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Animal welfare licensing guidance notes

On 1 October 2018 The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force.

This has replaced previous legislation and provides a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities. If you undertake the following activities, you will need to be licensed under the new regime:

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

A ratings system will also be introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating based on specified criteria. Zoos and Dangerous and Wild Animals will continue to be licensed under existing legislation.

Apply for or renew an animal welfare licence

If you have a current licence under one of the above activities it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire. You must then apply for a licence under the new regulations.

The quickest and easiest way to apply or renew and pay for your licence is online:

Apply online - start now

We will write to all current licence holders with licences which will shortly expire, to invite them to apply for a new licence. Ideally an application for a licence under the new regulations should be made no later than 10 weeks before the current licence is due to expire. This will allow time for the application to be dealt with. A standard application form is available to download and return below.

You can find legislation guidance notes for the following licences on the Canine and Feline Sector Group website:

  • Conditions for selling animals as pets
  • Conditions for providing boarding for cats
  • Conditions for providing boarding in kennels for dogs
  • Conditions for breeding dogs
  • Conditions for providing day care for dogs
  • Conditions for providing home boarding for dogs
  • Conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition
  • Conditions for hiring out horses

Under the new regulations, a licence will last for either 1, 2 or 3 years. Prior to the issue of a licence we will undertake an inspection of your premises. During the inspection we will consider two main aspects:

Firstly the welfare standards observed, which are based upon assessment of a range of criteria, including records, staffing, the environment, diet, and the protection of the animals from pain and suffering. The inspection findings will determine whether there are 'minor failings', 'minimum standards' or 'higher standards' have been met.

Secondly, the risk, which is largely based on the history of compliance of the business, and also upon the licence holder's appreciation of hazards and risks. The overall risk will be determined as being either 'low' or 'higher'.

The inspection findings will be fed into the following scoring matrix which determines both the licence duration, and a star rating which will be given to a business.

Scoring matrix
Risk Welfare Standards
  Minor Failings Minimum Standards Higher Standards
Low Risk 1 Star
(1 year licence)
3 Star
(2 year licence)
5 Star
(3 year licence)
Higher Risk 1 Star
(1 year licence)
2 Star
(1 year licence)
4 Star
(2 year licence)

The standards relate to:

  • Safety
  • Security
  • Infectious disease control
  • The suitability of the licence holder

The aim is to:

  • Ensure the welfare of animals
  • Prevent the spread of disease
  • Ensure the safety of the public visiting these premises

Periodic inspections are carried out to confirm standards are maintained. We will also investigate all complaints.

The conditions which will be attached to licences are in Schedules 3 to 7 of the regulations and will depend on the licensable activities.

Riding Establishments will still be required to have all horses used under the act annually inspected by a local authority veterinary surgeon.

Lewes District and Eastbourne Borough Councils have set the following fees that will be charged for licences under the new regulations. 

Licence fees
Main Activity Part A (Application fee) Part B (for granted licenses) Total fees due Vet fees in addition to license fees Variation Rescore Appeal
Horses (up to 10)
£165 £85 £250 Yes £162 £117 £87
Sale of Animals £165 £85 £250 No £144 £101 £71
Dog Day Care £160 £65 £225 No £138 £115 £82
Horses (Between 11 and 20) £200 £117 £316 Yes £177 £133 £103
Horses (More than 20) £327 £88 £415 Yes £305 £261 £231
Breeding Dogs £165 £85 £250 Yes
(1st Inspection only)
£156 £111 £82
Cat and Dog Home Boarding £160 £65 £225 No £113 £90 £60
Keeping or training animals for exhibition £145 £13 £158  No £145 n/a n/a

For more than one activity an additional fee is due under part A) (same as unannounced inspection fee, RA and rate, grant/refuse).

Horses (up to 10)  £107
Pet Shops  £91
Dog Day Care  £69
Horses (Between 11 and 20)  £123
Horses (More than 20)  £251
Breeding Dogs  £101
Home Boarding/cats  £59
Keeping or training animals for exhibition  £46
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