Animal welfare establishments

How to make an application

Submit your application form to the Licensing Authoirty (see below for link to application form and guidance).  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

Download the guidance on cage/enclosure sizes

If it is deemed necessary, a further inspection (conducted by a SSPCA inspector or veterinarian) may be instructed - the cost of this is 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
  • 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

Download the application form

Download the animal welfare establishment guidance notes

Licence Fees

**Please note that licence fees are non-refundable**