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Animal Welfare Licensing

Ashfield District Council is responsible for the licensing and inspection of Animal Welfare establishments (Pet Shops, Boarding Kennels and Catteries, Home Boarding of Dogs, Doggy Day Care, Dog Breeding, Exhibitions of Animals, and Riding Establishments) across our District.

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018: Animal Activity Licences

From 1st October 2018  new legislation came into force and replaced the previous legislation applicable to:

  • Pet Shops
  • Kennel / Cattery Boarding of Dogs and Cats
  • Home Boarding of Dogs
  • Breeding of Dogs
  • Riding Establishments

and introduced a number of Animal Activity Licences. The new legislation is designed to raise standards and promote consistency in Animal Welfare, and to ensure that those who participate in any of the above Trades "where there is a view to make financial gain; or where a commission or fee is taken" are licensed and monitored, and comply with the General and Specific Conditions attached to each type of Animal Activity Licence.

It is a requirement that all persons involved in the above Trades keep meticulous records in order to either meet with the requirements of the new regulations, or be able to demonstrate that it is not their intention to make financial gain. The onus is on the individual to prove to the Council that they do not require a licence, not for the Council to prove that he/she does need a licence.

Fees & Charges

As a Council we took a decision to issue 1 year licences for all applications made under the new legislation, in order to help our customers come to terms with the new legal requirements placed on them. This also allowed us time to better assess the time and costs incurred by the Council in administering this new function.

From 5th September 2019, we have introduced new fees and charges and these are listed below:

Boarding (Kennels & Catteries) £400.00
Boarding (Day / Home) £330.00
Boarding (Franchise - main business) £280.00
Boarding (Franchise - per additional host premises) £25.00
Selling Animals as Pets £400.00
Exhibition of Animals £400.00
Breeding of Dogs * £400.00 
Hiring out Horses ** £450.00

* A veterinary inspection is required for any new Breeding of Dogs application. The cost of the veterinary inspection is £120.00 + £40.00 travelling & material costs.

**A veterinary inspection is required annually for all Hiring out Horses establishments. The cost of the veterinary inspection is £15.00 per horse + £40.00 travelling & material costs.

Reassessment of Star Rating £105.00
Minor Amendment to Licence £25.00
Major Variation to Licence £175.00
Combined Animal Activities £145.00 + Cost of highest price Animal Activity Licence
Duplicate copy of Licence £15.00

You will note that the licence fee per Animal Activity is the same for a 1 year licence, 2 year licence, and 3 year licence. As such, the higher the "Star Rating" you achieve, the longer the length of the licence granted.

The Application Process

The application forms are provided below, must be completed in full (there are 3 sections), and be submitted with all of the necessary supporting documents.

Once your application has been received, we will examine the information provided, then instruct the Animal Welfare Officer (Environmental Health Officer) to arrange an inspection with you. An Officer will contact you for payment of the appropriate fee following receipt of your full and complete application. 


All premises will be inspected before a licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • 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.
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
  • 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 the Inspector to examine.
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

Based on the information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars. 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.

Please note that any new Breeding of Dogs applications will require a Veterinary Inspection, and all Hiring out Horses applications will require an annual Veterinary Inspection. The Veterinary Inspections are undertaken by the Councils approved Veterinary Practice.

Premises with Lower Star Ratings

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.

Conditions applicable to all Animal Activity Licences

The new legislation requires all applicants and licence holders to comply with what are know as General and Specific Conditions attached to Animal Activity Licence, and you can find these conditions below:

The following Guidance Notes provided by DEFRA will assist individuals and businesses as to their responsibilities under the new Act (updated Guidance Notes issued 1st October 2018):

Further online guidance is available to the Trade to assist individuals and businessess transition to the new requirements and the new law: