Animal licensing

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 replaced several other pieces of animal legislation and brought in a star rating system to assess licensees.

An animal welfare licence is required for the following:

  • Providing boarding for cats
  • Providing boarding in kennels for dogs
  • Providing home boarding for dogs
  • Providing day care for dogs
  • Breeding dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition
  • Selling animals as pets
The conditions which licensees must now meet are provided below, as are the application forms and a bit more information.

The guidance notes and licence conditions for each of the animal activities  covered can be viewed using the following links:

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, this will 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 holders 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. Licences will not be issued until all fees have been paid (inc. Vet fee where necessary)

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.

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.


West Lindsey District Council
Guildhall, Marshall's Yard
DN21 2NA