The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 regulate the following activities:
- Selling animals as pets (including wholesalers)
- Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including dog home-boarding / day care)
- Hiring out horses (for riding or instruction in riding)
- Breeding dogs
- Keeping or training animals for exhibition
Those falling within scope of the regulations who wish to operate any of the above activities must apply for and be granted a licence by the relevant local authority. This is prior to carrying out the activity.
We will refuse a licence to individuals who do not meet the regulation requirements. We as the licensing authority are unable to make exceptions or amend conditions.
Apply for a licence
We require applicants to:
- Complete and submit an application with the required fee and a plan of the premises
- Produce required documentation such as policies, procedures, risk assessments, record keeping etc to demonstrate competency and compliance with the conditions of the licence to protect and promote animal health and welfare
The regulations place standard sets of conditions to licences issued:
- A set of general conditions that apply to all licences and
- A set of specific conditions that apply to the specific animal activity
An authorised officer inspects all premises prior to determination of an application. Our appointed vet will also inspect new (grant) dog breeding applications and all hiring out horse premises prior to grant and annually thereafter.
Apart from licences for the activity of keeping or training animals for exhibition, we can grant licences for one to three years. They can have a star rating of one to five stars. The duration and star rating depend on meeting certain standards set by the regulations (minimum and higher) and risk assessment. New applicants that do not have a compliance history with a local authority or a UKAS accredited body are automatically considered higher risk.
You should discuss appeals against a star rating with the Inspecting Officer. If it remains unresolved, you have 21 days from the date of issue of the licence to appeal the rating to the Licensing Manager.
Licence holders who have made improvements to their business after we issued the licence and wish us to re-assess their star rating should apply for a re-inspection and pay the required fee.
Operators must demonstrate continued compliance with all conditions applicable to the activities they carry out and maintain and retain record keeping for three years. Authorised officers carry out interim inspections during the term of the licence to ensure compliance.
Licence holders must send in a renewal application at least ten weeks prior to expiry of their current licence. We send licence renewal reminders to licence holders three months prior to expiry.
We will take appropriate enforcement action against individuals who carry out an animal licensable activity without the required licence in place. We cannot grant licences to individuals who are disqualified from holding a licence or have previously had one revoked.
Regulations and guidance
The regulations are conferred by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. They aim to protect the needs and welfare of animals. DEFRA has produced guidance documents which the Licensing Authority must have regard to when carrying out its functions under the regulations. This guidance receives regular reviews and updates to ensure continued promotion of animal health and welfare standards.
Operators are required to ensure that they keep up to date with any changes in legislation to ensure continued compliance.
Find information on the animal activities licensing: statutory guidance for local authorities on the GOV.UK website.
We will work with premises, but can only issue licenses in accordance with the regulations and with due regard to government guidance.