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Animal Welfare Licensing

The New Legislation

The Government has recently published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under the new laws a number of animal related activities are all covered under a single type of licence, known as an animal activity licence, rather than under separate licences. The legislation is accompanied by new nationally set licence conditions which are contained in Schedules 3 to 7 of the regulations. Click the links below to see the activities contained in the regulations, along with the up to date guidance, which is both available to operators in achieving compliance, and to inspectors, when undertaking an inspection.

The regulations came into effect on 1st October 2018 and replaced the licensing and registration previously in place under the Pet Animals Act 1951, Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970, Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, and the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925


The Application Process

If you have already applied for and paid to be licensed under the new Regulations, you can continue to trade until we have undertaken your inspection. We have a backlog of inspections to be carried out so please bear with us. If your old licence has expired and you have not applied for a new licence, you must not trade. If you have a licence which is yet to expire, it will remain valid until its expiry. This includes existing Registrations of a person under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 which will continue until their expiry on 1 April 2019.

Ideally an application for a licence should be made no later than 10 weeks before the current licence is due to expire to allow time for the application to be dealt with. To apply for a new licence, please complete the relevant application form below. Please see Fees and Charges 2018/2019 for details of the fee relevant to the animal activity or activities you are undertaking.

If you wish to be licensed for more that one activity, complete one application form above, plus the relevant add-on document(s) below. You will not need to enter you personal information and declaration again, as these are included on the main application. Note - dog boarding includes dog day care - a separate application is not required. 

docs icon Animal boarding add-on [83kb], docs icon Breeding dogs add-on [88kb]docs icon Hiring out horses add-on [110kb], docs icon Selling animals as pets add-on [108kb], docs icon Keeping or training animals for exhibition add-on [101kb]

Please send completed applications either by email to eho.office@nfdc.gov.uk or mail to Environmental Health, New Forest District Council, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, SO43 7PA.

You can pay by bank transfer: our details are Lloyds Bank Plc, account code 29293160, sort code 30 80 63 (please quote your current licence number), by visiting one of the NFDC offices, or by cheque.


Inspections

All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • firstly the welfare standards observed, which are based upon assessment of a range of criteria, including records, staffing, the environment, diet, and the protection of the animals from pain and suffering. The inspection findings will determine whether there are 'minor failings', 'minimum standards' are achieved or 'higher standards' have been met.

  • Secondly, the risk, which is largely based on the history of compliance of the business, and also upon the licence holder's appreciation of hazards and risks. The overall risk will be determined as being either 'low' or 'higher'.

Staff should have a specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare - i.e. mental and physical health, feeding, and knowledge of environmental enrichment. They should also have an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine. There should be training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

 

Duration of licences

The inspection findings will be fed into the following scoring matrix which determines both the licence duration (either 1, 2 or 3 years), but also a star rating which will be given to a business. If the applicant is not happy with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for re-inspection.

This matrix does not apply to the activity of keeping or training animals for exhibition, which will all receive a 3 year licence.

Scoring Matrix

Welfare Standards

Minor Failings

Minimum Standards

Higher Standards

Risk

Low Risk

1 Star

(1 year licence)

3 Star

(2 year licence)

5 Star

(3 year licence)

Higher Risk

1 Star

(1 year licence)

2 Star

(1 year licence)

4 Star

(2 year licence)

A new applicant who does not have a compliance history with this Authority or a relevant UKAS qualification will automatically be considered higher risk. Existing operators with a compliance history may be classed as low or higher risk, and consequently may receive a licence for up to 3 years.

A premises with a lower star rating is not one to avoid and may have very high standards. It may simply be a newer operator who is yet to have a proven history of compliance.

 

Re-rating Request

You may request a re-rating inspection if you have carried out works which you believe will improve your star rating. A fee will be charged for carrying out re-rating inspections - the current fee is £167.00. The request must be made in writing (including by email to eho.office@nfdc.gov.uk)  and must outline the action that has been taken to improve the level of compliance or welfare since the inspection and, where appropriate should include supporting evidence. The supporting case should refer to those actions identified in the inspection that would need to be made to achieve a higher rating. If you do not supply sufficient information we may not be able to undertake the re-rating inspection. Any successful re-inspection will be carried out within 3 months of receipt of the request.  

Please note that following a re-inspection, the rating could go up, down or remain the same.

Appeal 

If you do not agree with the star rating or believe that it is unfair, you should speak to the inspecting officer in the first instance who will explain how the rating was worked out, and may help to resolve the matter without the need for a formal appeal to be made.  If you still think that the rating is incorrect you can appeal. The must be done in writing (including by email to eho.office@nfdc.gov.uk) within 21 days (including weekends and bank holidays) following the issue of your licence. A fee will be charged to determine an appeal - the current fee is £91 which will be refunded should a higher rating be awarded. The appeal will be determined within 21 days of date of receipt (including weekends and bank holidays), and will be undertaken by a senior officer not involved in the production of the rating given. Further details on the appeal process are available on request.

 

Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoos

The new regulations do not have any impact upon licences issued under The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

Updated: 25 Jan 2019
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