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Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

The current law governing the licensing of certain animal related activities/businesses came into effect on the 1st October 2018.

Under the legislation, the following activities require a licence:

  • Animal boarding businesses (including dog home boarding, dog day care, dog kennels and catteries).
  • A business of breeding and selling of dogs.
  • A business of selling animals as pets (e.g. pet shop, online sale of pet animals).
  • A business of hiring out horses ( e.g. riding establishments, pony parties where the ponies are ridden, pony/donkey rides, hunter hirelings, polo/polocrosse instruction).
  • A business of keeping and or training animals for exhibition.

One licence, known as an 'Animal Welfare Licence' may be granted for a single activity or for a combination of activities.

Animal Welfare Licensing Policy

This Council has adopted a policy setting out how the Authority will exercise its functions under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. The policy sets out the principles the Council will use when dealing with animal welfare related licensing matters. This includes dealing with applications for new licences and issues relating to licensed premises. The policy document sets out the criteria to be taken into account by the Council when determining whether or not an applicant or an existing licence holder is suitable to be granted, have renewed or continue to hold a licence. A copy of the policy can be found under Related Documents on this webpage.

Eligibility Criteria 

Schedule 8 of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 provides details of persons who may not apply for a licence. Full details of persons who are precluded from applying can be found in 2018 Regulations at this link:

In addition, we have adopted an Animal Welfare Licensing Policy - the Policy can be found under Related Documents at the bottom of this webpage.

All new animal welfare licence applications must be accompanied by a DBS Basic Disclosure Certificate.  Renewal licence applications will be subject to DBS checks on a 3 year rolling basis.

The Basic Disclosure Certificate must be issued in the full name of the licence applicant(s), and must have been issued no earlier than 2 months before the date on which the licence application is made. 

A DBS Basic Disclosure Certificate provides details of unspent criminal convictions (if any). 

DBS checks must show that the applicant(s) is not disqualified from holding a licence, and/or holds no current relevant convictions which may affect whether they are a 'fit and proper' person to hold a licence.

Guidance on how to request a DBS Basic Disclosure Certificate can be found on the website at -

It will be the licence applicant's responsibility to obtain the DBS certificate in good time, and to pay any fees or charges associated with them.

The Council will not normally grant a licence to a person with one (or more) conviction(s) for any offence that is related to animal cruelty or suffering.  The primary purpose of the Regulations enforced by this Council is to ensure the welfare of animals and, as such, these types of offences are highly relevant.  In all cases, the Council will consider the conviction or behaviour in question and what weight should be attached to it.  Each and every case will be determined on its own merits.

Conditions for the grant of an Animal Welfare Licence

In order to qualify for an Animal Welfare Licence, the licence applicant must meet the nationally set licence conditions. More detailed guidance relating to each of the above mentioned activities can be found here:


Dog Boarding - Kennels

Dog Boarding - Home

Dog Boarding - Day Care

Breeding and Sale of Dogs

Selling Animals as Pets

Hiring Out Horses

Animals for Exhibition

Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities

Application Process

Applicants must complete an application form for each of the licensable activities they are carrying on. For example, if they operate a business of providing dog boarding and breeding of dogs for sale they would need to complete an application form for animal boarding and an application for for breeding/selling dogs. Provided that the applications are made at the same time there will only be one application fee payable - currently £350.00.The application form(s) submitted must include the required documentation specified on the application form.

The DEFRA guidance relating to the conditions for each activity can be found via the above links.


All premises will be inspected before the licence application is determined. Applications for the hiring of horses and dog breeding licences will also be subject to a veterinary inspection by a Council appointed vet. The cost of the veterinary inspection will be recharged to the licence applicant.

The inspector(s) will be looking to make sure that the licence application has the following:

  • A specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for and a clear understanding of its need and welfare.
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the required information (as set out in the licensing conditions).
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal.
  • Written policies and procedures which are reviewed regularly (as set out in the DEFRA guidance on licensing conditions).
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The inspection findings will be used to determine both the licence duration (either 1, 2 or 3 years - see below) and a star rating*.

One to Three Year Licensing

Licences (except for keeping and/or training animals for exhibition*) will be granted (or renewed) for a period of one, two or three years.

In deciding on the length of the licence there will be a risk based assessment system looking at:

  • The risk of an operator breaching any licence conditions;
  • The impact on animal welfare on any such breaches;
  • And whether the operator is already meeting higher standards of animal welfare than are required by the licence conditions.

*Licences for the keeping and/or training animals for exhibition are granted for a period of 3 years and are not subject to the star rating scheme.

Further information regarding the star rating system can be found in the DEFRA guidance here:

Animal Welfare Act

The aim of the Animal Welfare Act is to improve the welfare of animals, impose greater responsibility on their carers, and provide greater investigation and entry powers for Police and Local Authority staff to deal with offences.

Under Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is the duty of any person responsible for an animal to ensure that its welfare needs are met, including:

  • The need for a suitable environment (how is is housed).
  • The need for a suitable diet (what it eats and drinks).
  • The need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
  • Any need to be housed with or apart from other animals.
  • The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act

Depending on the type of offence and animals involved, enforcement is shared between the RSPCA, Police, Local Authorities and DEFRA.

Reporting an Injured or Mistreated Animal

If you know about an animal that is injured or being treated cruelly, please call the RSPCA's national 24-hour cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999.

Further Information

We have further specific webpages on this website for Animal Boarding, Dog Breeders, Pet Shops, Riding Establishments and Performing Animals.

Fish as Prizes

Whilst the current law states that fish can be given as prizes in England and Wales if the person is over 16 or is with an adult - this Authority's licensing service does not support the giving away of animals as prizes.

Whilst we have no legal power to prevent animals (such as goldfish) being given as prizes at fairs and similar events - we feel strongly that anyone offering fish to the public should meet (as much as possible) the pet vending licence conditions laid down in the Animal Welfare Act and associated regulations and guidance.

To summarise -  it's illegal for someone under the age of 16 to win an animal as a prize unless they are accompanied by someone over the age of 16 and the person who has actual care and control (e.g. parent/guardian) has consented to their child winning an animal as a prize.

Contact Us


Telephone: 01507 601111

Post: The Licensing Team, East Lindsey District Council,  The Hub, Mareham Road, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 6PH.

We also send out a regular emailed newsletter regarding animal welfare licensing. Should you wish to sign up to these email updates please email and title your email 'SIGN UP TO ANIMAL WELFARE LICENSING NEWSLETTER'.


Animal welfare licence holders have a right to request a re-visit with a view to obtaining a new and higher star rating at any time, provided that they have made the required improvements to resolve the non-compliances and/or risks identified at the time of the licensing inspection.
On this webpage (under Related Documents) you will find our animal welfare licensing registers which include the star rating where applicable. The registers on this webpage are updated monthly.