To run a business selling pet animals you need a licence from the Local Authority issued under the Pet Animals Act 1951. This includes all commercial selling of pet animals, including pet shops and businesses selling animals over the internet.
A person does not keep a pet shop if he only keeps or sells pedigree animals which he breeds or the offspring of an animal which he keeps as a pet or if he is in the business of breeding pedigree animals and in conjunction with that business, sells animals as pets which were originally acquired for use, if suitable, for breeding or show purposes, but have been found not to be suitable or required for such use.
A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises to check that they comply with the Council's licence conditions.
A licence may run either from its date of issue or from 1 January next and remains valid for the remainder of the year in which it is issued.
Further information relating to Pet Shops and Animal Welfare is available via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Application evaluation process
A fee of £319 will be payable for a new application and £151 to renew the licence. Local authorities must have regard to the following when considering an application for a pet shop licence:
- that animals will be kept in suitable accommodation, for example in regards to temperature, size, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
- adequate food and drink will be provided to the animals and they will be visited at suitable intervals
- that any mammalian animals will not be sold too young
- that steps are taken to prevent disease spreading among the animals
- that adequate fire and emergency provisions are in place.
Conditions are attached to a licence to ensure that the above are complied with.
Your premises may be inspected by the Council's Public Protection Officer and/or a qualified vet to establish whether the premises are suitable.
Will tacit consent apply?
Yes - Tacit consent means that if we have not dealt with applications within 28 days then the application can be deemed to have been granted/approved
Target completion period
Applications would normally be determined within 28 days of receipt of all the information necessary to determine the application.
Please contact us in the first instance.
Any complaints relating to the manner in which the application has been dealt with by the Council should be made in the usual way via the corporate complaint system.
Failed application redress
Please contact us in the first instance. Any person who is refused a licence can appeal to the Magistrates court. A court may give directions on the issue of a licence.
Licence Holder Redress
If you wish to appeal against a decision of the local authority you may do so to the local Magistrates' Court. Appeals must be made within 21 days of the date you received notification of the decision in writing. Magistrates' court decisions can be appealed to the Crown Court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
A police officer or officer of the local authority may make a complaint to the local magistrates' court if they feel that animals have been subject to cruelty.
Public registers or databases
For details on the public register please contact us.
Animal Welfare Act 2006
As you may be aware, the law that protects animals is changing. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into effect on 6 April 2007. This Act brings together and modernises animal welfare legislation, some of which dates from 1911. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 will:
- introduce a 'duty of care' on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible
- create a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal in your care
- place more emphasis on owners and keepers who will need to understand their responsibilities and take all reasonable steps to provide for the needs of their animals.