Animal Welfare Licensing Schemes

We currently licence Riding Establishments, Animal Boarding Establishments, Home Boarders, Pet Shops and Dog Breeders.

County Council maintains a registration scheme for Performing Animals. All of these schemes were replaced on 1 October 2018 by one licensing regime under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.  If you hold an existing licence under one of the above regimes, that licence will continue until its expiry, and a registration for Performing Animals will end on 1 April 2019. You will need to reapply under the new scheme in good time to continue to operate. 

Application forms are now available below:

Icon for pdf Application for a Licence to Breed Dogs [229.19KB]
Icon for pdf Application for a Licence to Provide or Arrange for the Provision of Boarding for Cats or Dogs [223.49KB]
Icon for pdf Application for a Licence to Hire Out Horses [269.93KB]
Icon for pdf Application for a Licence to Sell Animals as Pets [245.54KB]
Icon for pdf Application for a Licence to Keep or Train Animals for Exhibition [260.98KB]
Icon for pdf RCVS Riding Establishments Guidance [1.35MB]
Icon for pdf RCVS Inspector Form for Hiring Out Horses [353.71KB]

The fees and charges for this service are available on the Icon for pdf Animal Activities Licensing fees 2018-2019. [224.71KB].

Animal Activities Licensing

The full name of the new licensing scheme is the Licensing of Activities Involving Animals, but it has been shortened to Animal Activities Licensing (AAL) by some.

If you carry out any of the activities listed below, you need to take a look at the detailed guidance provided to check whether your activities are in scope. There have been changes in the law and the new legislation does have wider implications, so please check whether you are in scope.

We are now able to accept applications. All existing licence holders have been contacted to advise them about the new regime. If you have not received any information please contact us immediately.

Under the new regulations the licensable activities are described as below:-

  • Dog boarding
  • Home boarding for dogs
  • Dog day care
  • Dog breeding
  • Cat boarding
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Hiring out horses
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The following link provides guidance to the conditions relating to each activity mentioned above -

The following three links are also helpful:-

(At the moment, this is the full extent of guidance on these changes, so please consider it carefully).

If you believe that you will require licensing under the new regime please contact us at

This licensing scheme has slightly wider scope in some respects, than the previous legislation, so please check the relevant guidance documents to ensure you comply with the new legislation. The new scheme will provide a star based risk rating system and will allow licences to run for up to 3 years, depending on their star rating. The Procedural Notes for Local Authorities explain how the system will work in more detail.

Please note that the licensing schemes for Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoos are unaltered by these changes.

Animal Welfare Licensing 

If you want to keep a dangerous wild animal, before you get the animal you must get a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

This law was put in place to ensure that people who keep dangerous wild animals do not cause any risks to the public and safeguard the welfare of the animals.

There are many types of animals referred to as a dangerous wild animal, for example crocodiles, the big cats, ostriches and many poisonous snakes. For a complete list see the Schedule contained in The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No 2) Order 2007. Animals kept in zoos, pet shops and circuses are not covered by this legislation and need a different sort of licence.

If you are thinking of getting a Dangerous Wild Animal you must apply to us for a licence by completing the Icon for pdf Application for a licence for a Dangerous Wild Animal [146.26KB] and returning this with the correct fee.