University of Yorkshire researcher who set up a dog daycare business after being laid off to expand and convert a cat hotel

Forest Dogs, the claimant – which enjoys a five-star rating from the council, said the number of people owning dogs has risen from 22% of UK households in 2010/11 to 33% in 2020/21.

Andy Irving started the company in 2019 to fulfill a lifelong dream of working with and caring for dogs after being made redundant from the University of Sheffield as a research director.

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In a statement with the request, he said, “Having had dogs since childhood and helping us through the tough times in our adult lives, we understand and appreciate what dogs mean to people as family members.

Andy Irving is a former university researcher who now runs Forest Dogs

“Forest Dogs began with the principle that we take care of dogs as their owners would take care of their dogs.”

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They currently offer daily group walks in local woodland and the Peak District National Park and other care services from their family home in Crookes.

Forest Dogs said the cattery at 100 Myers Grove Lane, Loxley, would be an ideal place to expand and meet demand.

He plans to divide the site into different areas to meet the different needs of dogs and, as a means of sound control, this includes areas for: indoor play and rest, puppy socialization, older dogs and rest, play and enrichment and initial intake and assessment.

In a planning statement, they said it was expected there would be between 16 and 24 dogs on site at any given time, cared for by two to three staff members.

They added: ‘We believe that given the small-scale nature of this undertaking, the location and characteristics of this site and the measures listed, the impact on nearby residential amenities would be negligible.

“Given the high value of our business offering to customers and the jobs created, we will have a net positive impact on local amenities.

“We think this site would be a truly amazing outdoor space for dogs to play and relax with essential human companionship.”

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