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Animal Welfare Regulations 2018

Animal Licensing Laws

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 have been in place for a number of years now. The effect of these relatively new regulations has been to replace a number of existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new single licensing regime to control the following licensable activities:

  • selling animals as pets
  • providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • hiring out horses
  • breeding dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition.

Further guidance and information can be found on the LGAWG voluntary group website.

Am I eligible?

The licence holder must be a named person who is not disqualified from holding a licence in accordance with the requirements of regulation 11 (Persons who may not apply for a licence). A person cannot apply for a licence if they have had a licence revoked under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 (these regulations) or is disqualified under the repealed legislation and those Acts and Regulations detailed in Schedule 8 of the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018.

Application for a licence

You can apply by downloading the applicable form below. An online version will be available in the near future. Read about our Privacy policy.

Email the completed form to and you will be contacted to make payment by credit or debit card to complete your application.

Or take your completed application form and fee to the Customer Service Centre, Fountain Court, Gordon Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5LN.


For information about fees, please visit the fees and charges section.

Please note:

  1. Fees are the same for each activity included on a licence, irrelevant of how long the licence lasts (one to three years) as the cost to the Council is expected to be very similar.
  2. Where vets fees are not shown, these will be invoiced after the inspection and will be specific to the application.

Determination of the duration of a licence star rating

Prior to a licence being granted, the premises at which the chosen activity is to take place requires an inspection by the Council’s Animal Welfare Inspector, (In the case of dog breeders and riding establishments together with a qualified veterinarian), who will also be looking to make sure the applicant has the correct knowledge, understanding and measures in place for the welfare of the animals. The Inspector will follow the Statutory Guidance  issued by the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and using the following table determine the duration of the licence; this being one, two or three years, together with a “Star Rating” of one to five (for businesses only). It should be noted that a new applicants who have no compliance history with a local authority or UKAS must be automatically rated as High Risk if their licence application is successful. This will mean a one year or two year licence licence initially for new applicants that this applies to. When deciding on the length of a licence the council must have regard to the welfare standards and if the minimum standards are not met a licence cannot be granted. 

Star rating for animal welfare licensing
Risk Minor Failings Minimum Standards Higher Standards
Low Risk 1 Star = 1 Year Licence 3 Star = 2 Year Licence 5 Star = 3 Year Licence
High Risk 1 Star = 1 Year Licence 2 Star = 1 Year Licence 4 Star = 2 Year Licence


No new business can be allocated a 1 star / 1 year licence as they must meet all the minimum standards. Where an applicant disagrees with the businesses Star Rating, they may appeal to the Council in writing to:

The Licensing Section at

Guidance from DEFRA

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has now published procedural guidance for local authorities in relation to the new regulations, along with guidance notes on the conditions that will apply to licences issued to authorise the different licensable activities.

The new licence conditions and guidance notes for each of the animal activities covered are set out below:

Useful information

The following codes of practice are available from the Canine and Feline Sector Group:

  • Code of practice for the welfare of dogs
  • Code of practice for the welfare of cats.



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