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Animal licences

The Animal Welfare (licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force on 1 October 2018. The regulations apply to the following activities:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats and dogs including the provision of boarding cats in a cattery, kennels for dogs, home boarding for dogs, or day care for dogs
  • Hiring out horses (including pony parties where ridden)
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition (including pony parties where not ridden)

Zoo and dangerous wild animal licences are not included in these regulations.

The regulations include enforcement powers for a local authority to suspend, vary or revoke a licence and a star rating system which determines the duration of the licence which may last for 1, 2 or 3 years.

You are advised to undertake an assessment of your business against the licence conditions before you apply to prepare you for your inspection and identify any areas for improvement. This is to ensure you fully comply with all the conditions and any higher standards which will help you achieve a higher star rating. A licence will not be granted if you do not meet all the conditions.

You can view the regulations (PDF).

Further statutory guidance including the standard conditions can be found on the CFSG website.

How to apply

To apply for a licence please download the relevant application form and submit this to

Upon receipt of your completed form we will send you an email with a unique reference number for your application and a link to our payment page where you can pay your application fee online with a debit or credit card.

Your application will not be processed until we receive the application form and full payment.

There are additional veterinary surgeon charges in respect of initial inspection of dog breeding applications and annually for hiring out horses. These charges will vary according to the size and nature of your activity. These fees are non-refundable should your application be unsuccessful.

Application forms

It can take ten weeks from you submitting your application to your licence being issued. If you do not hear from us within 28 working days of submitting your application, please contact us.

If you are renewing your licence, please ensure you submit your application 12 weeks before your current licence expires.

It will also help to speed up the licence process and time it takes to carry out the inspection if you submit any documented policies and or procedures with your application.

Will tacit consent apply?


Application for re-inspection for re-rating purposes

A procedure is in place for undertaking re-inspections at the request of a business for re–assessing star ratings. A request may be made where a business has made the necessary improvements to address the identified non compliances or meet the higher standards.

To request a re-inspection the business operator must use the revisit form (Word, 217, Kb) outlining the case for a re–inspection, indicating the actions that have been taken to address any identified non-compliance and improvements made to achieve the higher standards.

If there is insufficient evidence provided that improvements have been made, the Council may refuse to undertake a re-visit but must explain why they are refusing the request.

A rescore can only be undertaken following a re-inspection and cannot be undertaken on documentary evidence alone. Businesses are advised that re inspection for re rating purposes may result in lower rating or no change rather than an increase in rating.

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

Variation of a licence

If an adjustment needs to be made to your licence after it has been issued, whether it is to the licence itself or to the premises / animals referred to in the licence, you will need to complete the request a variation form (Word, 217 Kb).

We will consider the application for variation within 10 weeks of receipt. An officer may visit the premises unannounced, or announced and request relevant documentation from the licence holder in order to determine whether the requested variation will be granted.

Licence holders will be notified in writing of the result of the variation application


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

Any operator who is aggrieved by a decision by a local authority to refuse to grant or renew a licence, or to vary or revoke a licence may appeal within 28 days of the day after the date of the decision, to a first tier tribunal.

Find out more about appeals on the website.

Appeal against the star rating awarded

Local authorities must have an appeal procedure in place for businesses to dispute the star rating given in respect of their business. Business operators may challenge the star rating issued by the Council if they do not agree that the rating reflects the animal welfare standards and risk level of their business at the time of inspection. This should not be used if the business has made improvements to their business and wishes to be reassessed – in this case, an application for re-inspection should be made.

In the first instance a business disputing its rating is encouraged to discuss this informally with the officer who inspected the premises so that there is an opportunity to help explain how the rating was worked out. Any such discussions do not form part of the formal appeal process and do not change the deadline within which an appeal must be lodged.

How to appeal

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 email) and provide evidence of compliance.

Please use the appeal form (Word, 190 Kb) providing evidence of compliance.

  • Return to the Council by email to
  • or post to: Environmental Health, City Bradford MDC, 5th Floor, Britannia House, Bradford, BD1 1HX

The Lead Officer for animal health licensing will review the rating and communicate the outcome of the appeal within 21 days of receipt (including weekends and bank holidays).

In some circumstances, a further visit to the establishment may be required to determine the appeal. This will depend on the nature of the appeal and whether a decision can or cannot be made on the basis of the paperwork associated with the inspection and the rating given.

If an operator disagrees with the outcome of an appeal, they can challenge the Local Authority's decision by means of a judicial review.