Animal Activity licences

Changes to the animal licensing laws (September 2018)

The Government has now published updated legislation for animal businesses and confirmed that these changes have been in effect since 1 October 2018.

Under the new laws, animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments will be covered under a single type of licence from that date. The new licence will be known as an 'animal activity licence', with new nationally-set licence conditions for businesses providing animal-related services.

Businesses will need to comply with the new legislation and will be assessed to ensure that they meet the conditions relevant to the activities that are applied for before the licence is granted.

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation.

The new licence conditions for each of the animal activities covered are set out below:

The main changes have been:

  • One generic licence
  • General and ‘activity specific’ licence conditions
  • A risk rating scheme
  • Improved animal welfare standards
  • Statutory guidance

Further explanation of the guidance published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) can be found on the Canine and Feline Sector Group website.

You can apply by downloading the application forms below.  An online version will be available in the near future.

To help applicants, guidance notes for each of the activities are set out below.  These contain further information on what will be required to meet the conditions, a set of which will be included with the granted licence.  This also provides advice as to what steps applicants can take to possibly achieve a higher star rating.

Once a completed application and payment has been received, we will examine the information provided, and then instruct an Animal Welfare Officer to arrange an inspection.

Breeding of Animals

  • Application fee £67
  • Initial rating £36 plus vet fee
  • Re-inspection  £36 plus vet fee

Maintenance fee to be paid after initial rating score:

  • 1 year £180
  • 2 year £354
  • 3 year £533 

Variation of licence £36 plus vet fee

Note, the first inspection for dog breeders must be made by a Veterinarian, along with our Animal Welfare Officer.

Boarding of Animals

Application fee £67

Initial rating or re-rating inspection:

  • Up to 10 animals £104
  • 11 to 30 animals £139
  • 31 to 60 animals £173
  • 61 to 99 animals £206
  • 100 or more animals £241

Maintenance fee to be paid after initial rating score:

  • 1 year £180
  • 2 year £354
  • 3 year £533

Variation of licence requiring a re-inspection fee: As initial rating or re-rating inspection

Hiring of Horses

Application fee £67

Initial rating £36 plus vet fee

Re-inspection £36 plus vet fee

Maintenance fee to be paid after initial rating score:

  • 1 year £180
  • 2 year £354
  • 3 year £533

Variation of licence requiring a re-inspection £36 plus vet fee

Note, the first inspection for Riding Establishments must be made by a Veterinarian, along with our Animal Welfare Officer. Riding Establishments must continue to have annual veterinary and Council Officer inspections organised by us. Fees payable for vet inspections will be invoiced separately.

Selling Animals as Pets

Application fee £67

Initial rating £173

Re-inspection £173

Maintenance fee to be paid after initial rating score:

  • 1 year £180
  • 2 year £354
  • 3 year £533

Variation of licence requiring a re-inspection £173

Exhibiting Animals

Application fee £103

Maintenance fee (3 years) £533

Variation of licence requiring a re-inspection £104

Dangerous Wild Animals

Application fee £67

Initial rating £93 plus vet fee

All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • Specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

All new licences for the Animal Activities Licence will be initially issued for one year. 

Details of the businesses which have been licensed to provide animal-related activities can be found in our Animal Welfare Licence Register.

Based on the inspection information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars. Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection at a cost to them.

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered.

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