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Animal welfare

Important changes to animal welfare licences

New laws governing how animal welfare activities are licensed came into force on 1 October 2018. The new laws affect all premises and persons that provide any of the following services:

  • Selling animals as pets (or with a view to their being later resold as pets)
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for dogs - including home boarding, day care as well as commercial kennels
  • Hiring out horses
  • Dog breeding
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition


Our Officers regularly inspect all premises that need to comply with an animal welfare licence, which may also include a veterinary practitioner where necessary. Specific guidance has been published to help licence holders and applicants to comply with the new law. More information can be also obtained below or from the Council's Licensing Service.

In order to receive a licence a business will need to meet all of the minimum standards set out in the guidance. All business are given a star rating under the Animals Activity Star Rating System, which is based on the nature of the business and the level of compliance. Accordingly, businesses are encouraged to apply higher standards, which will mean that they are able to gain a 4 or 5 star rating and will qualify for a longer licence (e.g. two or three years as opposed to a one-year licence) and thereby pay a lower licence fee.

It should be noted that dangerous wild animal and zoo licences are not affected by this new law.

We also investigate complaints from members of the public regarding these activities. We will handle any information provided to us in accordance with our Privacy Notice (PDF, 65Kb).


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