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Animal welfare charity Blue Cross has introduced a new course to help those in the pet industry deal with difficult conversations regarding pet loss.

Entitled ‘Introduction to Pet Bereavement Support Skills’ the new course will be available online for those working in the industry, taking two hours to complete.

A Blue Cross spokesperson said: “The course is aimed at those in the pet sector who may be faced with difficult and sensitive conversations around pet loss with customers who may in distress after the loss of a much loved animal. Handling pet loss is now an essential trained skill needed within vet practices for the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme accreditation.”

Blue Cross’s online course is split into five ‘key areas’:

  • Empathy vs sympathy
  • Communicating with active listening skills
  • Open questions
  • Face-to-face emotional support, telephone support, email support and other written communication
  • How to support yourself, importance of self-care and useful contacts

The new course will cost £35 and is designed to complement the charity’s eight week course on the same subject for more in-depth training.

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A 21 year old animal lover has become the youngest franchisee at We Love Pets and the first to open a branch in Wales.

Millie White, a recent graduate in English Literature from the University of Bedfordshire, will now lead a growing team who will look after the Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan area, providing animal care services including dog walking, boarding and cat sitting.

Having briefly considered HR, teaching and law, White wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she graduated but was keen to work with animals and also to spend her working day outdoors.

Millie approached Jo and Ryan White from We Love Pets and after meeting them, was convinced that this was the right career path.

She said: “Growing up, I had a chocolate Labrador called Rolo who was the most loving dog and my best friend. As my mum worked and I was at school, we relied on the Reading branch of We Love Pets to look after him. Unfortunately, Rolo became ill but because We Love Pets genuinely cared for him, they always made sure we knew he was OK and put our minds at ease.

“The option to start my own business meant I could utilise what I learned at university while enjoying the benefits of being my own boss. I am so grateful to WLP for giving me this amazing opportunity. I am truly grateful for how welcoming and accommodating everyone on the team has been and know that I will always have support no matter what stage of my franchisee journey, and that is truly invaluable in running a new business.”

Jo White, founder of We Love Pets, added: “We are delighted to have Millie on board and it just goes to show that age is just a number! We wish Millie the very best of luck with her new venture safe in the knowledge that while she is her own boss, she has the back-up of our successful brand at her shoulder, ready to help.”

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New research has found that 70% of chartered surveyors in London saw a notable slump in demand for retail space over the last quarter, in light of recent closures by Poundworld and M&S.

The research by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that demand for retail space is currently, its lowest since 2008. RICS figures showed that 46% of chartered surveyors, surveyed said they had seen an increase in retail vacancies.

Over a third of those surveyed said they saw an increase in the use of Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs), with over two thirds adding they predict more retailers will insert CVA clauses into contracts moving forwards.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “The challenges being faced by retail not surprisingly come through strongly in the latest set of results, but the counterpoint to this is the ongoing strength of demand for good quality, well located industrial/logistic sites. Indeed, the lack of availability of stock in the industrial segment of the market and the generally sluggish development pipeline, is pointing towards further healthy gains in pricing.”

Despite the slump in retail space, RICS said that demand for industrial space had continued to rise, having done so for the previous 23 quarters.

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The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) has announced that its joint animal establishments inspector training course, in partnership with the City of London Corporation, has been approved as meeting the City & Guilds Accreditation benchmark.

From 1 October 2018, the new Licensing of Activities Involving Animals Regulations (AAL) require those carrying out inspections to be appropriately qualified. The ‘Professional Programme in Inspecting Licensable Activities Involving Animals’, a Level 3 equivalent course, has been specifically developed by animal health inspectors and education experts to address this new legal requirement. The course will provide inspectors with  training to ensure the legislation, its guidance and animal welfare requirements are implemented.

The course comprises an online multiple choice legislation test, before a five-day course of face to face training. These classroom days will be a combination of taught sessions and practical exercises delivered by qualified, experienced inspectors from the City of London, supported by industry experts, held at the specialised facilities at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre. Assessment is through reflective essays of completed inspection.

The new regulations allow three years for existing animal licensing inspectors to undertake relevant training, with those new to the activity requiring training from 1 October 2018.

The Pet Industry Federation is also developing a range of online courses for licensees to ensure they are able to meet the minimum training requirements under the new legislation.

