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Animal licences

We look after the licensing of animal premises in the district and must ensure the welfare of the animals. 

This includes businesses and premises such as: 

  • Pet shops
  • boarding kennels and catteries
  • home boarding of dogs
  • doggy day care
  • dog breeding
  • exhibitions of animals
  • riding establishments. 

Anyone making financial gain, taking commission or charging a fee for these activities will need a licence. Whether or not they charge or make financial gains anyone keeping a dangerous wild animal or running a zoo will also need a licence. 

Inspection of properties

As part of consideration of animal welfare licences we will carry out an expert inspection of the premises and the applicant. This is to make sure: 

  • the applicant has a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of how to provide the best habitat for the animals so that their lives are enriched. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role
  • there are comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities
  • there is 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 us to examine
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

Breeding of dogs and hiring out of horses licence applications will also need a veterinary inspection. 

Star ratings for animal businesses

Based on our inspections we will give the premises a star rating.

Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues and ask for a re-inspection.

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 will be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.