Animal licensing general advice

Anyone carrying out the following licensable activities; cat/dog boarding, breeding, exhibiting animals, dog daycare, selling animals or hire of horses will need a licence.

Applications for all animal licences can be made via our online portal.

What happens next

Once an application has been submitted to the council, we will arrange to carry out an inspection of your premises. The inspector will be looking at the welfare of the animals and how this is maintained through business practices. The inspector will ask to see all paperwork setting out the business policies, procedures and staff training and will want to see the animals and their living environment. The inspection will usually take between 2 and 3 hours.

An experienced local authority officer will carry out the inspections. For horse riding and any new applicants for dog breeding, the local authority officer will be accompanied by a vet and veterinary costs will be met by the applicant.

A licence to exhibit animals will be granted for 3 years.

All other licences will be granted with a licence for 1 to 3 years depending on the star rating awarded after inspection.

Star ratings

The star rating is based on the risk rating and the assessment of welfare standards. The inspecting officer will carry out a risk rating of the business based on compliance history, the applicant's knowledge of the animals in their care and their ability to demonstrate their practices and staff training. The inspector will be looking at the animals and their living environment giving consideration to the guidance issued by DEFRA. Operators need to meet minimum welfare standards to be granted a licence unless the failings are minor and do not impact adversely on animal welfare.  Each type of animal activity also has a set of higher standards that operators can achieve to increase the overall star rating.  The overall score will determine the star rating and the length of the licence.

There are many factors to take into consideration when rating a business. For instance, a new business with no history will initially be considered high risk and therefore unable to attain the highest rating.

A business compliance history will be taken into consideration when the rating is issued. The highest number of stars will be issued to businesses that comply with the conditions and are able to demonstrate that they fulfil all of the required higher standards plus 50% of the optional higher standards. The level 3 qualification falls under the optional higher standards.

A star rating will appear on the licence. This must be displayed in a prominent place on the premises.

Renewal of animal licenses

We will let you know in plenty of time when your current Animal licence is due to expire to allow you to complete our online renewal application. 

If you allow your licence to expire without submitting a valid renewal application you will be required to submit a brand new application.