Animal Licensing

Changes to Animal Licensing Regulations From 1st October 2018


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

These regulations will replace a number of existing pieces of legislation set to be repealed at the end of 2018 and will provide a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities.

The following activities will need to be licensed under the new regime:

  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including home boarding and day care)
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The new Regulations will set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with. A ratings system will be introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating dependant on specified criteria. Current licence holders are advised to review their compliance with the new conditions. 

Fees will be determined by the authority. 

The new legislation will not affect you if you currently have either of the following licences:

Zoo Licences (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981)

Dangerous Wild Animal Licences (under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976).

The new legislation will affect you if you currently have any of the following types of licence:

  • Animal Boarding Establishment Licence (under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963)
  • Dog Breeding Licence (under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991; Breeding & Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999)
  • Riding Establishment Licence (under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 & 1970)
  • Pet Shop Licence (under the Pet Animals Act 1951) 

keeping or training of animals for exhibition (under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925)

Businesses operating under any of the above existing licences will be able to continue to trade until the expiry date of their current licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation. 

The new licence will be known as an 'Animal Activity Licence' and will include nationally set licence conditions for businesses providing animal related services.

Information and paperwork regarding the new licence application process will be sent to existing licensed businesses prior to the expiry of the current licence. 

In the case of holders of registration under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, the current registration will expire on 31 March 2019.

The Regulations can be found by visiting The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Existing licence holders who wish to renew a licence will need to apply for a licence under the new legislation will be contacted in due course. (We will be sending out initial renewal reminders to all existing businesses from 1 October 2018). 

Once the application has been received, the information provided will be examined and then arrangements will be made to visit the premises to carry out an inspection by the Licensing Officers and the Council’s veterinary consultant if appropriate. All businesses engaged in providing animal related services will need to comply with the new licence conditions. The new legislation will also require that an assessment will be undertaken, of any premises providing animal related services for financial gain, before a licence is granted.

New Animal Activity Licence conditions

The supporting guidance for each activity is available below.  Some changes have been incorporated into the guidance since they were first published.  An outline of those changes can be found here: Guidance Changes Document

Commercial Dog Boarding - Kennels

Commercial Cat Boarding - Catteries

Commercial Home Boarding

Commercial Dog Daycare

Commercial Pet Vending

Commercial Dog Breeding

Animal Exhibits

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

What happens next?

From 1 October 2018 we will be writing to all businesses who currently hold an animal activities licence who may be affected by the changes, to explain what the changes mean to them, how to apply and what will be involved in terms of the application process and inspections under the new legislation, ready for the expiry of their existing licence.

 If you sell animals as pets you must get a licence from us each year.

This includes anyone who sells animals or pets in any type of premises (including a private home).  Pet shops that only sell food or animal equipment do not need a licence.

To see a copy of the Pet Animals Act 1951 please see the National Archives website


Licensed premises are subject to inspection and the conditions applied to the licence ensure that animals are kept in suitable conditions.  If you would like information on how to apply for a licence click on the links below:

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 use the links on the right of this page.

Who should I contact?

Environmental Services
Council Offices
Thorpe Road
CO16 9AG
Telephone: 01255 686767 


Last updated on: 23/10/2018 - 10:04