Boars, lemurs and a red panda among animals licensed in Chichester district
More than 100 wild boar, a whole passel of lemurs, a red panda and a Brazilian tapir are among the many animals whose welfare is licensed by Chichester District Council.
Now fees for most of those licences are set to go up from April to reflect the amount of time it takes to grant, renew and review each one.
The more exotic species aside, the vast majority of licences cover pet shops, kennels, day care, breeders and the use of animals in exhibitions.
The plan is to increase the fees from between £9 and £176, depending on the nature of the business and the number of animals involved.
The council’s general licensing committee will consider the increase in fees, which were recommended at a meeting of the cabinet today (Tuesday January 7).
Penny Plant, cabinet member for environment, told the meeting that changes to legislation were introduced in 2018 allowing local authorities to charge a ‘reasonable amount’ to cover the costs of the work.
One year on and officers have inspected 69 premises, giving them a much better idea of how long each licence takes to deal with and how much the process costs.
Mrs Plant said councils were not allowed to make a profit from the licensing and the increase in fees would make the whole process ‘cost-neutral’, ensuring Chichester did not lose money either.
A report to the meeting said the 2018 regulations had been ‘generally well-received’ because it was felt they had ‘levelled the playing field between
Members agreed and questions were asked about who did and did not need a licence – guide dog trainers are exempt, while dog walkers do not need a licence unless they run their service as a business.
Officers told members they had spoken to the RSPCA about businesses which had yet to approach the council for a licence.
One oddity in the report showed the only animal licensing costs set to be reduced involve the keeping of horses and donkeys.
Members were told this was because most of the work, including the inspection of grazing land and fencing, was carried out by vets and not officers.
As for the lemurs, wild boars, tapirs and red pandas, they are covered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.
Three of these licenses have been issued and, while still the council’s responsibility, only a processing charge is made, with vets billing the owners separately.