Animal boarding establishments licence

Changes to animal licensing laws from 1st October 2018

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 comes into effect on 1st October 2018.  Under the new laws any person carrying out any of the activities listed below will be covered under a single type of licence known as an ‘animal activity licence’. 

  • selling animals as pets
  • boarding cats or dogs
  • providing boarding kennels for dogs
  • providing home boarding (including day care) for dogs
  • hiring out horses
  • breeding dogs dog breeders
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition

The ‘animal activity licences’ have new nationally-set conditions for businesses providing animal-related services. We cannot change these conditions as they are set in the legislation.  Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the license is granted to make sure they can meet them.

To download the legislation, please click on the link below:

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

To download the procedural guidance issued to local authorities, please click on the link below:

Procedural Guidance for Animal Activity Licensing 2018

To download the documents which include the new licence conditions for each of the animal activities covered please click on the link below:

Guidance notes for breeding dogs

Guidance notes for boarding cats

Guidance notes for boarding dogs in kennels

Guidance notes for dog day care

Guidance notes for hiring out horses

Guidance notes for exhibition of animals

Guidance notes for selling animals as pets

Guidance notes on providing home boarding for dogs

The application process

Those businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence.  All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation.  New applicants will need to have their licences in place by 1 October 2018.

Existing licence holders will need to apply for their renewed licences under the new laws 10 weeks before the renewal date. However, at present, we do not have the required application form as this has not yet been published by DEFRA, but we will send out reminders as soon as we can. Once the application has been received, we will examine the information provided, then instruct the Animal Welfare Officer to arrange an inspection.

Please note that licensing arrangements for Dangerous Wild Animals and for Zoos are not altered by the new regulations.  To download the conditions for each of these activities please click on the link below:

Conditions for dangerous wild animals

Conditions for zoos

If you have any questions on this topic please contact us on 01283 508578 or email

This webpage will be updated once the authority has set the fees and an application form has been published.