On 1 October 2018, the new animal welfare licensing regulations came into force. The regulations unify and update a number of current animal welfare licensing regimes, namely those applicable to pet shops, animal boarding establishments, riding establishments, dog breeding and performing animals.
There are no changes to Dangerous Wild Animals Licences or Zoo Licences.
The new regulations are conferred by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and aim to further protect the needs and welfare of animals.
The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following “licensable activities”:
- Selling animals as pets
- Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
- Hiring out horses
- Breeding dogs
- Keeping or training animals for exhibition
The changes also extend the scope of who is required to be licensed. Therefore persons who operated previously without requiring to be licensed e.g. under exemptions, may need to be licensed after the 1 October 2018.
If you currently hold an existing licence under any of the affected animal welfare Acts, that licence will continue to be in force for the rest of its term. However, if you wish to continue to operate the activity, you will be required to apply for a licence under the new regime at least 10 weeks prior to the expiry of your existing licence.
Renewal letters will be sent out in early October 2018 to existing licence holders whose licence expires at the end of this calendar year (i.e. 31/12/18).
There are new conditions that will apply to licences issued under the new regulations
- a set of general conditions that apply to all licences and
- a set of specific conditions that will apply to specific animal activity
The new conditions are set in legislation, the licensing department will be unable to make exceptions. It will be necessary for operators to comply with all sets of conditions applicable to the activities they carry out.
The new animal welfare licensing regime, requires licensing authorities to inspect premises prior to granting a licence. The new licence will run for 1 to 3 years dependant on standards, risk rating, and will be star rated. The regulations also provide an appeal process.
DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) have produced guidance documents to help current and prospective licence holders understand what will be required of them under the new legislation. Please refer to the guidance documents below for more information on the changes.
The licensing team will work with premises to implement the new licensing regulations, but can only issue licenses in accordance with the new regulations and with due regard to government guidance.