New animal welfare licensing scheme

New animal welfare licensing regulations come into effect on Monday 1 October 2018.

Changes are being introduced nationally by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to modernise the licensing system, and maintain and improve animal welfare standards.

A single licensing scheme will now cover pet shops, dog breeders, dog and cat boarding (including day care for dogs), hiring of horses, and anyone exhibiting or displaying animals for money. The scheme replaces a number of pieces of previous legislation.

One of the main changes is that anyone breeding and selling dogs will now need a licence - previously a licence was only required for breeding five or more litters of puppies a year.  

Similarly anyone providing boarding for cats or dogs (including dog day care) will need a licence. Previously a licence was only required for overnight boarding.

Councils will set fees for licences locally. 

Councillor Jackie O’Quinn, chair of the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “This is all about protecting the welfare of animals and bringing the licensing system up to date. For example, more people now provide day care in their homes for dogs, as an alternative to kennels, and more are breeding dogs at home for sale.

“The new legislation will enable us to ensure animals in all businesses are well cared for, and provide reassurance for pet owners.”

Licence fees are based on the cost of running the licensing scheme and carrying out inspections, and will be kept under review.

A national ratings system will be introduced and licences will be issued for one, two or three years depending on the rating achieved.

Existing animal licences held by businesses are still valid until their expiry date.

Find out how to apply for a licence, or email or call 01273 292170.

Licensing of zoos and dangerous and wild animals will continue under existing legislation.