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Animal welfare licences

On the 1 October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 came into force.

The new regulations have replaced the licensing regimes for animal boarding, dog breeding, pet shops and riding establishments and will significantly change the way that activities involving animals are licensed in England.

Each licence issued will be given a star rating of between one and five stars.

Existing premises who recieve the lowest one star rating, will have 12 months to improve their business to meet the new minimum standards.

Licences will not be issued to new operators unless they satisfy all of the minimum standards.

Applying for a new licence

Please contact the licensing team to apply for a new licence.

An initial fee is payable when the application is submitted. Details of the application fees for each type of animal activity can be found below. 

We aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks of recieving it.

Following the initial inspection, the applicant will be advised of their star rating and whether they are eligible for a one, two or three year licence. The balance of the relevant fee must be paid before a licence will be issued.

Some application types will also require a report from a veterinary inspector appointed by the council. Where this is necessary, the applicant will also be required to reimburse the council for the vet’s fee before a licence is issued.

Guidance notes

DEFRA's guidance on how the new licensing regime will be operated can be found on the Gov.uk website

Animal boarding

Anyone providing, or arranging for the provision of boarding for other people’s cats or dogs, in the course of a business with a view to making a profit, or earning any comission or fee from the activity, requires a licence.

The initial application fee for a cattery or commercial boarding kennels is £125

Home boarding

Anyone providing, or arranging for the provision of boarding for other people’s dogs in a home environment, in the course of a business with a view to making a profit, or earning any comission or fee from the activity, requires a licence.

The initial application fee for a home boarder is £91.

Dog day care

Anyone providing, or arranging for the provision of day care for other people’s dogs, in the course of a business with a view to making a profit, or earning any comission or fee from the activity, requires a licence.

The initial application fee for a dog day care licence is £125

Dog breeding

Anyone who breeds dogs will require a licence if:

  • their dogs produce three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period, or
  • they make any sales or carries on the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • they earn any commission or fee from the activity

The initial application fee for a licence to breed dogs is £125

Selling pet animals

Anyone who sells animals as pets, or sells them with a view to their being later resold as pets, will require a licence if

  • they make any sales or carry on the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • they earn any commission or fee from the activity

The initial application fee for a licence to sell pets is £142

Hiring out horses

Anyone hiring out horses in the course of a business for either of the following purposes will require a licence:

(a) riding

(b) instruction in riding

This includes traditional riding schools and those that hire out horses for trekking, loan horses, pony parties (but only where the ponies are ridden), hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction and pony hire, pony and donkey rides.

The initial application fee for a licence to hire out horses is £151

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Anyone keeping or training animals for exhibition to any audience either attending in person, or by the recording of visual images of them using any form of technology that enables the display of the images for educational or entertainment purposes, will require a licence if:

  • they carry on the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • they earn any commission or fee from the activity

The initial application fee for a licence to train or exhit animals is £91

Contact us

For further information or if you have any questions about the application process please contact us:

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