Nigel Baker, PIF CEO, said: ‘Hundreds of PIF members require licensing in order to run their pet business, and the new AAL regulations represent a brave new world that will take time for pet businesses to digest. The knowledge, therefore, that their inspections will be undertaken by individuals who possess the requisite skills and understanding derived specifically from these new AAL regulations as part of a nationally accredited course will undoubtedly provide reassurance and will help safeguard animal welfare.’

Rob Quest, assistant director at the City of London Corporation, added: ‘The City of London Corporation is delighted to have helped develop this important course with our Primary Authority partners, the Pet Industry Federation. The course equips local authority inspectors with all the training they require to undertake local authority inspections, in order to sufficiently discharge their duties under the new legislation. The badge of accreditation for this course received today from City & Guilds is important for providing a hallmark of quality, with teaching and assessment methods closely monitored to ensure standards of training are maintained’.

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The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has directed the Registrar to remove a Leeds-based veterinary surgeon from the register following his conviction for animal welfare offences in 2016.

The Disciplinary Committee hearing for Gary James Cassius Samuel took place on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 July in respect of the fact that he was convicted, on 21 January 2016, at Leeds Magistrate Court of five animal welfare offences.

The charges related to causing unnecessary suffering to a number of animals including twelve dogs and four cats and failing to take steps to ensure that the needs of the animals for which he was responsible were met. These animals were kept at the Armley Veterinary Practice, for which Samuel was, at the time, practice principal.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months on the condition he completed 150 hours’ unpaid work and paid a fine of £100; was ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £80; and made subject to a disqualification order for three years.

He appealed against his conviction in a hearing on April 2018, and it was dismissed in respect of five charges but upheld for one. Samuel didn’t attend the hearing and the committee found the charges against him to be proven, ultimately rendering him unfit to practise as the college said it was incompatible with his role as animal welfare was at “the heart of his practice”.

Taking into account the fact that the animals were found starving in a cellar without water, Samuel did not acknowledge the seriousness of his offences and his continued to deny responsibility he was found to still pose a risk to animals. It was then decided that removal from the register was the most appropriate action.

Ian Green, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “Just as the judgement of the Crown Court and the Magistrates Court had found, the committee also found that Dr Samuel must have known that the animals were in distress and were in a neglected state. The committee was sure that Dr Samuel must have been aware of the animals notwithstanding his continued denial. The committee concluded that Dr Samuel was unfit to practise because of the facts underlying the convictions. Dr Samuel had an overriding duty of care for the animals and to take action in relation to their health and welfare because they were living under the roof of his veterinary practice.”

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A new children’s toy has been launched that aims to teach children of the need to rehome and rescue animals.

The Scruff-A-Luv toys, made by South African toy manufacturer Prima Toys will be packaged as “unloved” and “abandoned” fur balls, after children care for the toys they will transform into either a rabbit, dog or cat.

Prima Toys aims to teach children about the importance of rehoming and what pet ownership involves through the new toys which will cost £19.99. Toys will come with their own adoption certificate as well as care products.

Celebrity mother, Nadia Gabriel, said of the toy’s impact: “If this toy can encourage one child to save an animal it will be a success in my eyes but I feel as if this is going to have a much bigger impact than just one animal.”

The toys have managed to whip up huge demand, with UK toy and pet retailers across the country reporting that they have sold out.

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Olympian Laura Muir has announced plans to introduce a canine run to the Great South Run programme.

Muir has recently qualified as a vet and will introduce the canine run on 20 October, where as many as 100 fit dogs and their owners are expected to take part in the 2.5km run along Southsea seafront, starting and finishing on Clarence Esplanade.

An on-site vet will be on hand on the day to deal with any emergencies. Owners are being advised to consult their vet ahead of the run to check through their dog’s training plan and ensure they are in great shape to take part.

Sponsors Simplyhealth are asking local vets and vet nurses who want to volunteer as marshals to get in touch. Muir, who is also the 1500m British record holder and World Indoor silver medallist, will be starting the race as an honorary starter.

The event is the first of its kind in the Great South Run Series and will take place before the Great South 5k.

