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Animal licences

Information for applicants

The - Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 require that any person wishing to carry out the activities listed below in the course of a business must obtain a licence from the local authority.

The licensable activities are:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs, including Puppy Litter Notification Form
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Any person or business operating any of the activities listed from above will need to apply for a licence, and will need to comply with the legislation and the conditions set by the legislation. Anyone carrying out the activities above without the relevant licence could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to 6 months, receive a fine or both.

The Secretary of State has published statutory guidance for each licensable activity. Inspectors must ensure that the businesses comply with the guidance. New or existing businesses will not be granted a licence if they do not comply. You can view the guidance at GOV.UK - Animal activities licensing: statutory guidance for local authorities.

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

How do I apply for a licence?

Please consult the relevant application type for information on how to apply. These are listed at the top of this page.

How much will it cost?

Please see the fees and charges for current prices. The application fee (Part A) is payment to cover the Councils costs in determining your application. This covers the costs of an inspectors time in visiting your premises and assessing your paperwork. This fee is strictly non-refundable even if you are refused a licence or you withdraw your application. 

If you are successful you will be asked to pay the Part B fee (on-going enforcement costs) before your Licence is granted. You will also be required to pay any vets fees.

Considerations before making your application

Once you apply for a licence you are essentially telling the council that you are ready to start caring for animals in your business.

You are therefore confirming that your premises are suitable and compliant with the legislation and statutory guidance and that you have all the necessary paperwork in place.

If you do not have the necessary paperwork in place or your premises are not structurally compliant, then your application may be refused. At that point your application fee is forfeit and you will need to re-apply in the future and pay a new fee.

Licensed premises applying for a renewal of licence should ensure that all of the items in the schedule of works sent to them, when the licence was issued, have been completed, failure to do so may result in a reduction in star rating or a refusal to grant the licence. 

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