Selling animals as pets

Find out about the licensing needed for selling animals as pets, including running a pet shop.

Changes to the law

The law covering the selling of animals as pets changed on 1 October 2018, which means that the way we issue and enforce licences is now different.

If you have an existing licence for a pet shop, it will continue to be valid until the licence expiry date.

If your licence is due to expire by the end of the year, we will be writing to you to ask you to apply to renew your licence under the new regulations. We will explain how to do this. You will need to submit your completed application at least ten weeks before your existing licence expires.

The laws that have changed

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 has replaced the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Pet Animals Act 1951, Breeding of Dogs Act 1973, Riding Establishments Act 1964 and Performing Animals (Regulations) Act 1925.

Star ratings for your business

Under the new regulations, we will give your business a star rating. We will base this rating on the level of risk and the animal welfare standards you adopt.

The star rating determines how long your licence will be for, which can be for one, two or three years.

Please read the pdf icon Defra - Procedural guidance note for local authorities [685kb] to understand more about the new regulations, how we decide on your business' star rating and the length of its licence.

Applying for a new licence

To apply for a new licence, please contact us by using the contact details on this page.

Licence fees

LicenceApplication feeEnforcement feeTotal fee for the licence
Pet shop£240£72£312

There is a non-refundable application fee payable when you apply and an enforcement fee payable once the licence is granted, but before the licence can be issued.  

The application fee is payable when you apply.

The enforcement fee is payable once we grant the licence. We cannot issue the licence until we receive the fee.

If you carry out more than one licensable activity, there is a fee of £50 for each additional activity.

Renewing your licence

We will write to you before your licence is due to expire to explain how to renew your licence.

Renewal fees

LicenceRenewal application feeRenewal enforcement feeTotal fee for the licence renewal
Pet shop£125£72£197

The application fee is payable when you apply.

The enforcement fee is payable once we grant the licence. We cannot issue the licence until we receive the fee.

If you carry out more than one licensable activity, there is a fee of £50 for each additional activity.

Additional fees for these licences

  • Application for re-rating - £75
  • Transfer / variation - £50
  • Additional copy of licence - £30

Guidance notes

Defra has issued a procedural guidance note and specific guidance notes for each animal licensing activity.  We have listed these below:

We are legally required to use the above guidance when making our licensing decisions. This will include their mandatory conditions, which we have to include in your licence. 

The guidance notes contain explanatory guidance for each mandatory condition, which we also must consider when determining your application and assessing compliance with the licence conditions.

 
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