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  5. Animal activity licence

Animal activity licence

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 took effect on 1 October 2018. The regulations were made by the Secretary of State under Section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The new regulations replace the previous licensing legislation, except for the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

If you have a current animal licence issued before 1 October 2018 it will be valid until it expires. If you wish to continue to operate the licensable activity without a break, you need to apply under the new regulations at least 10 weeks before your current licence expires. 

Guidance from Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 

DEFRA has published procedural guidance for local authorities and guidance notes on the conditions that will apply to each licensable activity.

Licensable activity New regulations replace the following acts Department for Food, Environment and Rual Affairs (DEFRA) guidance notes                                                               
Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats and dogs Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
 Breeding dogs  Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999
 Selling animals as pets Pet Animals Act 1951
 Hiring out horses  Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970
Keeping or training animals for exhibition  Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

DEFRA have also provided procedural guidance for local authorities for the new regulations:

Apply for an animal activity licence

Before you apply for a licence make sure you read the guidance notes.

Complete and return the application form to the licensing department at ers@westoxon.gov.uk.


Application fees

Please note that you must pay the fee for each licensable activity that your licence will cover. 

Depending on which licensable activities you are applying for, we may need to appoint a vet to inspect the premises. The costs of vet inspections are NOT covered by the application fees so you will need to be invoiced by the council to recover the veterinary costs. Your licence will not be granted until this invoice has been paid.

Licence Application fees from 1 April 2020    Fee
Breeding of dogs + recharge of veterinary fees - £350
Hiring out horses + recharge of veterinary fees - £400
Selling animals as pets - £270
Keeping or training animals for exhibition - £270
Providing home boarding for dogs (Day-time or overnight care within the home environment) - £270
Providing boarding in kennels for dogs Up to 50 dogs £270
  Over 50 dogs £315
Providing day care for dogs (This applies to doggy day care centres providing day care only and not premises that are boarding in a home environment or licensing as providing boarding in kennels. Up to 50 dogs £270
  Over 50 dogs £315
Providing boarding for cats  Under 50 cats £270
  Over 50 cats £315


Miscellaneous fees from 1 April 2020  Fee
Franchise Licence (Dog Boarding only) (Host fees will also be required in addition to the franchise licence)  * see example below   £110
Host Fee (Required per each host family of a dog boarding franchise * see example below £130
Additional Activity (This fee is in addition to the above licence application fees if more than one activity is undertaken at the same premises ** See example below £45
Variation Fee e.g amendment to a licence £25
Inspection Fee (This fee is payable if an inspection is required in addition to the initial inspection required included within the licence application fee). £120
Re-Rating Fee (Inspection and licence amendment for re-rating of the current star rating) £125


* Franchise/Host Fees

If a franchise company has four host families within the West Oxfordshire District the fee would be £110 (Franchise licence fee) + £520 (4 x £130 host fee) therefore the total fee payable would be £630. 

** Additional Activity Fees

If a premises is undertaking more than one activity the higher fee of the two activities must be paid together with an additional activity fee of £45. The higher fee of the two activities is always required as the main activity and the lower fee of the two activities is charged at the additional fee rate.

Star rating scheme

A risk based system must be used to decide the star rating that will be awarded and the length of the licence, except “Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition” where all licences are issued for three years. Find more information on pages 16 to 21 of the procedural guidance notes above. You can request a re-visit for the Animals Activity Star Rating System:

Approval of your licence

It is in the public interest that the Council processes your application before it can be granted so you cannot assume that your licence has been granted if you haven’t heard from us. We aim to determine a licence within 10 weeks, but it may take longer. If you have not heard from the Council within 4 weeks, please contact us for an update. 

New animal licensing regulations FAQs