A licence is needed under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 to provide a single licence for several animal activities including animal boarding in your home, day care, and in kennels, breeding dogs, selling animals as pets, hiring out horses for riding, and performing & exhibiting animals.

The purpose of licenses and inspections are to ensure that:

  • Accommodation is suitable in terms of size, construction, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness.
  • Animals are adequately supplied with suitable food, drink, and bedding material.
  • Animals are adequately exercised.
  • All reasonable precautions are taken to prevent and control the spread among animals of infectious or contagious diseases.
  • Appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the animals in case of fire or another emergency.
  • A new star rating has also been introduced to encourage high performing animal establishments, and to help the public identify good premises.

To be eligible for a licence, it is a requirement that you meet the minimum standards set out in the guidance notes.

To apply for an animal boarding, dog breeding, pet vending, hiring horses & riding establishment or performing animals licence, you are required to complete the following three application forms:- 

To apply for Dangerous Wild Animals Licence application then complete the following application form:

To apply for a Zoo Licence, contact Environmental Health: EHTS_enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk 

Completed applications forms shall be returned to EHTS_enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk

On submission of your application forms you are required to pay the licence fee indicated on the application form. Your premises will be inspected by an Animal Welfare Officer.

In the case of new dog breeding premises, riding establishments and any enforcement actions an inspection is also required by a Veterinary Officer which will incur additional charges. 

Animal Boarding and Dog Day Care

If you are considering or are already boarding cats or dogs, it is essential for you to possess the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 licence. The licence includes providing day care for dogs, boarding cats and dogs in your own home, or in kennels.

Please find guidance information of the minimum standards you are expected to meet in order to be eligible for the licence.

Association of Dog Boarders. The ADB is a trade association specifically for the needs of dog home boarders, day carers and commercial day centres.

Breeding of Dogs

Under the new legislation there have been changes to the breeding of dogs. The new criteria include the following:

  • Anyone breeding three or more litters and selling at least one puppy in a 12-month period will require a licence.
  • A breeder can breed as many puppies as they without a licence 'if the person carrying out the activity (breeding) provides documentary evidence that none of them have been sold (whether as puppies or as adult dogs)'.
  • Breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs with guideline turnover of more than £1000 (amount set by HMRC Trading Allowance to notify HMRC or declare self-employed)
  • If a breeder has one or two litters per 12 months and are selling the puppies, a licence may be required if you are deemed to be advertising as a business.
  • A new star rating has also been introduced to encourage high performing breeding establishments, and to help the public identify good breeders.

Selling Animals as Pets

A licence is required to sell animals as pets as part of a business or keeping animals with the view to sell or resell at a later date. This includes:

  • Pet shops.
  • Registered businesses.
  • Business of individuals operating from their homes for commercial premises including the sale of fish.
  • Importing animals for distribution and sale.

You must meet the minimum requirements set out in the guidance notes in order to be eligible for a licence.

Hiring Out of Horses

A licence is needed under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 for business purposes, if you intend to:

•    Hire out horses for riding.
•    Hire out horses for riding lessons.

This does not include individuals who lend a horse for a small fee where there is no profit made, or who intend to make no profit.

You must meet a minimum standard conditions in order to be eligible for a licence. See guidance notes

Performing & Exhibiting Animals

If you are a business and intend to keep animals for exhibition, you will need a licence for the following activities:

  • Keeping animals for entertainment or educational purposes, including mobile animal exhibits that may visit schools, weddings, private parties, fairs and other events where an audience is present.
  • Pony parties where the ponies are not ridden.
  • Keeping animals for exhibition for electronic media, such as being used in films or TV.
  • Businesses that train animals either for an audience or electronic media.
  • Exhibiting domestic animals in a circus.
  • If a business is based outside of England and imports an animal for exhibition, then they must apply for a licence to the first authority in which they will be performing or where the animals will be kept for the duration of their stay.

If you are exhibiting an animal you must ensure you hold a valid licence and keep to the minimum standards set out in the guidance notes.

Other Animal Licenses are required for the following:
Dangerous and Wild Animals Licence

If you wish to keep an animal considered to be wild, dangerous or exotic, you will need to obtain a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

The purpose of this licence is to make sure that there is no risk posed to the public, and to safeguard the welfare of the animals.

Animals can include, but not limited to:

•    Wild cats
•    Primates
•    Wild dogs, such as wolves
•    Certain pigs, such as wild boars
•    Marsupials

See the full list of animals you need a licence for.

Zoo Licence

A Zoo is any establishment, other than a circus or pet shop, where wild animals are kept for public exhibition with or without charge on more than 7 days in any 12-month period. To operate a zoo in Sandwell, you will need to obtain a licence from the council.

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 defines a "zoo" as an establishment where

  • Wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public, not including circuses and pet shop (separate licence’s are required).
  • Any zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without a charge for admission, and on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive months.

If you intend to operate an establishment in Sandwell that falls within the above criteria, it will be necessary for you to gain a licence.

Please note that premises that display or exhibit non-domestic animals for less than 7 days in a year would require an Exotic and Wild Animal Licence.

If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact us first for advice, guidance and application forms.

Before Sandwell can grant a licence for a zoo in its area it must be satisfied that:

  • The establishment will not affect the health and safety of the public.
  • The establishment will not undermine the law.
  • The accommodation, staffing and management are adequate for the proper care and well-being of the animals

Planning Permission

You are advised to ensure that you have the necessary planning permission to operate a business from your premises. Sandwell Council’s Planning service can be contacted Planning_Enforcement@sandwell.gov.uk

Legislation and Guidance

Guidance documents are available to assist businesses to comply with the Animal Activity Licensing Regulations 2018.