talks about what lovely times the dogs are going to have etc etc.

But, once dogs are there, they are not treated well. Not abused or anything (so nothing we can report), but generally poorly treated. They are left outside most of the time, although they are brought in at night. There aren't many dogs that are used to being left outside the majority of the time and it shows. They aren't walked, even though the house is very near to woodland. They are left alone in the house in the evening/at night with lights off, and become obviously distressed. So no single thing is a major issue, but I know if I was leaving my dog and expecting it to be looked after, I would be upset to know how unhappy they are.

On top of these low-level issues there have been some one-off issues which are bigger but only occasional. For example, twice now we have caught loose dogs which are wondering around outside, near to a relatively quiet but v fast road. No-one appears to have noticed that these dogs have escaped. We've returned them and they just didn't seem that bothered.

We aren't sure what to do, if anything. We have absolutely no problem with her providing this service, so it isn't a neighbourhood dispute in the normal sense. It's just that it upsets me to see people thinking their dogs are being taken care of, when actually they are having a pretty rotten time. My natural inclination is to talk directly to people when I have a concern but I don't think that's an option here. What would I say - 'I think you're mean to the dogs'?! Also the neighbour is not an easy person to get on with, so I can't imagine any positive outcome.

Your thoughts and any practical advice would be appreciated please. Or just tell me to butt out!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 19-Jan-16 12:02:58

Tricky. Has she got a website you could leave a negative comment which might make her buck her ideas up?

babyblackbird Tue 19-Jan-16 12:08:06

I may well be wrong but I thought you had to be licensed by the council to offer home boarding, might be worth checking that and if you do that might be a route to complain.

ItsNotMyName Tue 19-Jan-16 12:09:05

Thanks for the response.

No, we had thought similar so had checked. There is no online presence at all that we can find, unless she uses a dog sitting agency or similar.

She doesn't have a lot of customers, so maybe it is just word of mouth, in which case maybe people are happy? But then how would they know their dogs are unhappy? It feels really difficult.

ItsNotMyName Tue 19-Jan-16 12:16:44

Ah, I didn't know that re being licensed. I'll look in to that and see if that is a route we could explore. Thank you.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 19-Jan-16 12:34:30

Oh yes obvious point! My friend who has 4 dogs was telling me that she was trying to board them with a friend who had applied for a licence, but he was only granted the licence to have 3 dogs at any one time. And he has one of his own, so only 2 from people using his service.

vjg13 Tue 19-Jan-16 12:56:50

I found a dog that I knew a dog walker had lost but rang the number on the collar and left a message for the owner before I walked around finding the dog walker. I spoke to the owner later and explained, IMHO this particular dog walker is crap and seemed very unconcerned that she had lost a dog.

I would leave messages for the owners if you find any others that are loose before returning them.

ItsNotMyName Tue 19-Jan-16 13:25:08

Thanks all - great advice as normal.

You are correct that the premises should be licensed. For future reference for anyone else reading this thread this is the government info. You then enter your postcode and it tells you where to enquire locally.

However, I've spoken to the council - they wouldn't confirm if the neighbour had a license or not, they said I had to put the enquiry in writing. I'm keen to avoid a paper trail here if possible, although will do if necessary. I'm not sure it would come to much though - they really didn't sound very interested.

I suspect it will be like the RSPCA; unless there is actual abuse there is little interest in intervening. So frustrating. I'll chat with partner and decide what to do.

Good thought re getting number off the collars for future escapees. We will definitely do that in future, although hopefully there won't be any as it is so dangerous. We have joked about the fact that we felt mean returning the dog there when we caught it. We think the dogs sit round plotting their Great Escape, and then we scuppered their plans by grabbing them!

Any other thoughts or suggestions gratefully received.

Chattymummyhere Wed 20-Jan-16 11:31:32

In future for escaped dogs, take them to the vets to be scanned and the owners contacted, the vets will hold onto them until someone can collect the dog and it won't be you informing the owners of your neighbours bad practise. It will also flag up if the same name keeps getting mentioned as the dog boarder or the same person is constantly collecting dogs.

If you personally don't want a paper trail get a friend or family member to apply to find out if the lady has a licence for boarding.

The RSPCA won't do anything about what you have mentioned, providing the dogs have food/water/shelter and are not being beaten they won't care. However if the dogs are loud due to distress you could report it to environmental health but that will be a paper trail.

sparechange Wed 20-Jan-16 11:56:38

There is a website called 'my dog buddy' where people can advertise dog walking and boarding services.

Have a look on there and see if she comes up when you put your postcode in.
If she does, you can try and contact them? I found my dog walker through the site, and they came back to me a few times for feedback on her so I think they only want reputable people listed on the site

sparechange Wed 20-Jan-16 11:57:01

ItsNotMyName Fri 22-Jan-16 22:02:50

Thanks again for the comments. Yes, I think taking them to the vets would be a good move. It would take it out of our hands.

I looked on 'my dog buddy' but they aren't registered on there. I think we may go through the council ourselves. If they find out that it is us then so be it; they ought to take better care!

The dogs being noisy isn't a problem as such; its not bad enough to involve environmental health. It's more that it isn't a nice friendly or playful woofing. They quite often sound unhappy or distressed and that really bothers me. I think I relate it back to our boys; I'd be so upset to see them like that. Maybe I just need to toughen up!

Shriek Sat 23-Jan-16 12:08:37

hopefully word of mouth will get round if stray ddogs keep getting returned to their owners via the vets when they've been left in your neighbours 'care' neglect

does sound like a unofficial arrangement thats become quite big business, and should be registered, so maybe thats the way to go to ensure these ddogies are looked after properly?

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