Exit Accessibility View

Animal licensing

Lucy's Law

Changes have been made to the sale of puppies and kittens in the UK. From 6 April 2020, it will become ilegal 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)(Amendment) Regulations 2019 requires any person who carries out the business of selling puppies and kittens as pets to hold a licence. From April 2020 this will be amended so that puppies and kittens (cats under 6 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) Regulations 2018

Changes are being made to improve the effectiveness of existing regulations and to simplify the application and inspection process for businesses as well as maintaining and improving existing animal welfare standards. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Most recently Government introduced a significant change with the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations 2018 and below you will find the Guidance documents to assist businesses in meeting the new requirements set out under those Regulations. Updated Guidance documents were issued on 30 November 2018.

Animal Boarding Activity application forms

Applications can only be made by individuals. 

The link below to the Animal Boarding Activity application form is used for the following – home boarding of dogs, dog day care, boarding dogs in kennels and boarding cats. Other activities have specific application forms and these are to be found by scrolling down the page.

Once completed the application form should be submitted with the application fee and supporting documents and sent to the address on the form. Alternatively you can email the completed application - details are to be found on the form.

Franchises (Arranger) for Animal Boarding

An arranger licence is required by a business or company who arrange the boarding of animals with host families. An application must be made to each Local Authority that the business or company has host facilities located in.

In Wiltshire, the arranger application form needs to be completed and submitted with the relevant fee.

The arranger’s licence (franchise holder) will be “star rated”,  this will be dependent on the lowest rated licensable (in scope) host family linked to the business/company, this will also determine the length of the licence.

If a business has no licensable host families operating in Wiltshire, just out of scope hosts families, then the arranger licence will be granted for a period of 12 months without a star rating.

An arranger’s renewal application, accompanied by any required documentation and renewal fee must be submitted prior to the expiry of the existing licence.

Each Host Family will be required to complete an application form

Host families that are in scope (licensable) will be required to submit an application form “For a Licence to Operate an Animal Boarding Establishment” and go through the due process to be granted a licence.

Licensed host families will be subject to at least one unannounced inspection during the duration of their licence and further inspections/visits should complaints be received.

Host families deemed out of scope (receiving only minimal expenses) and therefore not licensable need to complete and submit the “Host Family Notification” form alongside the required fee and legal declaration.  The fee payable is a one off cost as long as the host family remain out of scope. as these premises are "out of scope" they will not receive a star rating.

Host families out of scope will be inspected to ensure they meet the requirements of the legislation and the company/business advised whether the Wiltshire Council considers the host accommodation meets the conditions.

Host families (out of scope) maybe revisited/inspected if complaints or concerns are received by Wiltshire Council that the host accommodation is failing to meet the conditions set out in the regulations.

All policies and procedures supplied to franchise host families should be site specific and host families fully aware of their content.

Dog breeding establishments

Public Register for Animal Activities

The welfare standards are those set out in the regulations and guidance to the regulations. All businesses should meet the standards to get a licence and therefore receive a 2 or 3 star rating. However, minor failings that do not compromise the welfare of animals, e.g. minor administrative issues, may allow for a licence but with a rating of 1 star.

The guidance to the regulations includes a number of higher standards which businesses may aspire to in order to receive a higher standard rating. These are divided into required and optional. A business needs to meet all the required higher standards and 50% of the optional ones to qualify as meeting higher standards.

The higher standards are specific to the type of activity but in general relate to things like level of qualifications, exercise/enrichment availability and staff ratios. Those achieving higher standards will get a rating of 4 or 5 stars.

Kennels register PDF (215kb)
Cattery register PDF (216kb)

Appeals process for Animal Licence ratings

Variation Application

The new regulations took effect on 1 October 2018.

All previous animal legislation relating to dog boarding, dog breeding, sale of pets, hiring out horses and exhibiting animals will cease from this date,

See Questions and Answers below - these are not exhausted and will be updated on a regular basis.

All licences apart from those issued under the current Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 will continue until their expiration date and under their current conditions. Licences issued for Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 will run until 31 March 2019.


If you are a running a business which makes a profit for animal boarding, breeding, exhibiting animals, horse riding or selling animals, you will require a licence.


Once an application has been submitted to the local council, we will arrange to carry out an inspection of your premises. The inspector will be looking at the welfare of the animals and how this is maintained through the businesses practices. The inspector will ask to see all paperwork setting out the business policies, procedures and staff training and will want to see the animals and their living environment.


It is anticipated that the inspection will take between 1-2hours.


An experienced local authority officer will carry out the inspections. For horse riding and dog breeding the local authority officer will be accompanied by a vet.


A licence to exhibit animals will be granted for 3 years. All other licences will be granted with a licence for 1 to 3 years depending on the star rating awarded after inspection.


The inspecting officer will carry out a risk rating of the business based on compliance history, the applicant’s knowledge of the animals in their care and their ability to demonstrate their practices and staff training. The inspector will be looking at the animals and their living environment giving consideration to the conditions issued by DEFRA. The overall score will determine the star rating and the length of licence.


You can submit a written appeal within 21 days of the rating being issued to the licensing authority and request a re-inspection. Any re-inspection will be at the cost to the applicant. Businesses disputing their star rating are encouraged to discuss this informally with the inspecting officer first so that there is an opportunity to help explain to the business how the rating was worked out.


There is no limit to the number of re-inspections, however there will be a charge for each inspection. You will need to submit the request in writing and detail what actions you have taken to improve the level of compliance or the standard of welfare for the animals since the previous inspection.


No. If there is no evidence provided or the case made by the business is unsubstantiated, the local authority can refuse.


Not necessarily. If standards have fallen since the previous inspection, a lower rating may be given.


If the business disagrees with the outcome of the appeal, they can challenge the local authority’s decision by means of judicial review.


Each dog must be able to have its own designated room. This must be a proper room with its own window. Dogs from the same household will also need to have a room each.


The new legislation stipulates that no more than 4 dogs can be walked by one person at a time for home boarding. If you also have a dog walking business, you will need to walk these dogs at a different time.


Yes. Bedrooms can used, as long as they are not occupied by children under the age of 16. The room must have enough space for the dog to move around freely.


Yes. The applicant will need to consider the safety of both the animals and the children in the house. The applicant will need to provide a written risk assessment.


Under the new legislation dogs cannot be left unattended at any time in a crèche. If you need to leave the property, you must ensure that there is a suitably qualified/experienced member of staff available.


These qualification are currently being developed and will be available to find online shortly.


A dog crèche can run from 7am – 7pm, if you have dogs in your care outside of these hours, you will require a licence for home boarding/kennels.


No not necessarily. There are many factors to take into consideration when rating a business; for instance a new business with no history will initially be considered high risk and therefore unable to attain the highest rating.


Your star rating will appear on your licence. This must be displayed in a prominent place in the premises. The local authority will also have a public register online listing all licenced business and their most recent rating.


We will take your compliance history into consideration when the rating is issued. The highest number of stars will be issued to businesses that comply with the conditions and are able to demonstrate that they fulfil all of the required higher standards plus 50% of the optional higher standards. The level 3 qualification falls under the optional higher standards.


If this provides an income of more than £1000 each year, you will require a licence.


No, anyone breeding only assistance dogs as defined in the Equality Act 2010 will not require a licence.


Share this page

Last updated: 20 September 2019 | Last reviewed: 20 September 2019