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Animal welfare licensing

General information

New animal welfare regulations came into effect on 1 October 2018 for:

  • selling animals as pets
  • dog breeding
  • providing for or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • hiring out horses
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition

Check the regulations and government guidance by visiting Animal activities licensing.

To make sure animal welfare matters are properly addressed, certain specified categories of premises are subject to licensing regimes.

We are responsible for the issue of the following licences:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Animal boarding establishments (cats and dogs)
  • Dog Breeding
  • Zoos
  • Dangerous Wild Animals
  • Hiring Out Horses
  • Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

All premises are inspected by our Licensing Team, and where necessary, an independent vet to ensure their suitability before the licence is granted.

Animal licence fees and charges

There is an additional charge for our appointed vet's inspection, where required, payable after the inspection has taken place, which can be paid online.

Fees and charges

View the current animal welfare fees and charges.

Making an application

To apply for a licence you will need to complete sections 1 and 7 and the relevant section(s) dependant on the activity you are applying to be licensed for:

Section 1 - Standard Application Profile pdf

Section 2 - Pet Vending pdf

Section 3 - Dog Breeding pdf

Section 4 - Animal Boarding pdf

Section 5 - Hiring out of Horses pdf

Section 6 - Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition pdf

Section 7 - Declaration pdf

Once completed, please send by email to, fee payments can then be made over the phone by calling 01277 312500.

How we will process your application

Once we receive the application, it will be processed in line with the GOV.UK - Statutory guidance: Animal activity licensing process.  All our inspectors are suitably qualified, holding a Level 3 (or equivalent) Animal Inspector qualification.

We will then validate the application within five working days to make sure it has been completed correctly and has included all the relevant attachments. Once the application is confirmed as valid, we will issue a decision within a maximum of 10 weeks from receipt. 

If you're applying for a new Dog Breeding Licence or a new or renewal Hiring out of Horses Licence, we will appoint a suitably qualified vet. Where the inspection relates to equines, only inspectors approved by the RCVS will be used.   

On the conclusion of the inspection, a decision will be made with a star rating and a licence issued if you comply to the legislation.

If you're unhappy with the inspectors decision or the star rating provided, you can challenge this decision by emailing

Making a complaint

You can contact the licensing team if have a complaint about a licence. You will need to provide:

  • your name and phone number
  • details of the premises you wish to complain about
  • details of your complaint or problem

All complaints are dealt with in the strictest confidence and your details won't be released but are needed for us to contact you for more information. To make a complaint, email

We aim to provide an initial response in relation to licensed premises within five working days, based on our assessment of the welfare concern.