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Can I Keep a Dog on My Hotel Premises?

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 13 Nov 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Dog Laws Environmental Health And Safety

Q.

I've just started running a small hotel in London and someone has told me they thought the law had changed, whereby I would no longer be able to keep my dog on the premises. Have you heard of any such legislation?

(Mr Jon Laurie, 22 September 2008)

A.

A recent EU legislation regarding the presence of dogs in Bed & Breakfasts has caused a lot of concern with many believing that this implies that family pets will be completely banned from the premises. In actual fact, the EU legislation was specifically directed at kitchens and other areas where food may be prepared, handled or stored and only during these times – it does not prevent a dog from inhabiting these areas at other times or indeed from the rest of the premises.

For more information, visit : http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/press/euromyths/myth169_en.htm

In response to the public misunderstanding and resultant dismay, the European Commission has released the following statement:

“The EU legislation on hygiene of foodstaffs does not specifically state that dogs should not be allowed into Bed and Breakfast kitchens. EU rules on food hygiene standards state that Adequate procedures are (also) to be in place to prevent domestic animals from having access to places where food is being prepared, handled or stored, (or where the competent authority so permits in special cases, to prevent such access from resulting in contamination. This allows for flexibility in implementation, which is decided on by the member states.

The British Food Standards Agency recommends that domestic pets should be kept out of B&B kitchens when preparing food, but also states that allowing domestic animals in kitchens in other times is reasonable as long as high standards of food hygiene can be maintained by thoroughly cleaning the areas before preparing food. Thus recommendations do not ban dogs from kitchens at all times.”

In other words, EU legislation simply asks that reasonable measures are taken to ensure that dogs do not have access to food preparation areas, in order to prevent contamination, but there is relative flexibility in the implementation of this rule. It does not state a ban on any other areas of the premises, such as the reception, lounge or even the bedrooms.

In any case, this EU legislation is simply echoing a similar Environmental Health & Safety rule which has been in force in the UK for decades, stating that dogs are banned from the food preparation areas of B&B’s, hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes and similar – with the exception of assistance dogs. So this ban is not a new rule but something that has been in effect for many years in the UK but is simply being harmonized across the European Union now.

For owners of hotels and other small accommodation, this means that it is fine to keep a family pet on the premises, provided that this family pet is not allowed into the kitchen and other food preparation areas, ideally all the time but especially during meal times and other times when food is being handled. Naturally, other general concerns must also be taken into account, such as the dog’s behaviour, especially towards the guests, general safety and issues such as guest allergies.

If in doubt, contact your local council or visit the Health & Safety Executive website www.hse.gov.uk for more information.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@jay - good question. It seems more down to the owner or manager of the business to give the go-ahead as bringing a dog into work is something that seems to have evaded risk assessment with many companies having no health and safety policy on pets. At the same time there are things you will have to be aware of such as whether they might be a trip hazard, or what if it bit a customer? It might be worth you looking at some insurance.
jay - 13-Nov-14 @ 2:50 PM
Hi, I run an off licence and wanted some advise if i was allowed to keep a dog behind the counter with me. I do not prepare any food everything that we sell is already packed ie crisps, chocolates and cans of drinks. Please advise me on this thanks.
jay - 13-Nov-14 @ 2:04 PM
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