Toggle menu

Animal welfare licensing


If you are seeking advice in relation to owning animals, or operating a business dealing with animals, during the current Coronavirus pandemic we have a dedicated page containing guidance.

View our Covid-19 advice for people who own animals or operate a business dealing with animals

Licensable activities

Anyone carrying out the following licensable activities will require a licence:

  1. Selling animals as pets
  2. Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  3. Hiring out horses
  4. Breeding dogs
  5. Keeping or training animals for exhibition
  6. Keeping a dangerous wild animal
  7. Keeping a Zoo

Animal Activities Licences

Any person or business operating any of the activities listed from 1 through to 5 above will need to apply for a licence, and will need to comply with the legislation and the conditions set by the legislation. 

For any person or business operating activities 6 or 7 listed above, more information about the licensing requirements for these activities can be found on our dedicated web pages - Dangerous Wild Animal Licence and Zoo Licence.

We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before an application can be determined.

A ratings system has also been introduced where you will be given a rating dependent on a specified criteria following your inspection.

Defra have published guidance documents for each licensable activity to assist businesses in meeting the new requirements set out under those Regulations.

Premises in Preston with an Animal Activities Licence

You can view the details of all premises licensed for Animal Activities in Preston through our Public Register page.

View premises licenced for animal activities in Preston

How do I apply for a licence?

To apply for any of the activities listed from 1 through to 5 above please complete the following online form and pay the relevant fees:

Apply for or Renew an Animal Activities Licence

The application fee Part A is payment to cover the Councils costs in determining your application. This fee is strictly non-refundable even if you are refused a licence or you withdraw your application.

Following your inspection you will be asked to pay the Part B fee (on-going enforcement costs) before your Licence is granted.

How much is an Animal Welfare licence?

Please find below the fees and charges for animal licences for the period of 1 October 2018 to 31 March 2020. Vet fee costs are charged in addition to the fees shown (where applicable).

Licence Activity


Application Fee

Part A

Grant Fee

Part B

Total Fee
Boarding in Kennels£278£92£370
Boarding in Catteries£278£92£370
Day Care for Dogs£278£92£370
Home Boarding£173£67£240
Hiring out Horses£328

£199 for 1 year licence

£398 for 2 year licence

£597 for 3 year licence

£527 for 1 year licence

£726 for 2 year licence

£925 for 3 year licence

Breeding of Dogs£198£67£265
Selling Animals as Pets£198£67£265

Exhibition of Animals (Granted every 3 years)

£198not applicable£198

Additional Licences and Prices

Licence Activity


Application Fee

Part A

Grant Fee

Part B

Total Fee
Combination of above activities at the same premisesThe highest activity fee + £53 per hour inspection fee for each additional activity.Equal to the highest activity feeEqual to the highest activity fee + additional inspection time.
Minor variation to licence (administrative only)£27not applicable£27
Major variation to licence (where an inspection visit is necessary)£92not applicable£92
Re-evaluation of star rating£120not applicable£120

Planning Permission

Ensure that you have, or do not need, planning permission for your activity.

If you are required to undertake construction work to house your animals then it is likely that you will need planning permission.

Most domestic properties have planning permission for residential purposes i.e. you have a home which is intended for people to live in.

Having a dog is regarded as incidental to your use of the home. However, if you have so many dogs that it is regarded that the nature of your home has changed to being a home for dogs rather than people, then the Council may require you to apply for planning permission for change of use.

There is no statutory maximum number of dogs that you may have, as it will depend on the size of your home and the size of the dogs, but the Planning Department use 6 dogs as their 'rule of thumb' maximum. However, this should not be regarded as the most you may have, as in your particular circumstances, a smaller number may be appropriate.

If you apply for change of use, there is no guarantee that it will be granted.

Failure to have the correct planning permissions in place at the time of application is likely to lead to your application being refused on the grounds that the Inspector cannot have confidence that you are able to comply with the licence conditions in the future.

You should contact the Planning Department on 01772 906912 or by e-mail


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted.

The inspector will be checking the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animal's mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment.
  • The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.
  • comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.  An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.
  • training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

Based on the information, we will assess the risk rating and award stars.

Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection.

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premises to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating.

New businesses will be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.

Some older premises cannot attain a five star rating due to the way they were originally designed.

What happens if my Licence application is refused?

The Council must refuse to issue a licence if it considers that the applicant cannot meet the licence conditions.

The granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare or if the level of accommodation, staffing or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals. A licence cannot be issued to an operator who is disqualified.

The applicant will have the right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

More information can be found in the Procedural guidance notes for local authorities.

What can I do if I disagree with my star rating?

Initially we would encourage you to speak to the Inspecting Officer.

If you are still not satisfied you can make a written appeal to the Council within 21 days of the Licence being issued.

In the first instance the appeal will be considered by a Manager within the Environmental Health Department.

If you are still not satisfied following the appeal you may have the matter referred for Judicial Review.

More information can be found in the Procedural guidance notes for local authorities.

Following making improvements can I apply for a re-evaluation of my star rating?

Yes, this involves a re-inspection and a fee is payable.

More information can be found in the Procedural guidance notes for local authorities.

What Conditions will be attached to a licence?

The regulations prescribe general licence conditions contained in Schedule 2 of the regulations that will be attached to all licences, and specific licence conditions contained in Schedules 3 - 7 of the regulations that will apply to individual licences depending on the licensable activities.

Selling Animals as Pets

You need a licence if you sell animals as pets in the course of a business.

This includes the import, distribution and sale of animals by a business. It applies to domestic premises and tradition pet shops where animals are available for purchase.

Animal boarding

You need a licence if you provide or arrange for the provision of accommodation for other people's cats or dogs in the course of a business. This includes:

  • Providing boarding for cats, for example in a cattery;
  • Providing boarding for dogs in dog kennels;
  • Providing home boarding for dogs;
  • Providing day care for dogs;
  • Making arrangements to board dogs with a host family.

Hiring out horses

You need a licence if you hire out horses in the course of a business for either or both of the following purposes:

  • Riding
  • Instruction in riding

Horse includes an ass, mule or hinny.

The Local Authority is required to appoint a Vet to inspect the premises where the activity is being carried out every 12 months.

Breeding dogs

You need a licence for either or both of the following:

  • Breeding 3 or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period
  • Breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs

The Local Authority is required to appoint a Vet to inspect the premises on receipt of the initial application.

The Kennel Club, British Dog Breeders and Wikipedia provide additional information on breeding dogs.

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

You need a licence for keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business, for educational or entertainment purposes to any audience attending in person, or by recording of visual images of them by any form of technology that enables the display of such images.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email