Licence summary

If you have a business that involves animals you may need a licence.

New Regulations came into force on 1 October 2018 which introduced an updated licensing system in England for the following five activities involving animals:

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1. Selling animals as pets

Selling animals as pets (or with a view to their being later resold as pets) as a business.

Keeping animals as a business, with a view to their being sold or resold.

2. Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats and dogs

Providing or arranging for the provision of accommodation for other people's cats or dogs as a business on any premises where providing that accommodation is a purpose of the business by providing:

  • boarding for cats
  • boarding in kennels for dogs
  • home boarding for dogs
  • day care for dogs.
3. Dog breeding

Breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period.

Breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.

4. Hiring out horses for riding or instruction

Hiring out horses in the course of a business for either riding, riding instruction, or both.

5. Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Keeping or training animals for exhibition, in the course of a business, for educational or entertainment purposes:

  • either to to any audience attending in person
  • or recording visual images of them by any form of technology 
  • or both.

New provisions

The new Regulations have also introduced:

  • a one-licence system whereby each of the five activities listed above is a licensable activity - operators may apply for multiple licensable activities on a single licence
  • a new 'star rating' scheme, ranging from one to five stars, assessed according to the risk and welfare standards at the premises
  • licence periods of up to three years, linked to the star rating given to the premises.
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1 star Low or high risk with minor failings - will be given a one-year licence
2 stars High risk but meeting minimum welfare standards - will be given a one-year licence
3 stars Low risk and meeting minimum welfare standards - will be given a two-year licence
4 stars High risk but meeting higher welfare standards - will be given a two-year licence
5 stars Low risk and meeting higher welfare standards - will be given a three-year licence

Establishments will be visited unannounced at least once during the licence period.

Existing licence holders

Existing licence holders and anyone planning to apply for a new licence should read the new 2018 Regulations and the statutory guidance notes to fully understand your obligations and duties under the new Regulations. Links to the guidance notes can be found at the bottom of this page, under Related Links.

Applying for a new licence

Before making your application you must read the guidance and conditions relevant to your chosen activity to make sure you can meet the requirements. You must also ensure you have obtained suitable planning permission - you will need to provide evidence of this when you apply. 

Apply for a Licence

Inspections

All premises will be inspected before a licence is granted. If you are applying for a licence for dog breeding or hiring of horses you will also need to pay for an inspection carried out by a vet.

The inspection allows officers to give each premises a 'risk rating' that determines the length of the licence (one to three years) and the 'star rating'. Low-risk premises can get up to five stars and premises assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the rating, they can make improvements to address any highlighted issues and ask for a re-inspection.

Fees

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Type of Licence

Fee Type

1 Year

2 Year

3 Year

Licence Variation

Re-Inspect

Animal Boarding 
0 - 5 Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£130

£110

£240

£130

£160

£290

£130

£190

£320

 

£130

 

£80

6 - 25 Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£140

£170

£310

£140

£190

£330

£140

£210

£350

 

£140

 

£100

26 - 50 Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£150

£230

£380

£150

£240

£390

£150

£260

£410

 

£150

 

£120

50+ Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£170

£270

£440

£170

£290

£460

£170

£310

£480

 

£170

 

£140

Dog Breeding
0 - 5 Animals (only pay £120 if also applying for Animal Boarding)

Application

Licence

Total

£130

£110

£240

£130

£150

£280

£130

£170

£300

 

£130

 

£80

6 - 25 Animals (only pay £120 if also applying for Animal Boarding)

Application

Licence

Total

£140

£170

£310

£140

£190

£330

£140

£210

£350

 

£140

 

£100

26+ Animals (only pay £120 if also applying for Animal Boarding)

Application

Licence

Total

£150

£220

£370

£150

£240

£390

£150

£250

£400

 

£150

 

£120

Selling animals as pets
Animals as pets (add £50 for each species of any Dangerous Wild Animal if applicable)

Application

Licence

Total

£140

£110

£250

£140

£110

£250

£140

£110

£250

 

£140

 

£80

Hiring out Horses
0 - 5 Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£130

£120

£250

£130

£170

£300

£130

£210

£330

 

£130

 

£80

6 - 25 Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£140

£210

£350

£140

£220

£360

£140

£240

£380

 

£140

 

£100

26+ Animals

Application

Licence

Total

£150

£250

£400

£150

£270

£420

£150

£300

£450

 

£150

 

£120

Exhibiting / Performing Animals
Any number of animals

Application

Licence

Total

 

N/A

 

N/A

£130

£140

£270

 

£120

 

N/A

Does tacit consent apply?

No. This means you must obtain a licence before carrying out a licensable activity involving animals.

Rights of appeal

You have the right to appeal if your application is refused or your licence is revoked. Appeals are heard by the First Tier Tribunal.

There is also an appeals system for the star rating. If you do not agree with the star rating awarded by us and you have followed the appeals procedures, you can seek a judicial review of the decision or submit a formal complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman