Toggle menu

Animal Licensing

Activities that can impact on Animal Welfare may need a licence

New Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) Regulations came into force on October 1, 2018. It replaces all previous legislation for animal licensing (apart from Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoo Licensing). 

Under these regulations, you will have just one licence for multiple activities.

Apply for a licence

Please read the guidance and conditions below before submitting your application.

To apply, complete the relevant application form. Return it with any supporting documents and the correct fee. 

View  current fees (PDF) [139KB] .

The process is slightly different for a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence. Guidance for this can be found at the bottom of this page. 

If you need further advice, please contact our licensing team.

Pre-application advice

Not sure if you need a licence? We offer a pre-application advice service. The fee for this is £43.00 per hour. 

Get pre-application advice for Animal Licensing (Word doc) [31KB]

To apply, complete the form above and email it to An officer will contact you to confirm the cost and arrange a suitable time to speak to you. 

Guidance and licence conditions

New licences and renewals are subject to new licensing conditions. These conditions will be used by our Licensing Compliance Officer and nominated Vet when inspecting your premises. 

General animal welfare conditions (PDF) [195KB] apply to all activities. Each activity also has specific conditions that apply:

Boarding for cats or dogs

You may need a licence if you are planning to provide accommodation for other people's cats or dogs as a business.

View guidance:

View the  specific conditions that apply to boarding for cats or dogs (PDF) [219KB]

Breeding dogs

You may need a licence if you are:

  • breeding three or more litters of puppies in a 12 month period; and/or
  • breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs

View guidance: Dog breeding licensing: statutory guidance - GOV.UK

View the specific conditions that apply to dog breeding (PDF) [196KB]

Hiring out horses

You may need a licence if you are planning to hire out horses within the course of a business for the purpose of:

  • riding; and/or
  • instruction in riding

View guidance: Hiring out horses licensing: statutory guidance - GOV.UK

View the specific conditions that apply to hiring out horses (PDF) [184KB]

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

You may need a licence if you are planning to:

  • keep or train animals as a business for educational or entertainment purposes; and
  • there is an audience attending in person; or
  • visual images are being recorded by any form of technology that enables the display of such images

View guidance: Keeping or training animals for exhibition licensing: statutory guidance - GOV.UK

View the  specific conditions that apply to keeping or training animals for exhibition (PDF) [184KB]

Selling animals as pets

You may need a licence if you are:

  • planning to sell animals as pets; and
  • it is the intention to resell them at a later stage as pets; and
  • it is within the course of a business

View guidance: Selling animals as pets licensing: statutory guidance - GOV.UK

View the  specific conditions that apply to selling pets (PDF) [189KB]


For further information, please see our  Animal Licensing FAQs Leaflet (PDF) [226KB]

Risk rating (length of licence)

Officers will 'risk rate' premises at the time of inspection. The level of risk determines how long a licence will be issued for:

  • 5 star premises - licence given for 36 months
  • 4 star and 3 star premises - licence given for 24 months
  • 2 star and 1 star premises - licence given for 12 months

If you disagree with the rating given, you can  appeal your rating (PDF) [114KB] .

You can also request a  re-rating of your premises (PDF) [78KB] .

Dangerous wild animals (DWA)

Dangerous wild animals include venomous snakes, certain spiders and ostriches. If you keep a dangerous wild animal you must hold a licence to do so. If you fail to have a licence, the animal can be removed from your premises. View the list of Dangerous Wild Animals

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

Applying for a Licence

Applications must be made by the person who keeps the animal. To apply, you need to complete the  Dangerous Wild Animals Application Form (PDF) [342KB] and provide plans of your premises. Once complete, email them to You also need to provide the correct fee of £149, plus the vet fee. View our payment page.

Application process

Before we issue a licence, a suitably qualified veterinary surgeon will visit the premises and assess the animals. You will be charged for this visit.

If the report from the veterinary surgeon is satisfactory, we will issue a licence. The licence may be subject to conditions.

These conditions may relate for example to the suitability of the premises, or to restrictions on the species and numbers of animals you can have.

Licence Length

Licences must be renewed every two years.

What we test for the grant of a Licence

We must be satisfied that:

  • it is not contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise to grant the licence;
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence under this Act;
  • any animal concerned will at all times of its being kept: be held in accommodation which secures that the animal will not escape, which is suitable as regards construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation; and
  • be supplied with adequate and suitable food, drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals
  • appropriate steps will always be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency
  • all reasonable precautions will be taken at all such times to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.
  • while any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise
  • the application for it is made by a person who both owns and possesses, or proposes to own and to possess, any animal concerned except where the circumstances are exceptional.
  • a veterinary Inspector or Authorised Officer of the Council has inspected the premises where any animal will normally be held in pursuance of the licence and the Authority has received and considered a report by the Inspector or Officer, on whether the premises are such that any animal proposed to be kept may suitably be held there and describing the condition of the premises and of any animal or other thing found there.


If you do not keep to the conditions of your licence we can remove the animal from your premises.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email