Licensing of animal boarding establishments

Apply for an animal boarding establishments licence

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Licence summary

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, you need a licence from the local authority. The number of dogs and cats that may be accommodated will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions.

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

Eligibility criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. In Scotland an applicant must also not be disqualified from working with, using, driving or riding animals, providing services to animals that would involve taking possession of them, taking possession of an animal to carry out any of the activities listed or taking charge of animals for any other purpose.
Regulation summary

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Guidance notes for conditions for providing boarding in kennels for dogs

Guidance notes for conditions for providing home boarding of dogs.

Application evaluation process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions may be attached.  The fee for an Animal Boarding Establishments Licence is currently £128 (domestic boarder) and £155 (traditional boarder).

The following criteria will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Suitable accommodation takes into account the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness and temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That a register is kept. The register should contain a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.
Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.  An application period of 21 calendar days is required.

Apply online

Apply to run an animal boarding establishment

Tell us about a change to your existing circumstances

Renew your licence to run an animal boarding licence

Failed application redress

Please contact your Local Authority in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court.

Licence holder redress

Please contact your Local Authority 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, Citizens Advice Bureau can give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade associations

Pet Care Trust (PCT)

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons