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Animal Licences

With effect from 1 October 2018, animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and doggy day care), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments will be covered under new legislation, The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018. The regulations replace previous requirements contained in the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, the Pet Animals Act 1951, the Animals Boarding Establishments Act 1963, the Riding Establishments Act 1964 and the Breeding of Dogs Act 1963.

All activities will be covered by a single licence, with nationally-set licence conditions for businesses providing animal-related services. Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the licence is granted.


The licence holder must be a named person who is not disqualified from holding a licence in accordance with the requirements of regulation 11 of the regulations. A person cannot apply for a licence if they have previously had a licence revoked under the Regulations or is disqualified from keeping an animal under any other legislation.

Application Process

The following documents are application forms which are activity specific, and appropriate fees. Please note home boarding licences and day care licences are to be submitted on the animal boarding application. Licences for home boarding and day care cannot be run at the same premises.

The Council aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks of receiving a new licence application. However, if this is not possible, the applicant will be notified about the delay and the reasons why.

*Animal boarding applications covers home boarding, daycare, kennels and catteries


The Government website has guidance on animal activities and licensing involving animals.

Animal Licensing Policy

The Animal Licensing policy sets out the principles we will use when dealing with applicants and licence holders with whom the Council is responsible for.

We recommend that applicants check they have the correct permissions to use their property or premises for the business applied for. For example, there are restrictions on running businesses in domestic Council properties. It's important to do this before applying, as the application fee is not refundable. Checks will be carried out by us to ensure all relevant permissions, such as planning consent and housing permissions, are in place at the application stage.

Please send your completed application to the team at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Please be aware that original DBS Certificates will need to be less than 3 months at the time that your application is received

Please Note: The licences are non-transferable should the premise/ business be sold or taken over by another operator. If the licence holder dies, the personal representative of the licence holder can take on the licence provided that they inform the local authority within 28 days of the death that they are now the operator.


All fees have been calculated taking into account the statutory guidance in Regulation 13 which stipulates a full cost recovery model. Fees are broken down as follows;

  • Part A - The costs of processing the application, including initial inspection, through to determination.
  • Part B - The costs of running and enforcement of the licensing regime, including any mid-term visits.

Vet inspection and associated fees, apply in addition to the above with respect to initial inspection of dog breeding establishments and annually for Hiring of Horses only. A copy of the animal licence fee structure is available on this page. Please be aware that the fee is the same regardless of duration of the licence however we are unable to determine the duration until a full assessment has been undertaken. The Part A and Vet inspection fees are non-refundable should your application be unsuccessful. The Part B fee is only payable upon granting of a licence


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, these can be found in the guidance documentation issued by DEFRA
  • 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 submitted with your application and available for the Inspector to examine during your inspection.
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff. If no staff are employed, then evidence of how the licence holders knowledge is kept up to date
  • 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.

Based on the application, and the information given to us at the inspection, we will assess the risk rating and award stars using a scoring method created by DEFRA, which is a requirement under the new scheme. 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.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please get in touch by calling 01246 217884 / 01246 217885 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Premises with lower star ratings

A premise with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premise to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses have to be assessed as higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered. We would advise that, as stated above, the scoring method is one we must use to comply with Government requirements, and the ratings given should not be seen as a recommendation by the Council.

If customers have any concerns, please contact the Commercial Environmental Health Team prior to making a purchase or making booking arrangements


You can ask for your premises to be re-inspected at any time. This must be in writing and you should outline the case for a re-inspection, including improvements you have made and the supporting evidence. We can refuse to carry out a re-inspection if you do not provide sufficient evidence of improvement. We aim to carry out re-inspections within three months of your request.

There is no limit to the number of re-inspections you can request, however, you will be required to pay the full costs of each inspection.

Following a re-inspection, your rating could go up, down or could remain the same.

Appealing against a Star Rating

You can appeal a star rating. Before you do so, we would encourage you to informally discuss your rating with us.

Appeals must be in writing no more than 21 days after we have issued the licence. We have 21 days to respond to your appeal.

If you disagree with outcome of the appeal, you can challenge our decision by judicial review or you can make a complaint to us.

Changes to your licence

Please contact the Council either by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01246 217884 / 01246 217885 to discuss any changes you wish to make in relation to your Licence and any fees involved. In all correspondence please give your licence number and detail any specific changes.


You must apply to renew your licence if you want to continue your animal activities. We will send you the renewal documents to your licensed premises 3 months before your licence is due to expire.

You will have to complete and return the renewal documents at least 10 weeks before your licence expires. If you don't renew in time, you'll need to apply for a licence again. This may affect the length of your licence and you may have to pay additional costs.

Public registers for animal licences

If anyone needs to check a licence they can call the licensing team on 01246 217884 / 01246 217885 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Unlicensed premises

If you think someone is running an animal establishment without a licence, or if you are concerned about the welfare of animals at a licensed establishment, please contact us on 01246 217884 / 01246 217885 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.