Apply for or Renew a Licence to Sell Animals as Pets


You need a licence if you sell animals as pets.

You must have a licence for activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • the import, distribution and sale of animals by a business.
  • businesses registered with Companies House.
  • businesses or individuals operating from domestic premises for commercial
  • premises open to members of the public or to other businesses where animals are available for purchase.

You don't need a licence for activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria:

  • the infrequent sale of a small number of surplus offspring/excess stock by a private individual who breeds animals as a hobby, for pleasure, exhibition for prize, or for education, study or scientific advancement. 
  • organised events where people meet to sell surplus animals they have bred, or animals that are surplus to their requirements, whether or not this is open to the public. Selling pet animals as a business from a market or stall is prohibited under Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951.
  • Aquacultural Production Businesses that are authorised under regulation 5(1) of the Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009, and that are inspected by the Fish Health Inspectorate.
  • The non-commercial rehoming of animals, including puppies and kittens.


Lucy’s Law

On the 6 April 2020 the Government introduced landmark new legislation to tackle the low-welfare, high volume supply of puppies and kittens, by banning their commercial third-party sale in England.

‘Lucy’s Law’ means that pets shops and commercial dealers are not allowed to sell puppies and kittens unless they have bred the animal themselves. 


Who can apply 

You must be aged 16 or over. 



We will inspect your premises to check that:

  • the accommodation will be suitable for the animals
  • you’ll provide enough food and drink and visit the animals regularly where necessary
  • you’ll take reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • mammals won’t be sold if they’re too young
  • you have appropriate plans in case of fire or other emergencies



You will be required to provide the following: 

  • a plan of the premises
  • standard operating procedures 
  • an emergency response plan 
  • an infection control procedure 

You need a designated key holder who has access to all animal areas of the business. They must at all times be within reasonable travel distance of the premises and available to attend in an emergency.



You may not get a licence if you’ve been disqualified or had a licence refused, revoked or cancelled for an animal health or welfare offence. For more information see the The Animal Licensing Regulations 2018.


Record keeping

You must keep a register of all the maintained animals or, in the case of fish, all the groups of fish, on the premises. You must keep records for at least three years beginning with the date on which the record was created.


Check if you need planning permission

You may need planning permission for your business.

You’ll probably need planning permission if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a major change to your building, such as building an extension
  • change the use of your building

If your project needs planning permission and you do the work without getting it, you can be served an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes you have made.

To find out if your business premises will need planning permission.



Find out how much your licence will cost.

The licence fees are broken down into two parts:-

Part A covers the cost of deciding the licence application. This includes administration and inspection costs. 

Part B covers the cost of issuing the licence. 

Your licence will not be issued until all fees have been paid, this means the application fee (part a), the grant fee (part b) and veterinary fees (if applicable).


How to apply for or renew a licence

You will need to meet all aspects of the The Animal Licensing Regulations 2018 and The DEFRA guidance for your licence to be granted.   

Please ensure you read the regulations and guidance before you apply.   

Download and fill in the form (DOCX, 127.7 KB)

You can use this form to apply for more than one animal activities licence type.


Pay online

You’ll need your debit or credit card details

Pay online


Send the form to us


Post to: Gloucester City Council, Community Wellbeing Team, PO Box 2017, Pershore, WR10 9BJ

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.


What happens next 

Your application will be assessed and we may contact you for more information. 

You'll be visited by an inspector who will inspect your premises. The inspector will look at the animals and their environment and refer to the DEFRA guidance

A Star Rating  will be issued following inspection. The overall score will determine the star rating and the length of the licence. 

Your licence will be issued when all necessary fees have been paid.