Animal boarding establishments licence

Why do I need a licence?

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, you need a licence from the local authority. The number of dogs and cats that may be accommodated will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

Must I meet a certain criteria before I can apply for a licence?

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. In Scotland an applicant must also not be disqualified from working with, using, driving or riding animals, providing services to animals that would involve taking possession of them, taking possession of an animal to carry out any of the activities listed or taking charge of animals for any other purpose

What legislation applies?

Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963

What conditions are attached to the licence once issued?

Before a licence is granted your premises will be inspected to make sure that certain conditions have been met. In addition to any other licence conditions, you must:

  • keep animals in suitable accommodation (this covers construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness)
  • adequately supply animals with suitable food, drink and bedding material
  • ensure animals are adequately exercised and visited at suitable intervals
  • take all reasonable precautions to prevent and control the spread of diseases, e.g. providing adequate isolation facilities
  • ensure the animals are protected adequately in case of fire or other emergency
  • keep a register containing details of any animals received, date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner (this register must be available for inspection at all times)

You will be re-inspected and will need to renew your licence on a regular basis.

How will my application be determined?

An officer from the council will inspect the premise before a licence is issued and annually before the renewal of the licence.

How much will it cost?

Please see our licensing fees page.

How do I apply?



Do I need to provide further information or evidence?

A plan of the premise and public liability insurance needs to be submitted with your application.

How long will it take to process my application?

We will endeavour to process your application within 20 working days. If acknowledgement of receipt of your application has not been received within this time, please contact us.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period

If my application is refused how do I appeal?

Please contact us in the first instance for details of how to appeal.

How do I tell you about a change that may affect my licence?

You must notify us in writing of any changes to your current licence.

What if I have a complaint or concern?

If you have a complaint or concern about an animal boarding establishment, please contact us.

General advice

If you are in the UK, advice is available from adviceguide

If you are outside the UK, advice if available from the UK European Consumer Centre

What happens if I do not have a licence?

If you do not have a licence or do not comply with any of the conditions, you may be prosecuted, fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to three months, or both.

Can I view a public register on line?

No, as this register is not available for public inspection.