Animal Activities Licensing

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals )(England) Regulations 2018 takes effect from 1 October 2018. The new legislation reforms animal welfare licensing which includes the boarding of dogs, home boarding of dogs, dog day care, breeding dogs, boarding cats, the sale of animals, hiring horses and keeping or training animals for performance.

Those businesses operating under existing licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry of their current licence. The definitions of existing licensable activities has been amended and in addition to this new activities have been added (listed in the table below). A single licence known as an 'Animal Activity Licence' will be issued, with nationally set licence conditions applied to them.

Animal Activities, Conditions and Guidance Notes

ActivityConditionsGuidance notes

A) Selling animals as pets

Conditions A

Guidance A

B) Providing boarding for cats

Conditions B

Guidance B

C) Providing boarding in kennels for dogs

Conditions C

Guidance C

D) Providing home boarding for dogs

Conditions D

Guidance D

E) Providing day care for dogs

Conditions E

Guidance E

F) Hiring out horses

Conditions F

Guidance F

G) Breeding dogs

Conditions G

Guidance G

H) Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Conditions H

Guidance H

Businesses will be given a star rating ranging from 1 - 5 stars based on the model in the statutory guidance and the results of their inspection. This star rating must be listed on the licence by the issuing Local Authority Office. Safeguards to ensure fairness to businesses, include an appeal procedure and requesting a re-inspection for the purpose of re-rating when improvement has been made. The star rating model also determines the length of the licence from one to three years (except in the case of keeping/training animals for exhibition which must always be granted for three years). The cost is the same regardless of the length of the licence granted, rewarding compliant businesses and driving up standards in the sector.

Full details are available in the Procedural Guidance.

How do I apply and what are the fees?

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affair (DEFRA) has indicated standard application forms will be provided, we are expecting these imminently (Last update 14 September 2018). Fee setting is going through the committee process and further information will be updated once this process has been completed.

Once application forms have been provided and fees have been set we will accept applications.

Dangerous or Wild Animals Licence

A licence may be issued providing the applicant is not disqualified or has been convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

If you are unsure whether the animal(s) you own, or proposing to own, might require you to apply for this licence, a complete listing of such animals can be found in the 'List of Dangerous or Wild Animals' document (see 'Downloads').

If you would like to apply for a licence (which expires annually on 31 December), please download, complete and return the Exotic, Dangerous or Wild Animals Application Form, together with the correct fee and send it to: Licensing Admin, Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1SJ or email

You will also be required to pay the cost of inspections carried out by Mole Valley District Council's authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.

It should be noted that the person who owns or is proposing to own the animal(s) concerned, must be the one who makes the application.

Zoo Licence

You will need a zoo licence if you are exhibiting wild animals to the general public on seven or more days in any 12 consecutive months. There are exemptions for circuses, pet shops and any individual premises where the Secretary of State provides the appropriate consent.

Anyone wishing to apply, transfer or renew a zoo licence should email or call 01306 885001. The animal officer will be able to outline the procedures to be followed and provide appropriate advice. Any new zoos will also require planning approval.

Tacit Consent

Tacit consent does not apply to these licences as it is in the public interest for the authority to process your application before it can be granted.

Last Updated: 24/09/2018

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