Animal Welfare


The Government has published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following licensable activities:

Breeding dogs 
Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs, including home boarding
Day care for dogs
Selling animals as pets
Hiring out horses
Keeping or training animals for exhibition

There are no changes to Dangerous Wild Animals Licences or Zoo Licences

The regulations came into effect on 1st October 2018 and introduce a new regime to replace the licensing and registration regimes previously in place under the following legislation:

Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999  Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
Pet Animals Act 1951
Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970
Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

The regulations, a list of detailed guidance documents and new application forms can be found at the bottom of this web page.

Understanding the New Changes

It is essential that licence holders understand and comply with the new detailed conditions and guidance relevant to the activities they carry out but as a start your attention is drawn to the following key changes:

Licences can be issued for one, two or three years.
Licence fees will be calculated based on the reasonable anticipated costs of the licensing process.  However, due to the expected increase cost not currently being known we intend not to increase our fees in the first 2 months.
Premises will be provided with a star rating.
Protection is provided for licences in the event of the death of the licence holder.
Specific training qualifications have been introduced for licensing inspectors.
A performance rating system is to be introduced and linked to the period of the licence.
Licences can be varied, suspended or revoked. An appeals process is established for both alterations to the licence and the performance rating.
Emphasis is put on the suitability of the environment for the particular needs of the animal.
Emphasis for animal welfare is put on the management arrangements.
Isolation facilities must be adequate and appropriate.

Premises Presently Holding an Animal Welfare Licence

We are providing further detailed information to existing licence holders about the changes.

Please be aware that you will need to make licence renewal applications to us under the new legislation at least 10 weeks prior to the expiry date of your current licence.  Should you fail to do this your current licence will expire an and a new licence will not be granted to business that fail to meet the minimum standards.

The Application Process

If you have a current licence that was in force on 1st October 2018, it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

We will write to all current licence holders inviting them to apply for a new licence. Please remember that an application for a licence under the new regulations 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 and determined.


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

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.
Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
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.
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 fed into a scoring matrix which determines both the licence duration (1, 2 or 3 years – see below), but also a star rating which will be given to a business.

One to three year licences

Licences 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 of any such breaches;
whether the operator is already meeting higher standards of animal welfare than those required by the licence conditions.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?  No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it.

Failed Application Redress:   Please contact Boston Borough Council in the first instance. Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates’ court

Licence Holder Redress:   Please contact Boston Borough Council in the first instance. Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to their local Magistrates’ court.

Consumer Complaint: 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, Adviceguide will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Trade Associations:

Pet Industry Federation (PIF)
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons


The fee is made up of Part A and Part B.  Part A is payable upon application and Part B is payable if the licence is granted and must be paid prior to the licence being issued.  If you wish to pay Part A and B together at the time of application, you may do so.  You are however under no obligation to pay Part B of the fee prior to it the licence being granted.  If you do pay both parts of the fee at the time of application, and then your licence is subsequently refused, Part B will be refunded to you. Please see current schedule of fees below.


For any licensing enquiries please contact us using the details on the right. A member of the licensing team will normally be available at the Municipal Buildings on weekdays 9am – noon and 2pm – 5pm (4.30pm on Fridays). We may be available at other times by prior appointment.

Contact Us

01205 314235

Licensing Main