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Animal licence

You need to apply for an animal licence if you want to run a business that carries out any of the following activities:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing boarding for cats or dogs
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Before you apply

Warning You cannot apply for an animal licence if you have been disqualified, or have had an animal licence revoked

You need to read and understand the requirements set out on this page before you submit an application for an animal licence. We cannot proceed with your application unless you give us all the information we need.

You should also read the general and the relevant specific conditions attached to your licence. You can find these conditions on GOV.UK

Supporting documentation

As part of your application you must supply:

  • copies of relevant qualifications
  • a scale plan of the internal and external areas of the premises (please see guidance below)
  • copies of Public Liability Insurance or evidence of insurance
Read our guidance on acceptable plans

All plans that are submitted in support of your application must be of a certain standard.

We require all plans to include the following:

  • a clearly marked boundary of the area applied for (internal and external)
  • an accurate representation of the internal spaces (all floors)
  • accurate measurements showing the sizes of all areas

All plans should be produced in such a way as to enable clear identification of the proposed premises and all areas used.

Plans that are sketched or drawn freehand will not be accepted.

Warning Plans that do not comply with all of the above will be invalid. Your application will not be processed until a valid plan is submitted.

Applicants for dog breeding and hiring out horses must also pay for and obtain a vet’s inspection report. We will contact you to arrange this on receipt of your application.

Details of vets who can carry out inspections for dog breeding or equine licences

Dog breeding licences only

Shepton Vets

Equine licences only

B&W Equine Vets

Bescoby Equine Vets

Applicants for selling animals as pets must also provide a stocklist.

Fees and prices

Select a topic below to view the fees and charges for animal licences.

New animal licence fees

If you do not currently have an animal licence, you must pay both the new application fee and the maintenance fee.

We will only issue a licence once you have paid both fees.

New application fees
Fees Price
New application fee (payable at time of application) £673
Maintenance fee (payable before a licence is issued) £162

Renewal fees

If you are renewing an existing animal licence, you must pay both the renewal fee and the maintenance fee.

We will only issue a licence once you have paid both fees.

Renewal fees
Fees Price
Renewal application fee (payable at time of renewal) £436
Maintenance fee (payable before a licence is issued) £162

Other fees

Fees for inspections or licence variations are shown in the following table.

Other fees
Fees Price
Variation fee £136

Licence duration

We will usually grant an animal licence for 1, 2 or 3 years, based on our assessment of the following criteria set by DEFRA:

  • the risk of an operator breaching any licence conditions
  • the impact on animal welfare of any such breaches
  • whether the operator is already meeting higher standards of animal welfare than are required by the licence conditions

You can read the scoring system we use to determine the star rating and length of licence on GOV.UK

How to apply

When you are sure you are able to provide all the information we require, submit an application using our online form.

Apply for an animal licence


For licence renewals, we will contact you directly. We will contact you approximately three months before your licence is due to expire. You must submit a renewal application no later than 10 weeks before the expiry date.

Further information

Select a topic below to find out more about animal licences.

The application process

Before approving your application, we must first consult with the following bodies:

  • Avon Fire and Rescue
  • B&NES Environmental Protection
  • B&NES Trading Standards

They will advise us within 14 days whether they have any objections to your licence being granted. We will advise you if we receive any such objections.

We will also arrange for an Animal Welfare Officer to visit you to inspect the premises.

We will consider guidance from DEFRA when evaluating your application.

Processing time

If we do not receive any objections within 14 days of your application, we will contact you to confirm if your application is successful.

Tacit consent applies. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us within 60 days.


To appeal against a decision, email Licensing Services at:

If you are refused a licence you can also appeal to Bath Magistrates’ Court.

Relevant legislation

Animal Welfare Act 2006

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

We have made the information on these web pages as comprehensive as possible.  However, in attempting to simplify the law, certain requirements have been omitted. Full details of what you must do are in the relevant legislation.

Customer complaints

If you think a business that is breaking the terms of their animal licence or operating without one, please complete our online complaints form