Thursday 19th September 2019
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The welfare of all domestic and captive animals in this country is provided for in various statutes and Luton Borough Council is responsible for the administration and issuing of a number of licenses relating to animals.

Apply for a pet shop licence

Relevant legislation: Pet Animals Acts 1951 as amended by the Pet Animals Act 1951 (Amendment) Act 1983 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Do I need a licence?
If you sell animals as pets from any type of premises (including private dwelling) you will need a licence. This excludes keeping or selling pedigree animals bred privately or the offspring of animals kept as pets. Selling animals as pets as a business is prohibited in any part of a street, in a public place, or at a stall in a market.

A licence may be issued if  you (the applicant) are not disqualified under any of the following Acts:

Advice for the public
Buying your pets from a reputable licensed pet shop helps prevent illegal trade in animals and ensures that the welfare of the animals is maintained. If you’re unsure if a pet shop is licensed you can request to see a copy of their licence, or alternatively you can view our animal welfare licence register in the downloads section below. Please contact us if you believe a pet shop to be operating without a licence.

What are the conditions of the licence?
The conditions of the licence can be viewed by downloading the conditions at the bottom of this page. The licence is subject to annual review.

What information or evidence will I need to provide?
Any information required to progress your application will be requested by the relevant application form itself including heating and ventilation arrangements, water supply and food storage arrangements.

However, dependent on the findings of the inspection by officers of the Council or veterinary surgeons further information or clarification may be requested prior to granting a licence or registration.

Are there/inspections or assessments?
Prior to granting a licence, an officer from the Health and Safety team will arrange for an inspection to establish if the requisite standards are being met.

How long will it take you to process my application?
Due to the need of inspections by us and others, such as vets, applications can take up to 28 days to process, ie from receipt of the application to grant of licence or registration.

To see what tacit authorisation is and find out if it applies to your application click on the download below.

If I’m turned down, how do I appeal?
If an application is refused an applicant may appeal to a Magistrates Court within six months of that refusal, an appeal may also be made against any condition subject to which such a licence is proposed to be granted. The applicant would be given all details on how to appeal on such an occurrence.

Licenses, once issued, may be refused, cancelled or revoked for several reasons (please note that not all the restrictions are relevant to all licenses). The courts may disqualify applicants from holding an animal licence for a set period of time:

  • if the applicant is under 18
  • if the applicant has been disqualified from holding an animal licence or keeping an animal
  • if conditions of the licence are not met

Additionally, veterinary surgeons and practitioners, local authority officers, or competent persons authorised by the local authority may inspect licensed premises and any animals found there at any reasonable time. Unlicensed premises may be inspected by applying for a warrant.

How long does the licence last, and what’s the renewal procedure?
Where a licence is granted that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on the 31 December of the year to which it relates and must be renewed before that date if the premises are to continue as a pet shop. To download our current pet shop licence application form, please click on the link at the bottom of the page.

Offences and penalties
The following offences and penalties apply to the pet shops:

  • any person found guilty of keeping a pet shop without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both
  • any person found guilty of failing to comply with their licence conditions may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both
  • any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector, or authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner in the exercising of their powers of entry may be fined up to a maximum of £500

If found guilty under this act, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping a pet shop for such length of time as the court thinks fit.




 Contact information

Licensing service
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 546040

 Related links

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