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The law governing the licensing of animal welfare establishments is changing from the 1 October 2018.
This has been done in order to bring the licensing regime up to date with local government regulation and improving animal care standards and make it compatible with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Please see the Animal Licensing section for more information on each change.
We are advising anyone wishing to apply for a new Licence to speak to a member of the Animal Welfare team on the details at the bottom of this page, before making an application.
The aim of the Animal Welfare Act is to improve the welfare of animals, impose greater responsibility on their carers, and provide greater investigation and entry powers for police and local authority staff to deal with offences.
Under section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is the duty of any person responsible for an animal to ensure that its welfare needs are met including:
Depending on the type of offence and animals involved, enforcement is shared between the RSPCA, Police, Local Authorities and DEFRA.
The Local Authority, Police or a member of the public can undertake a prosecution which can be started up to 3 years after the offence (as long as its is within 6 months of the evidence becoming available).
Penalties will vary, the most serious offences could incur a fine of up to £20,000 and /or 51 weeks imprisonment.
Powers will be available to impose disqualification orders banning a person from owning or looking after animals and either dealing or transporting animals.
If you know about an animal that is injured or being treated cruelly, please call the RSPCA's national 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999 or, visit the RSPCA website.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.