Animal welfare licensing

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (“the Regulations”) came into force in October 2018. They are made under Section 13(7) and 13(8) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. They updated and replaced legislation for selling animals as pets, dog and cat boarding, dog breeding and riding establishments. In addition to this, they introduced, for the first time, a licensing regime for keeping and training animals for exhibition.

Under Schedule 1 of the Regulations, a ‘licensable activity’ means one of five activities involving animals:

  • Selling animals as pets;
  • Providing for or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs;
  • Hiring out horses;
  • Dog breeding;
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition.

In order to be granted a licence, both the general conditions in Schedule 2 and the specific conditions relating to that activity must be met. Schedules 3 to 7 cover the specific conditions for each licensable activity and these must be read in conjunction with the guidance document for each activity, produced by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Operating without a licence, or failing to follow licensing conditions, is a criminal offence under the Regulations and is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine and/or imprisonment up to six months.

Applying for an animal welfare licence

An animal welfare licence will allow the holder to conduct one or more of the licensable activities listed above. If you are applying for only one licensable activity, you can apply online via our Online Portal (you will need to register an account). Otherwise, please contact the Licensing Team.

Fees are outlined below. All fees are paid in two halves. 65% on application, with the remaining 35% payable if the licence is granted, and within the first 28 days of issue.

Selling animals as pets

A licence is required by anyone selling animals as pets, either directly or with a view to them later being sold as pets, in the course of a business. The scope of this includes the business of wholesale/pet shop supplier as a licensable activity, as well as anyone keeping animals in the course of a business with a view to them being sold or resold.

The exceptions to this are:

  • The selling of animals in the course of an aqua cultural business inspected (by CEFAS) and authorised under The Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009;
  • The breeding of dogs to the extent that you require a licence relevant to this activity, rather than a pet sales licence.
  New Renew Variation
(admin only)
Variation
(site visit required
Selling animals as pets £725.42 £658.36 £64.48 £330.72

Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs

A licence is required for providing or arranging boarding for other people’s dogs or cats in the course of a business, on any premises where the provision of that accommodation is the purpose of a business. The following activities are included:

  • Boarding for cats; or
  • Boarding kennels for dogs; or
  • Home boarding for dogs; or
  • Day care for dogs.

The introduction of the Regulations now makes the arranging of boarding for dogs or cats a licensable activity, as well as providing boarding.

 

New

Renew

Variation
(admin only)

Variation
(site visit required)

Commercial boarding – single species

£682.55

£615.73

£64.48

£330.72

Commercial boarding – multiple species

£763.96

£696.88

As above

As above

Home boarding

£538.54

£467.72

As above

As above

Home boarding (franchise – 1st host)

£538.54

£467.72

As above

As above

Commercial dog day care

£617.58

£532.20

As above

As above

Home boarding (franchise additional hosts inspection fee)

£122.72

£122.72

£122.72

£122.72

Hiring out horses

A licence is required for the hiring out horses in the course of a business for either of the following:

  • Riding; or
  • Riding lessons.

Exemptions to this are any activity carried out solely for military or police, or involving students studying for a veterinary degree under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966.

For the activity of hiring out horses, there is a requirement for an annual inspection by a Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) registered veterinarian, regardless of the total length of the licence.

 

New

Renew

Variation
(admin only)

Variation
(site visit required)

Small stables (up to 10 horses)

£730.94

£602.00

£64.48

£330.72

Medium stables (11 to 50 horses)

£886.94

£758.00

As above

As above

Large stables (51+ horses)

£1302.94

£1174.00

As above

As above

Vet fees (small stables)

£15.60 per horse.

£15.60 per horse.

£15.60 per horse.

£15.60 per horse.

Vet fees (medium stables)

First 10 horses included in application fee. £10.40 per horse thereafter.

First 10 horses included in application fee. £10.40 per horse thereafter.

First 10 horses included in application fee. £10.40 per horse thereafter.

First 10 horses included in application fee. £10.40 per horse thereafter.

Vet fees (large stables)

First 50 horses included in application fee. £8.32 per horse thereafter.

First 50 horses included in application fee. £8.32 per horse thereafter.

First 50 horses included in application fee. £8.32 per horse thereafter.

First 50 horses included in application fee. £8.32 per horse thereafter.

Dog breeding

The test for dog breeding as a licensable activity is either or both of the following:

  • The breeding of three or more litters in any 12-month period; or
  • The breeding and advertising of a business of selling dogs (regardless of the number of litters).

Exemptions include:

  • Keeping a dog on any premises as a requirement of the Animal Health Act 1981;
  • Breeding assistance dogs under Section 173 of the Equality Act 2010;
  • If documentary evidence can be produced to show none of the three litters bred have been sold.

 

New

Renew

Variation
(admin only)

Variation
(site visit required)

Breeder (domestic dwelling)

£691.88

£615.73

£64.48

£330.72

Breeder (commercial/kennels)

£742.91

£696.88

As above

As above

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

If a person keeps or trains animals for exhibition in the course of a business, or for the purpose of education or entertainment, a licence is required. This includes exhibition to any audience or any filming / photo shoots, which enable the display of such images.

Exemptions include animals kept and trained for military, police or sporting purposes, or any activity permitted under The Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012 or the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

  New Renew

Variation
(admin only)

Variation
(site visit required)
Exhibiting or training animals £717.42 £613.32 £64.48 £330.72