Animal Boarding Establishment Licence

Licence summary

Any person that wishes to carry on the business of providing accommodation for other people's dogs and cats must obtain a licence under Animal Welfare Act 2006 (Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018). A licence is required for people who offer home boarding, dog day care and who run kennels and catteries.

What is the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals (England) Regulations 2018?

They are regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and cover licensing of various activities that involve animals. The Regulations came into force on 1 October 2018.

What licensing activities require a licence?

Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding cats (catteries) or dogs (kennels), dog day care or home boarding

Hiring out horses

Selling animals as pets

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Dog breeding


Eligibility criteria

Who can apply for a licence?

Any individual who can demonstrate that they are:

  •  A fit and proper person
  • Not disqualified from holding a licence in accordance with Regulation 11 and Schedule 8.

Application process

How can I apply for a licence?

You can apply by completing the application form. You will have to submit the application fee at the same time. When the length of your licence is known you will have to submit a licence fee payment.


Fees - where one premises is licensed i.e. combined kennels and cattery, independent home boarding business etc.

Fees - arranging the provision of boarding where there are host families i.e. franchises


What happens when you receive my application?

We will contact you to arrange an inspection.

 If you have submitted an application which requires a Veterinary Inspection we will contact you to arrange that.

What will you check during the inspection?

We will check that you comply with the standard conditions and the conditions for each activity you have applied for.

 You will need to meet the requirements of all the minimum standards, although minor failings may be noted/recorded providing they do not compromise the welfare of the animals.

 Each licensable activity (except keeping or training animals for exhibition) has further optional conditions for higher standards.

 The premises will also be risk rated. 


What are the higher standards?

The higher standards are shown in the activity specific conditions. The required higher standards are shown in blue and the optional higher standards are shown in  red. In order to achieve the higher standard, you will have to demonstrate that you meet the required higher standards and at least 50% of the optional higher standards.



What is risk rating?

The risk rating helps along with the inspection form helps us determine the star rating of the premises, which sets out how long the licence lasts for.

 The risk rating document cover areas such as history of compliance, welfare standards such as provision of enrichment equipment and management standards which includes having a process to recording and acting on customer feedback.

 All new business which do not have compliance history with a Local Authority or a member of a UKAS accredited scheme will be rated as high risk.


How long will my licence last for?

The licence can last for 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the outcome of the risk rating and the inspection.


What information will be provided with the licence?

When a licence is issued, the Council will provide the following details:

  • The licence with the star rating
  • Details of how the business has been rated, including a list of the higher standards the business currently fails to meet or a list of the minimum standards the business if failing to meet and resulting in a "minor failing" category.
  • A copy of the risk management assessment table
  • Details of the appeals process and timescales


What happens if I don't agree with the star rating I've been awarded?

The Council has an appeals procedure in place for the operator to dispute the star rating given.

 You will be provided with the inspection reports which will highlight the inspecting officer's decision on how the risk rating, compliance level and star rating has been determined as part of the licence issuing process.

 The appeal must be made in writing within 21 days and will be assessed and determined by an appointed licensing officer within the department (not the same officer who carried out the inspection). If you disagrees with the outcome of the appeal you can challenge it by way of judicial review.

 If the appeal process involves another inspection and the outcome of the appeal does not result in a higher star rating being awarded, you  will have to pay the fee for re-inspection.

 You are encouraged to discuss the matter the inspecting officer initially.


What happens if I accept the star rating I'm awarded but then make improvements to achieve higher standards?

You can apply for re-inspection. There will be a fee for this.


What happens if my licence application is refused?

The Council must refuse to issue a licence if it considered that the applicant can't meet the licence conditions, the granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare or if the level of accommodation, staffing, or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals.

 A licence cannot be issued to an applicant who is disqualified.

 The applicant will have the right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.



What happens if I don't comply with the conditions of my licence?

The new Regulations introduce a range of enforcement powers to allow the Council to issue a suspension, variation or revocation notice where conditions are not being complied with; there is a breach of the regulations or issues relating to the protection of the welfare of an animal.




Regulation summary




Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.


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, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress


Trade associations

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Feline Advisory Bureau

Public Register

View list of Public Registers 

EUGO logo Business link