Animal Welfare Licences
The Government published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to improve and maintain animal welfare standards.
The regulations put in place a licensing regime to control the following licensable activities:
- Selling animals as pets
- Providing day care for dogs
- Providing boarding for cats
- Providing boarding in kennels for dogs
- Providing home boarding for dogs
- Hiring out horses
- Breeding dogs
- Keeping or training animals for exhibitions
Apply for Animal Welfare Licence
Whilst the statutory guidance that Licensing Authorities are required to follow, and the welfare standards applicable to licence holders, are both prescriptive, there are numerous areas open to individual authorities to interpret. As such, the Council has recently introduced an Animal Licensing Policy which introduces new requirements including the need for a basic disclosure for applicants.
View the guidance notes for the above on the Canine and Feline Sector Group website.
Fit and Proper Test
Any individual who carries on a licensable activity will be designated as the ‘operator’ of the business and can apply for a licence, providing they are a ‘fit and proper’ person and not already disqualified from holding a licence in accordance with the Regulations.
In line with the above Policy the Council will consider a ‘fit and proper person’ to be an individual who can demonstrate upon application that they have:
- the right to work in the UK;
- no relevant convictions;
- not been disqualified from holding a licence;
- the knowledge, experience, compliance history and ability to give reasonable confidence that they can comply with licence conditions and safeguard the welfare of animals in their care;
- made suitable management and training arrangements to ensure the safety and welfare of any staff and/or members of the public who may be affected by the licensed activity
This does not limit the scope of the fitness and propriety assessment and the Council may take into account other matters considered relevant to the licensing process.
Disclosure and Barring Service Check
To ensure that an individual has not been disqualified from holding a licence the Council will require new applicants to provide a basic disclosure certificate (disclosure and barring service check) alongside their application. The disclosure and barring service certificate must be marked with an issue date no more than three calendar months before the date of application.
Existing Licence holders will be required to provide a basic disclosure certificate as part of their renewal application from 1 April 2023 onwards. As with new applicants the disclosure and barring service certificate must be dated no more than three calendar months before the date of application.
A basic disclosure will be required of all those applicants listed in the application (individuals, partners, and directors).
Disclosure and barring service checks must show that the applicant (or applicants) are not disqualified from holding a licence, and/or hold no relevant convictions which may affect whether they are a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold a licence.
See the Animal Licensing Policy which for more information on relevance of convictions.
Use the GOV.UK service to apply for a basic disclosure and barring check. Please note, that there is an £18 application fee for this process (payable to the disclosure and barring service and not the Council).
The conditions which will be attached to licences are in schedules three to seven of the regulations and will depend on the activities.
All premises for which the Council receive licence application will require an inspection. Inspections will also be undertaken in line with the star rating system applied.
Riding establishments will be required to have all horses annually inspected by an inspector and an approved vet appointed by the Council.
Dog breeders will have to have their premises inspected when applying for a new licence by an inspector and an approved vet appointed by the Council.
The fees (13KB) for the licences under the new regulations have now been approved.
A report (6.11MB) was submitted to full council outlining how the new activities involving animal fees were calculated (2.25MB).
Star rating and licence periods
One generic, multi-activity licence may be issued. Licences can be issued for one, two or three years, depending on the star rating of the premises.
One star premises will be issued with licences for one year. They will be inspected once on application and will receive at least one unannounced inspection within a twelve month period
Five star premises may be issued with licences for up to three years. They will receive at least one unannounced inspection within a 36 month period.
All new applicants will only be issued a licence for one year, due to a lack of history.
Star rating appeal process - Lodging an appeal
If you are unhappy with the star rating given to your business you have 21 days from the date the star rating is awarded to lodge an appeal (this includes weekends and bank holidays).
This process is relevant where you wish to dispute the star rating given as not reflecting the animal welfare standards and risk level of your business at the time of the inspection.
Where you wish to lodge an appeal against the star rating given to your business, it is advisable, in the first instance, to discuss this with the Inspecting Officer. This does not form part of the appeals process but provides the opportunity to discuss how the rating was worked out.
If you remain unhappy, or prior to this discussion, you should submit your appeal in writing (including by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) to the Public Protection Manager/Head of Housing, Planning and Health. Appeals process (pdf 60KB)
Changes have been made to the Animal Licensable Activities Legislation for the sale of puppies and kittens in England.
From 6 April 2020, it became illegal to sell puppies and kittens from pet shops and other commercial third party dealers. Since October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 required any person who carries out the business of selling puppies and kittens as pets to hold a licence. From 6 April 2020 this was amended so that puppies and kittens (cats under six months old) may only be sold as pets if they have been bred by the licence holder.
The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.
Advertising of dogs for sale
There are also rules to follow when advertising dogs for sale. Any adverts must include the licence holder’s name and licence number and these must be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used to promote the licence holder’s dog breeding activities.
There is a power to revoke and suspend licences.
There are no provisions for licence transfer.