Animal activity licensing

New laws relating to Animal Activity Licensing are now in force. Animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and the day care of dogs); dog breeders; pet shops; riding establishments and people that keep or train animals for exhibitions will now be covered under a single type of licence (known as an 'animal activity licence').

Businesses undertaking any of these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the licence is granted.

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until their licence expires. We will be sending out letters containing information on how to apply for the new-style licences in early October 2018.

The new guidance notes and licence conditions for each of the animal activities covered can be found on the website.


The current fees for the above licenses have been set and can viewed from our Licence fees webpage.

How to apply

Download the relevant form from the downloads section.


Once a local authority receives an application for the grant or renewal of a licence it must do all of the following:

  • Consider whether the conduct displayed by the applicant indicates that they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity and meet their licence conditions.
  • Inspect the site of the licensable activity and assess if it’s likely to meet the licence conditions. You’ll need to have a suitably qualified inspector present (as well as a veterinarian for the initial inspection of a dog breeding establishment, or a listed veterinarian for inspections of horse riding establishments). The inspector must prepare a report, in accordance with the requirements of regulation 10, to be submitted to the local authority following their inspection.
  • The inspector’s report will contain information about the operator, any relevant premises, any relevant records, the condition of any animals and any other relevant matter and state whether or not the inspector considers that the licence conditions will be met.
  • Ensure that the appropriate fees have been paid, these can include fees for the consideration of the application, the reasonable anticipated costs of consideration of a licence holder’s compliance with these Regulations, the reasonable anticipated costs of enforcement in relation to any licensable activity of an unlicensed operator and any fees in relation to the provision of information to the secretary of state.

Star Ratings

The new regime introduces a scoring matrix which is directly related to the length of the licence. The star rating model takes into account both the animal welfare standards adopted by the business as well as their level of risk. Businesses can attain a rating ranging from 1 to 5 stars based on the following model:

embed | Scoring Matrix (Animal licensing)
Scoring matrix for Animal activity licensing
Welfare Standards
Minor Failings
(existing business that are failing to meet minimum standards)
Minimum Standards
(as laid down in the schedules and guidance)
Higher Standards
(as laid own in the guidance)
Risk Low Risk 1 Star
1 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period
3 Star
2 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 24 month period
5 Star
3 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 36 month period
Higher Risk 1 Star
1 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period
2 Star
1 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 12 month period
4 Star
2 year licence
Minimum 1 unannounced visit within 24 month period
text | Animal activity licensing

Premises with lower star ratings

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses are likely to be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.

If customers have any concerns, please contact the Public Protection Team prior to making a purchase or making booking arrangements.