Animal licences

  1. Summary

    A licence is required for any of the following activities:

    • Selling animals as pets;
    • Providing or arranging boarding for cats;
    • Providing or arranging boarding in kennels for dogs;
    • Providing or arranging home boarding for dogs;
    • Providing or arranging day care for dogs;
    • Hiring out horses;
    • Breeding dogs; and
    • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

    As of 6 April 2020 puppies or kittens under six months of age cannot be sold as pets from a pet shop, so anyone that wants to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten must either deal directly with the breeder or with an animal rescue / re-homing centre.

    Any person disqualified from operating a pet shop, keeping a dog, keeping an animal boarding establishment, keeping a riding establishment or having the custody of animals, or who has had a licence previously granted under other animal welfare legislation revoked, should not apply for a licence.

    Different activities are applied for using the same application form.

  2. Fees

    See a full breakdown of animal licence fees

  3. Application and guidance notes

    Apply for an animal licence

    There are different guidance notes for different licences: please ensure you select the correct one:

  4. Processing and timescales

    An inspection of the premises will be carried out before any licence is granted.

    A copy of the application may be sent to other interested parties (such as the RSPCA) for comment.

    Any comments should be received within 28 days of the application being received from the applicant.

    We will take into account the outcome of the inspection and will only grant a licence if we are satisfied that the licence conditions will be met and that the appropriate fee has been paid.

    There is a right of appeal against a decision to refuse to grant or renew a licence.

  5. Legislation

    Animal Welfare

    Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 introduced a duty of any person responsible for an animal to ensure its welfare needs are met.

    The welfare needs include:

    • Its need for a suitable environment
    • Its need for a suitable diet
    • Its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
    • Any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
    • Its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

     Further information on Animal Welfare legislation and guidance can be found on the website.

    Read the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 

  6. Validity and renewals

    A licence may be granted for one, two or three years, depending on the outcome of the inspection, with the exception of keeping or training animals for exhibition; in this instance the licence is granted for a period of three years.

    An application to renew a licence must be made before the expiry date of any existing licence.

    A licence may be varied on application in writing by the licence holder, or by us (with the written consent of the licence holder).

  7. Register

    If you would like more information, contact

    If you have a question about a licensed premises, provide the name and address where possible.

  8. Complaints

    Please contact us in the first instance.

  9. Contact us

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