Animal activity licence
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New laws relating to animal activity licensing came into force on 1st October 2018.
The animal activity licence has new nationally set conditions and applies to:
- animal boarding businesses (including dog home boarders, dog day carers and those who arrange home boarding of dogs)
- dog breeders
- pet shops (including residential premises)
- riding establishments
- people that keep or train animals for exhibitions.
Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the current conditions. They will be inspected and assessed before being given a star rating and a licence granted.
All premises will be inspected by an animal welfare officer before the licence is granted.
Some types of application will also require a visit by a vet. The person applying for the licence has to pay for the vet to attend the inspection.
The animal welfare officer will be looking to make sure the person applying for the licence has the following:
- specialist knowledge of the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animal's mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environment enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role
- comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities
- an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the animal welfare officer to examine
- training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them and clear evidence of good supervision of staff
The premises will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.
Assessing the application and awarding of stars
Based on the inspection information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars.
Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars. Higher risk premises can be awarded up to four stars.
If the person applying for the licence is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address the highlighted issues and then ask for a re-inspection. A fee must be paid for re-inspection.
Please see the Procedural guidance for animal activity licensing as to how we will assess your application.
A risk based system will be used when issuing animal activities licences under the regulations, with the exception of keeping or training animals for exhibition.
The system will be used to determine the length of the licence and the star rating award.
The purpose of using this system is to ensure consistency in implementation and operation of licensing schemes within local authorities. It ensures that customers can be confident that the star rating applied to the activity is an accurate reflection of both their risk level and the animal welfare standards they adopt.
Businesses will be star rated between 1 and 5 based on the scoring matrix and the results of the inspection. In order to calculate the length of the licence and associated star rating the following questions will be asked:
- Does the business meet the minimum standards?
- Does the business meet the higher standards?
- Is the business high or low risk?
A score of 17 or less is required for a business to be classed as low risk.
A score of 18 or more will mean the business will be high risk.
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.
You must complete the appropriate application form and pay the fees. Our licensing payments page explains what fees apply and how to pay them.
If you have paid by debit/credit card or by bacs before you have submitted your application form then you must include a copy of your receipt with the application. Any application received without the payment will not be processed.
When a completed application and payment has been received, we will examine the information provided. Then the Animal Welfare Officer will contact you to arrange an inspection.
Each application form has guidance notes which contain:
- further information on what will be required to meet the conditions
- advice on what steps you can take to possibly achieve a higher star rating.
Application forms and guidance
- Application form for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition
- Guidance notes and conditions for the Exhibition of Animals
- Application form for a licence to board cats or dogs and dog day care
- Guidance notes and conditions for Boarding Cats
- Guidance notes and conditions for Home Boarding Dogs
- Guidance notes and conditions for Dog Boarding in Kennels
- Guidance notes and conditions for Dog Day Care
- Application form for a licence to hire out horses
- Guidance notes and conditions for Hiring out Horses
- Application form for a licence to sell animals as pets
- Guidance notes and conditions for Selling Animals as Pets
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