Pet Sellers

Who needs to apply for a licence?

From 1 September 2021 a licensing regime introduced by The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, will take effect.  New and updated licenses will be required for:

  • breeding of dogs (3 or more litters in a 12 month period)
  • breeding of cats (3 or more litters in a 12 month period)
  • breeding of rabbits (6 or more litters in a 12 month period)
  • rehoming activities
  • animal welfare establishments
  • pet sellers – this will replace existing pet shops and animal dealers licenses

How to make an application

Applications (and the associated fees) will be accepted from 1 September 2021.  You can download an application form here.  An inspection of the premises where the activity will be carried out, will be undertaken.  The inspection will cover the following:

  • the applicant and their relevant experience
  • the suitability of the premises including overall condition, security, availability of any necessary equipment/facilities, ventilation, cleanliness etc
  • staffing ratio and staff experience/qualifications, where applicable
  • the quality of record keeping
  • the wellbeing and condition of any animals on site at the time of inspection

Guidance on cage/enclosure sizes can be found here.

Should it be deemed necessary, a further inspection (conducted by a SSPCA inspector or veterinarian) may be instructed, with the cost of this payable by the applicant.

What happens next?

The regulations allow for licensing authorities to issue licenses for one, two or three year’s duration.

Considerations to be made before determining the duration of the licence include:

  • the potential risk of the licence holder failing to meet or comply with the conditions of the licence and the possible consequences for the welfare of any animals on the premises to be licensed
  • whether the applicant is already operating to higher standards of animal welfare than required by the licence conditions
  • whether, in the case of dog, cat or rabbit breeders, the applicant is already a member of any UKAS accredited breeder scheme, such as the Kennel club Assured Breeder Scheme (where they would normally be classed as a lower risk)
  • the knowledge and experience of the applicant in relation to the activity to be licensed
  • in the case of licence renewals, whether the applicant has a history of good compliance and consistently operates to and demonstrates high animal welfare standards

The regulations also require the licensing authority to publish a register of licence holders for each of the licensable activities.  This is to enable prospective buyers of pet animals to quickly and easily check whether a breeder or seller is licensed to operate as such.


It will be considered an offence to:

  • undertake a licensable activity without an appropriate licence issued by the local authority
  • to provide to an inspector or local authority, information which the applicant knows, or ought reasonably to have known, is false or misleading
  • fail to comply with the general or relevant specific licence conditions issued
  • obstruct any appointed inspector to enforce the regulations
  • fail to comply with any reasonable request from an inspector to facilitate the identification and examination of an animal and the taking of samples