Muir said: “I am thrilled to be part of the very first Simplyhealth Canine Run. Exercising with your dog is a great idea – it ensures that dogs get plenty of exercise and people can also benefit from an increased sense of wellbeing as a result of physical activity. I’m really looking forward to spotting some canine athletes and seeing everyone having fun together.”

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Pet product specialist Sure Petcare was presented with a Cat Friendly 2018 award for the SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect at the International Cat Care awards ceremony held on Friday 13 July at Church House, London.

In its fourth year, the International Cat Care (iCatCare) Cat Friendly awards are presented to companies which have made a notable difference to cats in the last twelve months.

The SureFlap Microchip Pet Door Connect, launched in 2017, is the world’s first app-enabled pet door and was selected for its use of technology in connecting owners with their pets, enabling them to monitor their cat’s behaviours and routines from anywhere.

Designed for cats and small dogs, the Microchip Pet Door Connect works with a “hub” device, which connects the pet door to the Internet. The pet owner is then able to control and monitor the comings and goings of their pets from the Sure Petcare app when they’re away from home.

The app can also enable owners to receive notifications when their pet leaves or enters the house, track their pet’s activity and remotely lock or unlock the pet door as well as setting a curfew. It can also keep unwanted pets out by reading microchips.

Nick Hill, managing director of Sure Petcare, said: “We are delighted to be awarded with our third iCatCare award as it supports our mission to create products that help pet owners at the same time as having the wellbeing of cats at heart. When we started Sure Petcare in 2008, we had one simple mission: to support owners with products that ensure that their cat is safe and secure in the home. We are delighted to receive this recognition.”

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The government has agreed with a petition not to add Staffordshire Bull Terriers to the Dangerous Dogs Act’s list of banned breeds.

The decision was made during a parliamentary debate, sparked by a petition signed by over 163,000 people. The petition was in response to a a submission made by PETA to the ongoing inquiry on dangerous dogs by the EFRA Committee.

On the day of the debate, organisations from the pet, veterinary and animal welfare trade all urged the government not to prohibit the ownership of the breed.

MPs argued that the government should place the blame on irresponsible owners rather than judging a dog’s behaviour by its breed. It was also pointed out that a number of dogs, even those with good temperaments, were taking to rescues centres and eventually put down by members of the police force, after they were suspected to be part Pit Bull Terrier, a prohibited breed.

Conservative MP Neil Parish said: “I believe that any animal that is vicious and cannot be put right should be put down, but not a dog of really good temperament. Deciding whether ​a dog has pit bull terrier in it is not an exact science: measurements are made of the length of its nose and its conformation.”

He also said that each police officer judged each dog differently, so some dogs were put down as they were judged to be “potentially dangerous” where others might not be considered so. He added that dogs should “not be given a death sentence just because they are of a certain breed”.

The minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, George Eustice MP, said that more needed to be done to ensure dogs were properly socialised, regardless of breed.

Eustice said: “The government have no plans at all to add the Staffordshire Bull Terrier to the prohibited list. We have been clear about that in response to the e-petition. We have trained police officers who are skilled in identifying the breed and type of dogs, in particular the pit bull terrier, which is the main banned breed that we are concerned with.​

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Radio Systems PetSafe Europe Limited (RSPEL), parent company of PetSafe Brand, has announced the appointment of Alex Bewley as its business development manager.

The new appointment is a further boost to the company’s sales team following Nicki Hamilton joining the business as EMEA sales director last month.

At RSPEL, Bewley’s role will be to win new business and develop both Radio Systems’ PetSafe Brand and SportDOG Brand presence in the north of the UK. He will be based in the field and report to Stuart McCulloch, the international business manager at Radio Systems.

Bewsley joins from pet food manufacturer, Edgard Cooper, where he was account manager and responsible for acquiring key accounts and launching the brand in the north of the UK. During his time with the business, achievements included signing big names such as Waitrose and Blue Diamond Group as well as over 60 independents within his first 12 months.

He said: “RSPEL is a market leader and has a great overall ethos and reputation for outstanding product innovation. I’m thrilled to be joining a company I’ve long admired and I’m looking forward to getting started and building the business even further.”

Stuart McCulloch added: “Alex has an exceptional track record in new business acquisition and a great network of contacts in the north of England. We’re delighted to welcome him on board and are confident he’ll help drive our business forward in this key region.”

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