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Contact the Environmental Response Team

Animal licensing

Animal welfare

The council has duties under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for the welfare of animals and are responsible for licensing all establishments involved in animal activities. These licenses are changing on the 1 October 2018.

Under separate legislation, we are also responsible for licensing zoos, as well as people who keep dangerous wild animals.

We aim to promote the well-being of animals by ensuring that licensed premises comply with the conditions of their licence set out by DEFRA and by enforcing legislation designed to protect animals from harm.

This is carried out by officers of the Environmental Response Team. They inspect new applicants and licensed establishments with an independent veterinary surgeon and respond to complaints about premises where animals are kept. They also provide advice and guidance to businesses and members of the public about animal welfare.

Other information can be found on the RSPCA and Pet Care Trust websites.

For more information on animal licences, email our animal licensing tream at or call 01795 417850.


You'll need a licence to sell animals, board cats and dogs, breed dogs, hire horses, train or exhibit animals.

To apply for an animal license, you'll need to download and complete a form and pay a fee. There are two parts to the fee:

For more information on the risk rating, you can read what happens after you apply.

Paying the fee

To pay part A of your licence fee, you can call our Customer service team on 01795 417850.

After you apply

After you’ve applied for a licence, you’ll receive an inspection from one of our licensing officers and an independent veterinary surgeon. We’ll assess the premises to make sure it’s maintaining the standards that are expected, including whether the animals are being kept in appropriate conditions. 

The licensing officer will rate the premises based on the level of risk. Premises that have no documented history of compliance will receive a higher risk rating automatically. Your risk rating will help to determine how long your licence will last:

We'll only issue a 3 year licence for individuals who keep or train animals for exhibition.

Once you've completed your application and received your licence, you'll receive a visit from a vet each year to inspect the health of the animals in your care. The vet will charge their hourly rate for this visit, including travel time.

For more information, you can download our guidance notes and FAQ (PDF 254kb).

Existing licences

If you've already got an animal licence, under the previous legislation, you'll need to apply for a new one when it expires. You’ll need to complete a new application at least 10 weeks before your existing licence expires.

For more advice, you can contact the customer service team by email at


Your licence will last for either one, two or three years, depending on the premises’ risk rating and level of compliance, with premises representing low risk and identified as maintain high standards, receiving upto a five star rating. 

You’ll need to complete a new application at least 10 weeks before your existing licence expires. 

For more information, you can download our guidance notes and FAQ (PDF 254kb).

Hiring horses

Apply for a licence to hire horses.

Boarding animals

Apply for a licence to board animals.

Breeding dogs

Apply for a licence to breed dogs.

Selling animals

Apply for a licence to sell animals.

Keeping and training animals for exhibition

Apply for a licence to keep and train animals for exhibition.
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