Blackpool kennels and catteries call for urgent support as future threatened by Covid impact
Blackpool and Fylde boarding schools and catteries are calling for help as they fear closing due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lack of government funding.
The industry has been hit hard by the current travel restrictions as the demand for kennels and catteries to care for vacationers’ pets has declined dramatically.
Business owners say they have received “little or no help” from the government because they are not technically classified as recreation or hospitality. Yet they are just as impacted by the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
There is fear among these local businesses that if they are to shut down for good, once the travel restrictions are lifted, there will be no professional registration to deal with the dogs and cats.
This is the case of Rachel Barr, owner of Charnwood House Kennels and Catteries in Blackpool on Division Lane.
As the license requires owners to be on site 24/7, many live at the address, and this is no exception for Rachel.
She lives on the premises with her parents, five children aged 20 to three and a young granddaughter. She risks losing not only her business, but also her family home due to a commercial mortgage
As they are all currently isolated at home, the bills are increasing every month and Rachel is only looking after one dog that has been abandoned.
She said: “The kennels can usually accommodate 30 dogs and 30 cats, but I also pay extra to turn on the heat and electricity for one dog. It will be a nightmare when people start traveling again and we really need to. government assistance to avoid a permanent closure.
“Since the first lockdown, the number of dogs and cats has dropped significantly and we have had a handful of animals since the end of March.
“I haven’t received any help from the government, and even with the new grants announced this year, we’re still not eligible – but when I looked at who does, it’s places like the bowling centers in the middle of the air, sex places, beach huts We are also seriously affected by the restrictions related to Covid-19 and we need help. “
Rachel is part of an online group with other kennel owners in Fylde and Blackpool who are concerned about the closure.
Fylde’s Kennels and Catteries received a small amount of funding from Fylde Council, however, but the same Blackpool businesses received none.
Business grant programs are designed in accordance with government guidelines, and discretionary programs can sometimes differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Rachel said: “We are happy that the owners of Fylde have received a little help, but this funding is still very low. The allocation of funding is getting a little ridiculous though because someone who owned a kennel in Fylde who is in front of me I was able to get funding but not me so we are working together to see what can be done.
“We urge the public to sign an online petition to be recognized as directly and severely suffering from the impact of Covid travel restrictions and to have access to support in the same way as the travel and hospitality industries.
“We ask people to think about where they will leave their pets in the future, as this may lead to an increase in the number of lay people looking after your cat or dog. We are established for over 40 years we have lived on site and we are licensed and inspected all the time.
“Without help, businesses like ours will simply disappear, impacting the entire tourism industry and causing animals to be abandoned in shelters and charities.”
To view the online petition to support residential schools and catteries, please visit here.
Blackpool and Fylde’s councils have been contacted for comment.
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