Care Act & Emergency Boarding
Councils (upper tier) have a duty to take into their care any pets that cannot be cared for by family or friends when an owner is hospitalised. They have a duty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to ensure the welfare needs of those animals are met whilst they are responsible for them (even if this only on a temporary basis). Reasonable costs may be recovered.
This can be a challenging process whereby sometimes animals are not identified at the property immediately, there can be delays in getting the animals cared for and then confusion over who is responsible. Clearly this is not good for animal welfare, resources or public confidence.
The RSPCA is working with councils, the police and ambulance service to develop a protocol that will assist with this and hopefully make it easier to deal with. More details will be included here in due course however please find the RSPCA's briefing on the issue.