Changes to animal licensing
Last updated 21 October 2022
From 1 October 2018 animal licensing is changing.
You'll need a licence if you:
- sell animals as pets
- provide for, or arrange for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including boarding in kennels, catteries, home boarding for dogs and day care for dogs)
- hire out horses whether for riding lessons or not
- breed 3 or more litters of dogs a year
- breed, keep or train animals for exhibition including for performance
You’ll be able to run your business on your existing licence under the old legislation until it’s expiry date.
If you have an existing licence, we’ll contact you to invite you to apply for a licence under the new regulations. You can find our more in DEFRA's Procedural Guidance for Animal Activity Licensing 2018 (PDF 689Kb).
New – star rating
You’ll be given a star rating, ranging from 1 to 5 which will be listed on the licence.
Safeguards will include an appeal procedure and a way to request a re-inspection when you have made any improvements.
The star rating determines the length of the licence from 1 to 3 years (except keeping/training animals for exhibition which must be granted for 3 years).
New – more flexibility
- licences can be issued for 1, 2 or 3 years
- protection is provided for licences in the event of the death of the licence holder
- licences can be varied, suspended or revoked
- there is an appeals process for both changes to the licence and the performance rating
If you have any questions or want to discuss a new licence application, email the Licensing team firstname.lastname@example.org.