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Animal activity licensing

Covid-19 – Due Diligence

Where possible please send all correspondence and applications to community.wellbeing@gloucester.gov.uk. If you send paperwork in by post we may not be able to collect it, therefore, we cannot guarantee when it will be processed.  Gloucester City Council are supporting flexible working to ensure the safety of staff during this time.  If you need to contact us, please phone 01452 396 678.

COVID-19 guidance is changing regularly, and we would advise that you keep yourselves up to date with the latest information.

Gloucester City Council wishes to support businesses, but only in compliance with the latest government guidelines, police information and where safe to do so for yourselves, your customers and the wider public.

We are currently unable to undertake any inspections for new licences or licences due for renewal during the government restrictions.  If you have received a renewal reminder, please submit your application as usual via email.  Your current licence will continue in force until such time as restrictions are relaxed and we are able to carry out an inspection.

Useful links:


Further to the latest government guidelines, boarding of animals should only be continued to support essential key workers (e.g. NHS staff) or vulnerable people unable to care for their animals.

You must implement all reasonable precautions to operate to the latest government guidelines.  Examples of how you could do this may include:

  • Restrict contact with the owner of the animal in line with social distancing guidelines
  • Make sure you clean your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds at a time
  • If you collect and drop off animals maintain social distancing, wash your hands regularly, clean your vehicle between collection/drop off
  • Maintain social distancing when walking dogs, use your own leads that can be cleaned between use and don’t let off the lead.
  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Thoroughly clean areas used by dogs/cats before another animal is introduced

When walking dogs, you should stay local and use open spaces near your home.  Do not travel unnecessarily, adhere to the government’s advice on essential journeys to minimise your time outside of your home.

Lucy’s Law

With effect from 6 April 2020 it will be illegal to sell puppies and kittens from pet shops and other commercial third-party dealers.

 ‘Lucy’s Law’ means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

Animal Welfare (Licensing of activities involving animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Changes to the law relating to Animal Activity Licensing came into force on 1 October 2018.  The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 were made by the Secretary of State under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  The effect of the new licensing regime is 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 new regulations put in place a new licensing regime to control the following licensable activities: 

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

The new regulations repealed and replaced the previous licensing regimes that were in place under the following pieces of legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999
  • Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

Guidance from DEFRA 

The Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published procedural guidance for local authorities and guidance notes on the conditions that apply to each licensable activity.  We recommend that businesses familiarise themselves with these documents that will assist in meeting the new requirements before submitting an application. 

Procedural guidance notes for local authorities

Guidance notes for selling animals as pets

Guidance notes for providing day care for dogs

Guidance notes for providing home boarding for dogs

Guidance notes for providing boarding in kennels for dogs

Guidance notes for providing boarding for cats

Guidance notes for hiring out horses

Guidance notes for breeding dogs

Guidance notes for keeping or training animals for exhibition

The new regulations do not affect the licensing of those who keep dangerous wild animals or operate zoos.  These continue to be licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

To make an application

The application form should be completed and returned with the relevant fee and documents to:

Community Wellbeing, Gloucester City Council, Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 2TG or, send your application to: community.wellbeing@gloucester.gov.uk 

You can download the relevant application form and pre-inspection information sheet that applies to the activity or activities that you are applying for here:

Selling animals as pets

Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs

Hiring out horses

Breeding dogs

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Franchise (arranger) application

Pre-Inspection Information Sheets

Pre-Inspection Information for selling animals as pets

Pre-Inspection Information for providing boarding in kennels for dogs

Pre-Inspection Information for providing boarding for cats

Pre-Inspection Information for providing home boarding for dogs

Pre-Inspection Information for day care for dogs

Pre-Inspection Information for hiring out horses

Pre-Inspection Information for breeding dogs

Pre-Inspection Information for keeping or training animals for exhibition


Animal Activity Licence fees are broken down into two parts:-

  1. An application fee payable at the time of application. This fee covers the costs associated with determining the application to the point that it is ready to issue; and
  2. A grant fee to cover remaining costs which is payable at the point that the application has been determined.

Please note that Licenses will not be issued until such time as all necessary fees have been paid, this means the application fee, the grant fee and veterinary fees (where applicable).

A single Animal Activity Licence will cover all animal activities carried out at the specified premises.

Download our current list of fees.

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.

Download the current Public Register

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Shire Hall