Animal licences

We are pleased to announce that we are able to accept and process new animal activity licence applications from 17 May 2021. If you have already applied, we will be in touch with you once we are able to proceed.

Animal licensing changed in 2018

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, came into effect on 1 October 2018. The regulations unify and update a number of current licensing Acts.

This includes those applicable to:

  • pet shops
  • animal boarding establishments
  • riding establishments
  • dog breeding
  • performing animals

Dangerous wild animals and Zoo licensing is not included in the new regulations.

Any new licence applications and renewals after 1 October 2018 will need to be made under the 2018 regulations.

The new animal licence regulations are available to download (see the 'Related documents' section of this page) and include statutory licence conditions as follows;

  • schedule 2 - The general conditions which apply to all licences
    The specific conditions which apply with respect to different licensable activities as follows
  • schedule 3 - Selling animals as pets
  • schedule 4 - Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • schedule 5 - Hiring out horses
  • schedule 6 - Breeding dogs
  • schedule 7 - Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The 2018 regulations bring important changes, giving local authorities new enforcement powers to manage licences. These include the ability to suspend, change, or cancel a licence. Additionally, a risk/star rating system determines the duration of a licence, which can be 1, 2, or 3 years.

To apply for a licence, please download the relevant application form from this page and pay the required Part A fee.

Guidance from DEFRA on each licensable activity is being developed. When this guidance and other information are available, it will be published here.

Application fees

The fees for animal licences have been calculated based on the full cost recovery model as outlined in Regulation 13. The fees are categorised as follows: 

Part A - The costs of processing the application, including initial inspection, through to determination.

Part B - The costs of running and enforcement of the licensing regime, including any mid-term visits.

Vet inspection and associated fees, apply in addition to the above. This applies to the initial inspection of dog breeding establishments and annually for Hiring of Horses.

You can find the detailed animal licence fee structure on this page. Please note that the fee remains the same regardless of the licence duration, which will be determined after a full assessment. The Part A and Vet inspection fees are non-refundable if your application is unsuccessful. The Part B fee is only payable upon approval of the licence.

Duration of licences

Under the 2018 regulations, a licence for the keeping or training of animals for the exhibition will last for 3 years and is not subject to risk rating. Licences for other activities will last either 1, 2 or 3 years.

Existing operators will be risk rated against standard 14-point assessment criteria.

The assessment considers several factors relating to:

  • compliance history
  • complaints
  • welfare
  • management standards

A score of 17 or less is rated low risk, and a score of 18 or above is rated higher risk. New businesses which do not have a compliance history with a Local Authority or relevant UKAS-accredited scheme must be considered at higher risk.

The inspection findings and risk rating are fed into the following scoring matrix. This determines both the star rating and duration of the licence given to a business.

Animal licences scoring pages


Appeal against a decision to refuse, revoke, or vary a licence.

If an operator disagrees with a local authority's decision regarding the granting, renewal, variation, or revocation of a licence, they have the right to appeal to a first-tier tribunal. The appeal must be submitted within 28 days from the day following the decision date.

Appeal against the risk or star rating awarded

A licensed operator of an animal establishment may appeal the animal health licence rating given following inspection. 

Operators should, in the first instance, talk to the Council Officer that inspected the business about why the rating was given. This does not affect the right to appeal or applicable deadlines.

Appeals must be lodged within 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) from the date of issue of the licence. Appeals must be in writing (includes e mail) and provide evidence of compliance.

Please use the appeal form providing evidence of compliance.

  • Return to the Council by email to

  • or post to:

    Animal Health (Appeal)
    Environmental Health Service
    Floor 2
    Wakefield One
    Burton Street
    WF1 2EB

The Lead Officer responsible for animal health licensing will review the appeal. They will provide a response within 21 days, including weekends and holidays.

In certain cases, a further visit to the establishment may be necessary to determine the appeal. This depends on the appeal's nature and whether a decision can be made based on the inspection paperwork and rating provided.

The applicant is responsible for any additional visit costs. This is unless it leads to a higher star rating, in which case it is charged at the same rate as a major variation.

If an operator disagrees with the appeal outcome, they have the option to challenge the Local Authority's decision through a judicial review.

Requests for re-inspection for re-rating purposes

To ensure fairness to businesses, a procedure is in place for requesting re-inspections for re–assessing star ratings. A request may be made where a business has been rated 1-4, has accepted the rating and made the necessary improvements to address any prior issues.

To request a re-inspection the business operator must fill in the rescore revisit request form.

To request a re-inspection for a possible rating change, businesses must present a case. This should outline the actions taken to make improvements to their establishment.

If the provided evidence is insufficient, the Council may refuse the re-visit request. They must provide an explanation for the refusal in this case.

It's important to note that a rescore can only occur through a physical re-inspection and not solely based on documentation. There is a fee associated with the rescore visit. Businesses should be aware that a re-inspection for rating purposes may result in a lower or unchanged rating.

We aim to undertake a re inspection within three months of receipt of a request.

Self assessment

You are advised to undertake an assessment against the licence conditions before the application or inspection.

This is to prepare for your licence inspection and identify areas for the improvement of your establishment.

This will both improve welfare standards and help you to achieve a higher star rating. To assist you, the regulations which include the statutory conditions are available to download from this page.

In addition, self-assessment forms are available which include guidance on how to meet each condition.

It will also help to speed up the licence process if you submit any documented policies, procedures etc with your application form.

Contact Us

Environmental Health Wakefield Council Wakefield One PO Box 700 Burton Street Wakefield WF1 2EB

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