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Animal Activities licensing

From 1 October 2018 new laws apply to five activities involving animals in England:

  1. Selling animals as pets;
  2. Providing for or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs;
  3. Hiring out horses;
  4. Dog breeding; and
  5. Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 introduces an updated licensing system in England for the activities listed above. Schedule 1 of the regulations defines the licensable activities for each sector and in all cases except dog breeding, the licensable activity is restricted to businesses or those operating on a commercial basis. In the case of dog breeders, anyone breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless they can show that none of the puppies have been sold) and anyone breeding puppies and advertising a business of selling them, irrespective of the number of litters produced per year, will need a licence. This is not restricted to registered businesses and individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.

All those involved in these activities will need to consider whether they are required to comply with the new legislation. Anyone currently requiring a licence should assume this will continue and be aware that under the new rules there may be additional requirements for licensing in certain situations. The regulations prescribe general licence conditions that will attach to all licences (schedule 2 of the regulations) and specific licence conditions that will apply to individual licences depending on the activity being licensed (Schedules 3 – 7 of the regulations). The new licensing system will be administered and enforced by local authorities and Defra has produced a series of guidance documents for each activity, which can be found below.

These new regulations replace the various licensing systems under the Pet Animals Act 1951; the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963; the Riding Establishments Act 1964; and the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973; as well as the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, which requires individuals who want to exhibit or train any performing animals to register for this purpose under the Act. If you have a licence under the existing legislation that is in force on 1 October 2018, it will continue to be valid until the expiry date shown on the licence. Any registration of a person under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 will continue in force, for six months from the date on which these Regulations come into force until 1 April 2019. Prior to the expiry of your current licence, or registration, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.

The Countryside Alliance submitted evidence as part of the review of the legislation and has worked closely with Defra in the drafting of the new guidance documents.

For more information contact us on 020 7840 9263 or your local authority.

Procedural Guidance for Animal Activity Licensing 2018 (for local authorities)

Guidance notes for Breeding Dogs 2018

Guidance notes for Boarding Dogs in Kennels 2018

Guidance notes for Home Boarding Dogs 2018

Guidance notes for Dog Day Care 2018

Guidance notes for Boarding Cats 2018

Guidance notes for Selling Animals as Pets 2018

Guidance notes for Exhibition of Animals 2018

Guidance notes for Hiring out Horses 2018

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