Animal Welfare Licences

Find out about licensing for activities involving animals like breeding, selling, boarding or training animals for exhibitions.

Do I need an Animal Welfare Licence?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 replaces a number of laws that previously covered the licensing of animals. It also widens the range of activities that will now require a licence.

Licensable activities include:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing day care for dogs
  • Providing boarding in kennels for dogs
  • Providing home boarding for dogs
  • Providing boarding for cats
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibitions

How can I apply?

You can apply for a new licence or a renewal by completing an application form and sending it to us at

The application form can be downloaded below:

Will you inspect my premises?

Once an application is made we will need to visit your premises to carry out an inspection and a risk rating for the activity. The risk rating is used to decide on the length of the licence.

A licence will last for either 1, 2 or 3 years. During inspection we will consider two main aspects:

  1. The welfare standards observed, which are based upon assessment of a range of criteria, including records; staffing; the environment; diet, and the protection of the animals from pain and suffering. The inspection findings will decide whether there are 'minor failings', 'minimum standards' are achieved or 'higher standards' have been met.
  2. The risk, which is largely based on the history of compliance of the business, and also upon the licence holder's appreciation of hazards and risks. You will be given either a 'low' or 'higher' risk rating following the assessment.

You can read the inspection guidance for each activity using the links below:

Before one of our officers visits you to carry out your inspection you may want to use the forms to check you meet all the required conditions, and have all the paperwork we require to issue your licence.

If an inspector does not feel confident that you are able to meet the minimum standards then your licence will not be granted.

The standard conditions and optional standards can be found in the statutory guidance for each licensable activity.

How much does it cost?

For fees please see the Licensing Fees page.

If a vet inspection is required, you will be charged the actual cost of the vet inspection fee.

I want to complain about a licensed premises, or I am concerned that someone doesn't have a licence.

If you are concerned about the activity at a licensed premises or you believe that a licensable activity is happening on an unlicensed premises in the area, please email with as much detail as you are able to provide.

Your complaint will be treated in confidence.

Animal Licence Register

Animal Welfare Licence Register