Animal Licensing

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Latest Guidance for pet industry businesses

The latest guidance for businesses can be found on both the Government website (opens in new window) and the Canine and Feline Sector Group website (opens in new window).

Licencing Inspections

Please note all routine licencing inspections of business premises for all animal activities licences are currently being carried out remotely, in place of on-site visits.

Animal Licensing Regulations

From 1 October 2018 the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force.

These regulations replaced a number of existing pieces of legislation repealed at the end of 2018, providing a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities.

The following activities must be licensed under the regulations:

  • Boarding for cats and/or dogs (including home boarding for dogs and dog day care)
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The regulations can be found by visiting The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (opens in new window).  The regulations set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with.  

The new legislation does not affect the following licences:

  • Zoo Licences (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981)
  • Dangerous Wild Animal Licences (under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976).


If you would like information on how to apply for a licence click on the links below:

Application process

  1. To apply or or renew a new an existing licence, a completed licence application form must be submitted to the Council. 
  2. For all new licence applications the application form must be accompanied by the written policies and procedures required by the licence conditions (Please refer to the guidance notes on licence conditions for the respective animal licencing activity).
  3. Upon receipt of an application, an invoice will be issued for the licence application fee. The fee is non-refundable once the inspection process has commenced.The licence application will be progressed once the application fee has been paid. 
  4. The application will be examined and an inspection of the business premises will then be carried out, subject to the documentation received being satisfactory (If a vet attends the inspection visit, vet's fees will be payable by the applicant.) 
  5. The findings of the inspection visit will be considered and a decision will be made whether to grant the licence.  Where a licence is granted, a star-rating will be awarded to the premises.  This is based on the risk-rating and level of compliance with the licence conditions as set by The Animal Welfare (Licencing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.  Star-ratings of between 1 and 5 stars can be awarded (except for Licences for Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition which are not star-rated and are issued for 2 years) .  The licence will be issued for a period of either 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the star-rating achieved. A 1 star licence is only issued to existing businesses with minor failings.  New businesses with minor failings will not be granted a licence.  

Star-ratings (opens in new window)

Licence fees (opens in new window)

Guidance notes on the conditions for animal activity licences

Please find below the guidance notes for the licence conditions for each animal activity licence. 

Boarding Dogs - Kennels (opens in new window)

Boarding Cats - Catteries (opens in new window)

Home Boarding of Dogs (opens in new window)

Dog Day Care (opens in new window)

Selling Animals as Pets (opens in new window)

Dog Breeding (opens in new window)

Hiring out of Horses (opens in new window)

Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition (opens in new window)

It is important that Licence holders understand the guidance relevant to their business.

Procedural guidance notes for local authorities

The Procedural guidance notes for local authorities  (opens in new window) is guidance for local authorities who need to licence activities involving animals and the relevant establishments. The guidance can also be used by those who currently have a licence or wish to apply for one.

Animal Movement Licensing

In the event of a disease outbreak the precise location of all livestock is essential for effective measures to control and eradicate highly contagious viruses. To try and stop the spread of disease there are strict rules controlling the identification and movements of livestock. These rules apply even if you only keep one animal of the species covered.  For information on the Licensing of Animal Movements please visit the Government website (opens in new window).

Who should I contact?

Environmental Health (Food Health & Safety)
88-90 Pier Avenue
CO15 1TN
Telephone: 01255 686767 

Government advice about animal welfare

Last updated on: 15/09/2021 - 16:46