Animal Welfare Licensing

Animal Welfare Licensing

New laws relating to Animal Activity Licensing are now in force. Animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops, riding establishments and people that keep or train animals for exhibitions will now be covered under a single type of licence (known as an 'animal activity licence'), with new nationally set licence conditions. Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions, and will be assessed before the licence is granted to make sure they can meet them.

To help applicants, guidance notes for each of the licensable activities are set out below. These contain further information on what will be required to meet the conditions, a set of which will be included on the granted licence. They also provide advice as to what steps applicants can take to possibly achieve a higher star rating. Once a completed application and payment has been received, we will examine the information provided, then contact applicants to arrange an inspection.

We recommend that applicants check they have the correct permissions to use their property or premises for the business applied for. For example, there are restrictions on running businesses in domestic Council properties. It's important to do this before applying, as the application fee is not refundable. Checks will be carried out by us to ensure all relevant permissions, such as planning consent and housing permissions, are in place at the application stage.

How do I apply for my animal licence?

If there are changes to your current licence conditions or you are applying for the first time, please complete the relevant form:

How do I renew my animal licence?

To renew your animal activities licence (if there are no changes) please complete this form.


​If you wish to apply for a new licence, please see our fee list in effect from 1 April 2019.

Payments can be made online.


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • A specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' 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 itself 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 application, and the information given to us at the inspection, we will assess the risk rating and award stars using a scoring method created by DEFRA, which is a requirement under the new scheme. 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.

Premises with lower star ratings

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 are likely to be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered. We would advise that, as stated above, the scoring method is one we must use to comply with Government requirements, and the ratings given should not be seen as a recommendation by the Council. 

If customers have any concerns, please contact the Environmental Health team prior to making a purchase or making booking arrangements.

Using animal premises

These are the currently licensed premises, correct as of June 2019 (this list is updated twice a year):

Home boarders, riding establishments, catteries & breeder, dangerous wild animals & keeping for exhibition/performance.
Licensees may request their details to be removed from our website when the list is next updated, by emailing

Our advice to anyone using these premises in the district is to always check any business requiring an Animal Activity Licence has a current licence issued by the Council - the premise should have their Council licence on display.

Make sure you inspect the premises prior to leaving your pet or buying an animal, puppies must be seen with their mothers and the breeder must either have a licence or an exemption letter issued by the Council stating why they do not require a breeders licence. Riding Schools and persons exhibiting animals must have a current public liability insurance.  

Please contact us if you would like further advice about animal licensing or have a concern about a premise on 01252 774421 or email

Data Protection if you make an application for a licence 

Hart District (the Council) is the data controller for the personal information you are providing if you make an application. The Council will process this personal information in accordance with all relevant data protection law and will use it only to administer your application and licence and for the following purpose.

In accordance with guidance issued by DEFRA, a list of premises licensed under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)(England) Regulations 2018 is published on our website. The list contains the following information; the name of the business (or the name of the licensee if there is no business name), the parish that your premises lies within, and a link to the business website (or a contact number for the business).  Your business will automatically be added to the list. If your name as licensee (and not a business name) is shown in the list,  you may request that your business be removed from the list by Emailing if you so wish.

For more information about how the Council processes your personal information, please see the Council’s privacy policy webpage

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