Animal Activity Licences

How to apply for a animal welfare licence for an animal boarding establishment, such as a kennel or cattery, pet shop, breeding dogs, hiring out horses or keeping of training animals for exhibition.

New legislation the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into effect from 1st October 2018.

The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following “licensable activities”:

  • 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

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has now published guidance in relation to the new regulations, along with guidance notes on the conditions that will apply to licences issued to authorise the different licensable activities.

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

The new licensing regime includes a risk assessment process that will determine whether the Council will grant a one, two or three-year licence.

In addition to the guidance from DEFRA, we have produced the following "Frequently Asked Questions" document, which you may find useful.

Application for a licence

The fee is £352.00. To apply please complete the online application form

To achieve a 3-year licence for the fee detailed you must be fully compliant with all the requirements detailed in the guidance. Please note that your history of compliance and substantiated complaints are considered as part of the assessment.

There is also a business threshold test which applies if you earn more than £1,000 or earn a commission or fee from one of the specified business activities. (This means for dog breeders you may only have one litter but if you earn more than £1,000 you will need a licence.)

Your right of appeal

To make an appeal the business must make the appeal in writing (including by email) to us. It is advisable to discuss the matter first with the inspecting officer. Any operator who is aggrieved by a decision by a local authority may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal.

Requests for re-inspections for re-rating purposes

In cases where businesses with a rating of 1 to 4 have accepted their rating and have made the necessary improvements to address non-compliances identified during the local authority’s previous inspection businesses can apply for a re-rating. The re-rating request must be made in writing and payment will be required to ensure acceptance of the re-rating. The re-rating will be carried out within 3 months of the request. There is no limit to the re-inspection visits that a business can request.

All requests for re-visits can be made in writing by email to

Public Register

Details of the businesses which have been licensed to provide animal-related activities can be found in our public register.