Shropshire Kennel Owner’s Advocacy Amid Pandemic Losses

Kennel owner Kevin Dudley

The owner of Hopton Boarding Kennels in South Shropshire said his business had been completely wiped out as people just weren’t going on vacation and therefore didn’t leave their pets at the kennel.

Kevin Dudley, owner of the kennel near Cleobury Mortimer, said they just wanted their voices heard.

“Every time the phone rings, we just fear it’s another cancellation,” Kevin said.

“It started happening even before the outbreak. As soon as people heard the word coronavirus, they canceled their vacations, so canceled reservations with us.

“The majority of our clients are older people, who are more vulnerable and therefore will not leave.”

Kevin received the £ 10,000 business grant at the start of the pandemic but received no further support.

He wrote to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, to ask for more support for the animal boarding school industry.

The letter said, “This is just an urgent request. Please reclassify boarding schools and catteries to the ‘Tourism’ sector so that our industry can benefit from the same support that is offered to the hospitality sector.

“The animal boarding industry parallels tourism. 95% of our activity is due to tourism and travel. People depend on kennels and catteries to be able to travel.

“Currently, we are ranked alongside tattoo artists, pavement artists and palm readers.

“Any future tourism is going to be badly affected. There will be no more boarding schools for animals. Our whole industry is now collapsing.”

In the letter, Kevin said the collapse of the tourism and travel industry in March resulted in 100% cancellations of reservations.

He continued: “The Covid pandemic has already resulted in the closure of many shops, pubs, restaurants and hotel businesses. The same is true of kennels and catteries. Some have already had to close, many others are now under threat. closing.

“We need you and the support of governments to save our industry. Please reclassify our industry as tourism.”

Kevin said many professional boarders fear that if kennels and catteries are forced to close, there is a risk that unscrupulous people will take advantage and create untrustworthy businesses.

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