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Animal boarding establishments

If you board cats or dogs you will require a licence

 How to apply

Complete an electronic application for a licence and/or renew it through . Applications made to the local authority must specify the premises concerned and a fee as determined by the local authority must be paid before any licence is granted. For details of the current fees click here. Fees & charges

The factors, which may be taken into account in deciding whether or not to issue a licence, are listed under 'Conditions' below but these are without prejudice to the Local Authority's discretion to refuse a licence on any other grounds.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply to applications for this licence as 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. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below. 


Licences remain in force until the end of the year to which it relates and this is determined by the applicant as being either the year in which it is granted or the following year. In the first case, i.e. the year in which it is granted, the licence comes into force on the day on which it is granted and ends on 31 December of that year.

If issued in the year following, it becomes operative on 1 January of that following year and expires on 31 December of the same year.

On the death of a licence holder, the licence passes to his personal representative and operates for a period of three months from the date of death before expiring. The Local Authority may, on application, agree to extension of that period.


The Local Authority is required to specify such conditions in the licence as appears to it necessary or expedient for securing all or any of the following objectives:

  • that animals will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable as respects construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness;
  • that animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised, and (so far as necessary) visited at suitable intervals;
  • that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals of infectious or contagious disease(s), including the provision of adequate isolation facilities;
  • that appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the animals in case of fire or other emergency;
  • that a register be kept containing a description of any animals received into the establishment, date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner, such register to be available for inspection at all times by an officer of the local authority, veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner authorised under section 2(1) of this Act.

Guidance on conditions relating to these licences is given in a booklet published by the British Veterinary Association.

Home Boarding Conditions

Special Conditions Dog Creche

Power of entry

Local Authority Officers, veterinary surgeons or practitioners authorised in writing by the Local Authority for this purpose, may, upon producing their authority if required, inspect a licensed Animal Boarding Establishment and any animals found there at all reasonable times. Persons wilfully obstructing or delaying authorised officers are subject on conviction to a maximum penalty at level 1 on the Standard Scale .

Disqualification and cancellations

If convicted under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 or under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 or the Pet Animals Act 1951, the Court may cancel any Animal Boarding Establishments licence held by the person.

The Court may also disqualify him from holding such a licence, whether or not he currently holds one, for any specified period. The court, pending an appeal, may suspend the cancellation or disqualification of a licence.

The Local Authority must refuse applications for ABE licences from persons disqualified under the:

  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 (from boarding animals)
  • Pet Animals Act 1951 (from keeping a pet shop)
  • Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act 1933 (from keeping a dog)
  • Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934 (from keeping a dog)
  • Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954 (from having the custody of animals) (Sec. 1(2)).