Animal welfare

On 1 October 2018, the new animal welfare licensing regulations came into force. The regulations unify and update a number of current animal welfare licensing regimes, namely those applicable to pet shops, animal boarding establishments, riding establishments, dog breeding and performing animals.

There are no changes to Dangerous Wild Animals or Zoo Licences.

The new regulations are conferred by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and aim to further protect the needs and welfare of animals.

The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following “licensable activities”:

  • Selling animals as pets

  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs

  • Hiring out horses

  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The changes also extend the scope of who is required to be licensed. Therefore persons who operated previously without requiring to be licensed e.g. under exemptions, may need to be licensed after the 1 October 2018.

There are new conditions that will apply to licences issued under the new regulations

  • a set of general conditions that apply to all licences and
  • a set of specific conditions that will apply to specific animal activity

The new conditions are set in legislation, the licensing department will be unable to make exceptions. It will be necessary for operators to comply with all sets of conditions applicable to the activities they carry out.

The new animal welfare licensing regime, requires licensing authorities to inspect premises prior to granting a licence. The new licence will run for 1 to 3 years dependant on standards, risk rating, and will be star rated. The regulations also provide an appeal process.

DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) have produced guidance documents to help current and prospective licence holders understand what will be required of them under the new legislation. 

 View guidance note on DEFRA website

Application forms and fees


Send your completed application and payment to: Licensing Team, Rutland County Council, Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP.

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