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What to know before boarding your pet

Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 23:33:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are regulations that govern animal boarding facilities in both Kansas and Missouri, but the rules the facilities are subject too are not extensive, meaning pet owners should conduct further research.

Facilities "get inspected once a year, which I don't think is enough," Gretchen Miller, owner of Doggie Style Bowtique in Kansas City, said. "I think you can get past that pretty easily."

Both states require boarding facilities to apply for and maintain licenses.

The Animal Care Facility Program, which is overseen by the Department of Agriculture, oversees Missouri's regulatory process. The state requires boarding facilities to apply for a license every year and pass an annual inspection.

The Kansas Division of Animal Health, which also is overseen by the Department of Agriculture, regulates Sunflower State boarding facilities. The state requires any facility that boards more than three animals a week for money to maintain a license and follow regulations as established by the Kansas Pet Animal Act.

However, the Pet Animal Act does not specify how often the state should inspect each facility, prompting the Division of Animal Health to adopt a performance-based approach.

"Pretty much, if you're a good player, we don't have to go as often," Tyler Kauer, the program manager of Kansas' Animal Facilities Inspection Service, said. "If you have either started new or had an unsatisfactory inspection, we go more often."

According to Kauer, if a facility passes three consecutive inspections, it does not need to be inspected for 15 to 24 months.

If a facility has passed only two inspections consecutively, an inspection will be performed between nine and 18 months.

If a facility fails an inspection, a re-inspection occurs between three and 24 months.

"If we do get any substantial complaints, we will go out and work those," Kauer said. "We'll go and check to make sure they understand (the state) regulations. A big part of what our program does is try to get education to our licensees."

Although a facility may pass a state inspection, there could still be problems. Miller suggests requesting a tour of the entire facility and learning details, such as if dogs will be able to go outside during their stay. Missouri does not require animals to do so.

"You need to go see it with your own eyes and you need to say, 'Let me see behind the counter,'" she said. "Most people don't even ask, they don't. Here, I make them take a tour, because it's important."

Kansas and Missouri allow pet owners to look up a facility's license and lodge complaints.