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Animal Licensing

Animal Licensing

On 1st October 2018 the Government introduced the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under Section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The new Regulations allow for a single licence to be issued which lists the licensable activities you intend to carry on from the premises.


Licensable activities

Those carrying on the following licensable activities will require a licence:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Licenses for Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoo licence have not been affected by the new Regulations.



DEFRA have published guidance documents for each licensable activity to assist businesses in meeting the new requirements set out under those Regulations.


How do I apply for a licence?

If you already have a licence, this will be valid until the expiry date shown on the licence. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

To apply for any of the above listed activities please complete the application form, including any relevant supporting documentation and pay the relevant Animal Welfare licence fee.


Selling Animals as Pets

You need a licence if you sell animals as pets in the course of a business.

This includes the import, distribution and sale of animals by a business. It applies to domestic premises and traditional pet shops where animals are available for purchase.


Animal Boarding

You need a licence if you provide or arrange for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs in the course of a business. This includes:

  • Providing boarding for cats, for example in a cattery
  • Providing boarding in kennels for dogs
  • Providing home boarding for dogs
  • Providing day care for dogs


Hiring out Horses

You need a licence if you hire out horses in the course of a business for either or both of the following purposes:

  • Riding
  • Instruction in riding

Horse includes an ass, mule or hinny.

The Local Authority is required to appoint a Vet to inspect the premises where the activity is being carried on every 12 months.


Breeding Dogs

You need a licence for either or both of the following:

  • Breeding 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period
  • Breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs

The Local Authority is required to appoint a Vet to inspect the premises on receipt of the initial application.


Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

You need a licence for keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes to any audience attending in person or by recording of visual images of them by any form of technology that enables the display of such images.


What Conditions will be attached to a licence?

The regulations prescribe general licence conditions contained in Schedule 2 of the regulations that will attach to all licences and specific licence conditions contained in Schedules 3 – 7 of the regulations that will apply to individual licences depending on the licensable activities.


How much is a licence?

You are required to pay a fee on application and a fee on grant of a licence.

The full list of fees applicable to the licensing of activities involving animals can be viewed here.

If a veterinary inspection is necessary you will also be charged the vet’s fee.


Star Rating System

The Local Authority must use a risk based system when issuing animal activity licences.  This system will be used to determine both the length of a licence and the star rating.