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Animal Activity Licenses

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 provide a single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities. The Council is responsible for providing authorisations relating to the sale, display, keeping and use of animals.

The legislation is designed to provide high welfare standards and levels of care for animals by promoting and ensuring that the five key needs are met:

  • need for a suitable environment
  • need for a suitable diet
  • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns (such as exercise)
  • need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Those undertaking the following activities must hold a licence:

  • 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


Under The Animal Welfare (Licence of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments will be covered under a single type of licence known as an ‘animal activity licence.’ The Government has set conditions for each licence type which are the same across the county. We cannot change these conditions as they are set out in the legislation.

To help applicants, guidance notes for each of the licensable activities have been produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  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 the higher star ratings.

How to apply

  • complete the application form, keeping a copy of the completed form for your own records
  • send the completed form and supporting documents to the Council by email ( or by post to The Licensing Department, Tewkesbury Borough Council, Public Services Centre, Gloucester Road, Tewkesbury, GL20 5TT. You must also pay the correct fee over the telephone by calling 01684 272271 or online.

you will need to enclose:

  • a plan of the premises
  • a copy of your insurance policy
  • operating procedures
  • risk assessments (including fire)
  • infection control procedure
  • qualifications
  • training records for any other persons involved in the business

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 is 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.

Once a completed application and payment has been received, we will examine the information provided and contact applicants to arrange an inspection.


Details of the fees payable are available on our licensing fees and charges document. All of our fees are split into two parts. The first part of the fee is payable upon application and is non refundable. The first part of the fee covers the cost of processing your application, any inspection and follow up work.

If your application is successful the second part of the fee is payable before the licence is issued. If you do pay both parts of the fee up front and your application is not successful, the part 2 fee is refundable.

A fee is also chargeable for rescoring should you wish to work towards a higher star rating within your licence term.


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 requirements relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

The Council uses a third party animal welfare inspector who carries out some inspections on our behalf. For the purposes of arranging your initial and any interim inspections, your contact details may be passed on to them.

Star Rating

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 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

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.

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.

Issuing your licence

Once inspected and upon completion of any required remedial works, we aim to issue your licence with 10 working days.

Length of licence

A licence lasts for between 12 month and 36 months depending on the star rating. Applications for renewal should be made 6 weeks prior to the expiry date of the licence.

Public Register

We are currently developing a public register. In the interim, please contact the Licensing Team if you wish to check whether a particular premises or business is licensed.