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Animal licences


Arrangements for a range of Animal Welfare licences have changed with the introduction of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Please note: online payment is preferred.

There are a number of documents which must be submitted with all applications (including renewals). More information will be provided on the individual animal licences pages. Please note that your application will not be accepted without this documentation.

Further information

Please contact us to clarify the licence fee payable if you are uncertain.

Licence register

To find information on the current licensed premises, you can view on our licence register. If you select the 'Licence Register' tab at the top of the page and filter by 'Licence application type' you will be able to find the details of animal activities licences. 

Register of licensed premises

Am I eligible for a licence?

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. In Scotland an applicant must also not be disqualified from working with, using, driving or riding animals, providing services to animals that would involve taking possession of them, taking possession of an animal to carry out any of the activities listed or taking charge of animals for any other purpose

Application evaluation

All licence applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • an assessment of the operator (applicant) as to whether they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity, their knowledge, experience, compliance history, ability to meet their licence conditions, afford immediate access to their sites for inspection and whether they are currently disqualified from making an application;
  • an inspection of the site of the licensable activity by a suitably qualified inspector (and where applicable accompanied by a registered veterinarian);
  • the submission of the inspectors report which will contain information about the operator, details of the premises, records, conditions of the animals, the risk rating score, compliance details and a statement on whether licence conditions will be met;
  • the payment of the appropriate fees

Will tacit consent apply


Your licence will only be issued to you when all the necessary inspections/checks have been carried out and the premises meet the required standards.

The licence may also list additional site specific conditions.

It is a criminal offence to trade without the relevant licence.

When will a decision be made?

Please allow up to 10 weeks between submission of your full application and your intended trading date. You can expect to be contacted by Animal Health Licensing within 14 days of your inspection with any decision.

What if my application fails?

We will consider the report from the inspector and any comments made by the applicant when deciding whether to issue a licence.

We must refuse to issue a licence if we consider that the applicant cannot meet the licence conditions, the granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare or if the level of accommodation, staffing or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals. A licence cannot be issued to an operator who is disqualified.

How can I challenge your decision?

Please contact us in the first instance by emailing:

You have the right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

Appeal forms can be found on the General Regulatory Chamber website as they deal with all of the appeals.

Licence holder appeal against rating

Please contact us in the first instance by emailing: Your inspecting officer will contact you to discuss your appeal concerns. This will ensure you fully understand the reason for the rating issued.

If after discussion, you still wish to appeal your rating please complete the Appeal against a rating form and send by email, with supporting information. This must be received within 21 days of the date of your licence so do not delay if for any reason you fail to speak to the officer.

It is important that:

  • the appeal is signed and lodged by all licence holders
  • you are specific about the reason or reasons for your rating appeal
  • you provide dated evidence to support the specifics of the appeal

Please note:

  • if the evidence you are relying on was not available at the time of the officer inspection then, this cannot be considered and it is recommended that you apply for a re-rating (see below).
  • It is not possible to determine non-specific appeals. These will be rejected.
  • Once your rating appeal has been received we have 21 days to make a decision. This will involve consideration of paperwork submitted and may include a visit. Where this is required the cost of any revisit will be recharged to the applicant unless the appeal results in a higher rating being issued.

Challenge against our decision is by judicial review.

Licence holder request a re-rating

To request a re-rating inspection please complete the request a re-rating form.

You can send the form with an indication you wish to pay the re-rating fee by card to:

On receipt of your application a member of the team will call you and take a card payment by phone and email you a payment confirmation.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, further information about making a complaint, can be found on the Information for Consumers page.

Trade associations

General enquiries

If you do have a question that is not answered either on our website or in the draft guidance documents then do get in touch. This will also allow us to understand the most common enquiries and share that information out to the wider business community.