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I run a home boarding dog business. As part of their home check for licensing conditions the local council demanded to see my customer records. As these include names,addressees, telephone numbers and email details as well as details of their pet dog I refused saying this was against the Data Protection Act to do so without the customers' written permission. The council employee told me it was her right to see the records under the Animal Welfare Act.

Am I correct to refuse under the Data Protection Act? I showed her the blank forms of the information the customer provides but not the actual completed forms, which she demanded to see.

Would someone be able to advise me of my and more importantly my customers' legal rights in this situation please?

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  • Meanwhile, you should indicate where you are located. Laws vary around the world. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 8 '16 at 22:21
  • Your customers want to know if they can trust their cherished pets with you. I still have three dogs and a bird, and I once had three children (they're no longer children; they've been adults for 10 years or so). While I don't demand the same level of oversight for my pets vs my children, I'm happy that there's some oversight with regard to my pets. Suppose you were building a bridge and demanded the government get out of your way, or building a childcare center and demanded the government get out of your way. Sorry! The government must get in your way. – David Hammen Jul 8 '16 at 22:59
  • You might ask if the council will take redacted records--blacked out owner's last names, house numbers, part of phone numbers, etc. That way they can see that you're not boarding too many dogs at one time and so on. – mkennedy Jul 10 '16 at 20:41
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If I have correctly untangled the law, Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act part 3 identifies as a condition where you are not prohibited from revealing personal data:

The processing is necessary for compliance with any legal obligation to which the data controller is subject, other than an obligation imposed by contract.

The Animal Welfare Act 25(1) says

An inspector may require the holder of a licence to produce for inspection any records which he is required to keep by a condition of the licence

I can't tell if you are required to keep customer names, but if you are, it looks like the pieces fit together and you would have to provide the records. Call a solicitor to be sure, though.

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