Sunday 12th July 2020
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This section provides information about licences for keeping animals.
 
 
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​​Apply for an animal licence

Changes to animal licensing laws

The government has recently published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following “licensable activities”:

  • 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

The regulations came into effect on 1 October 2018 and introduced a new licensing regime to replace the licensing and registration regimes in place under the following legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999
  • Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

If you have a licence under one of the above pieces of legislation that was in force on 1 October 2018, it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

Advice for the public

Check our register, available in the downloads section below, to see a list of current animal welfare licences. Please contact the Licensing Service on 01582 546040 or via [email protected] if you believe an establishment is operating without the relevant licence in place.

Application process

Once an application has been received and payment has been made, a licensing officer and / or a veterinarian will arrange for an inspection to take place at the proposed premises to determine if it is a suitable environment to be licensed and meets the licence conditions, prior to the grant of a licence. The conditions that will be attached to a licence are set out within the relevant guidance for that licence type. Additional conditions can also be attached to a licence if deemed necessary. Please ensure that you read the guidance, and understand the requirements, specific to your business prior to making an application.

How long will it take to process an application?

We aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks of receiving it. It is possible that the process may take longer, for example if further information is required from the applicant or if it proves difficult to make the arrangements for the inspection.

Eligibility criteria

Schedule 8 of the regulations provides the following persons who may not apply for a licence:

  • A person who has at any time held a licence which was revoked under regulation 15 of these regulations.
  • A person who has at any time held a licence which was revoked under regulation 17 of the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014(a).
  • A person who has at any time held a licence which was revoked under regulation 13 of the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012(b).
  • A person who is disqualified under section 33 of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011(c).
  • A person who has at any time held a licence which was revoked under regulation 12 of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010(d).
  • A person who is disqualified under section 34 of the Act.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 40(1) and (2) of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006(e).
  • A person who is disqualified under section 4(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991(a).
  • A person who is disqualified under Article 33A of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983(b).
  • A person who is disqualified under section 6(2) of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976(c) from keeping a dangerous wild animal.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 3(3) of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973(d) from keeping a breeding establishment for dogs.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 4(3) of the Riding Establishments Act 1964(e) from keeping a riding establishment.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 3(3) of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963(f) from keeping a boarding establishment for animals.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 5(3) of the Pet Animals Act 1951(g) from keeping a pet shop.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 1(1) of the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954(h) from having custody of an animal.
  • A person who is disqualified under section 4(2) of the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925(i).
  • A person who is disqualified under section 3 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911(j) from the ownership of an animal.

Other matters to be considered are:

  • whether you will require planning permission for change of use or for building the necessary accommodation;
  • the disposal of waste and litter;
  • the potential for nuisance to neighbours – for example barking dogs;
  • the health, safety and welfare requirements in relation to anyone you may employ in connection with the business.
Contact us

If you have read this page and are still unsure as to whether your business requires a licence, please contact the Licensing Service on 01582 546040 or via [email protected].​​​

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