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Animal Activities Licensing

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Changes to licensing regulations

The Government has recently published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following licensable activities:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The regulations came into effect on 1 October 2018 and introduce a new licensing regime to replace the licensing and registration regimes previously in place under the following legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999  
  • Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

Guidance from DEFRA

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published procedural guidance for local authorities in relation to the new regulations, along with guidance notes on the conditions that will apply to licences issued to authorise the different licensable activities. The procedural and other guidance notes, together with the relevant licence application forms, can be viewed and downloaded below.

Licence fees

Apply for a licence

A standard applicant form must accompany every licence application

Breeding dogs

  • Apply for a licence to breed dogs
  • Guidance notes for conditions for breeding dogs
  • Revocation of licence: On Tuesday 25 February 2020 the city council’s licensing regulatory committee revoked a dog breeding licence held by Daniel and Hollie Brockhill of 16 Robin Crescent Heysham. Animal activity licences, which are granted under The Animal Welfare (Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, can be revoked where licence conditions are not being complied with, where there has been a breach of regulations, where information supplied by the licence holder is false or misleading, or where it is necessary to protect the welfare of an animal. In this case the committee was satisfied on all four grounds. The licence was revoked with immediate effect, however Mr and Mrs Brockhill have a right of appeal within 28 days.

Commercial boarding (in kennels) of dogs

Home boarding of dogs

Day care for dogs

Commercial boarding of cats

Selling animals as pets

Hiring out horses

Exhibition of animals

Procedural guidance

Frequently asked questions


Last updated: 16 April 2024

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