Animal Activities Licence

Animal welfare

Licenses for the following activities will be needed when carried out as a business:

  • selling animals as pets
  • boarding for cats or dogs (cattery/kennels) or arranging for the provision of boarding of cats or dogs
  • home Boarding for dogs (including day care for dogs in a home environment)
  • day care for dogs (commercial creche)
  • breeding of dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition
  • hiring out horses.

The new licenses are known as an 'animal activity licence', with new nationally-set licence conditions for businesses providing animal-related services.

We cannot change these conditions as they are already set in the legislation. Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the licence is granted to make sure they can meet them.

Minimum standards specific to the activity being carried out will need to be met prior to a licence being issued.  Where higher standards are met, a longer term licence will be issued which will save licensing fees for applicants who achieve and maintain high standards.

The minimum term of a licence will be one year. Where Higher Standards are achieved a two or three year licence will be granted.

All new applications will be rated following their initial inspection. 


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role
  • comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities
  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept. Based on the information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars. Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection.

Premises with lower star ratings

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses will be assessed as higher risk because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.

If customers have any concerns, please contact the Licensing Team prior to making a purchase or making booking arrangements.

Public register

Once the Animal Activity Licence has been granted, the premises is listed on a public register, a copy of which is available below.

Licensing Register

Licence to keep or train animals for exhibition

If you are currently registered under the Performing Animals Act 1925 you have until 1 April 2019 to apply for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition. If you're not registered you'll need to apply for a licence immediately.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) guidance

Changelog 2018

Application forms

Inspection proformas

Before your inspection we would recommend that you carry out your own audit using the appropriate inspection form below so that you can identify any improvements you need to make ahead of your inspection. 

 Boarding in kennels for dogs inspection proforma [PDF, 634KB]

 Breeding dogs inspection proforma [PDF, 863KB]

 Cat boarding inspection proforma [PDF, 664KB]

 Day care dogs inspection proforma [PDF, 282KB]

 Hiring out horses inspection proforma [PDF, 663KB]

 Keeping or training animals for exhibition inspection proforma [PDF, 786KB]

 Selling animals as pets inspection proforma [PDF, 825KB]

 Risk Scoring Form [PDF, 527KB]


Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.  If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please email

Animal Activities Licence

To report an unlicensed activity please email