Animal welfare licences

Regulations introduced in 2018 allow for a single licence to be issued listing the licensable activities you pursue.

The following activities require a licence:

  • 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

To apply for any of the above listed activities please contact us for an application form.

Licenses for dangerous wild animals and zoo licences have not been affected.

DEFRA have published guidance documents for each activity to help businesses to meet the new legal requirements.

Current licences will be valid until the expiry date shown on the licence. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

Selling animals as pets

You need a licence if you sell animals as pets including the import, distribution and sale of animals by a business.

It applies to domestic premises and traditional pet shops where animals are available for purchase.

Animal boarding

You need a licence if you provide or arrange for the accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs as a business activity. This includes providing:

  • boarding in kennels for dogs
  • home boarding for dogs
  • day care for dogs
  • boarding for cats, for example in a cattery

Horse hire

You need a licence if you hire out horses as a business activity for either or both of the following purposes:

  • riding
  • riding instruction

The Council will appoint a vet to inspect the premises where the activity is being carried on every 12 months.

The definition of horse for licensing purposes includes an ass, mule or hinny.

Dog breeding

You need a licence for:

  • breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs
  • breeding 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period

The Council will appoint a vet to inspect the premises on receipt of the initial application.

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

You need a licence for keeping or training animals for exhibition as a business activity for educational or entertainment purposes. This include exhibiton to any audience attending in person or via the recording of visual images of them..


£250 on application and a fee of £125 on the grant of a licence.

If a veterinary inspection is necessary you will also be charged the vet’s fee

Star rating system

The Council must use a risk based system when issuing animal activities licences to determine both the length of a licence and the star rating.