If you carry on a business of selling animals you will require a licence issued by the Local Authority.
Applications made to the Local Authority must specify the premises concerned and a fee as determined by the local authority must be paid before a licence is granted. For details of the current fees, click on Fees & charges.
Please click on the following link to make an electronic application and/or renew it through Gov.uk.
The factors that 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.
The Pet Animals Act defines 'the keeping of a pet shop' as:
'Shall be construed as references to the carrying on at premises of any nature (including a private dwelling subject to the necessary planning permission being granted) of a business of selling animals as pets, and as including references to the keeping of animals in any such premises as aforesaid with a view to their being sold in the course of such a business, whether by the keeper thereof or by any other person:
- A person shall not be deemed to keep a pet shop by reason only of his keeping or selling pedigree animals bred by him, or the offspring of an animal kept by him as a pet;
- Where a person carries on a business of selling animals as pets in conjunction with a business of breeding pedigree animals, and the LA is satisfied that the animals so sold by him (in so far as they are not pedigree animals bred by him) are animals which were acquired by him with a view to being used, if suitable, for breeding or show purposes but have subsequently been found by him not to be suitable or required for such use, the LA may, if it thinks fit, direct that the said person shall not be deemed to keep a pet shop by reason only of his carrying on the first mentioned business.
References in this Act to the selling or keeping of animals as pets shall be construed in accordance with the following provisions, that is to say:
- As respects cats and dogs, such references shall be construed as including references to selling or keeping, as the case may be, wholly or mainly for domestic purposes; and
- As respects any animal, such references shall be construed as including references to selling or keeping, as the case may be, for ornamental purposes.
There is no definition of the word 'premises', this having been removed by the Pet Animals (Amendment) Act of 1983, but the sale of animals as pets as a business is prohibited in any part of a street or public place or at a stall or barrow in a market.
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 the latter 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 it is granted and expires on 31st December of that year, in the second case, i.e. the year following that in which it is granted, it comes into force on the 1st January of that year and expires on 31st December of that year.
The Local Authority must attach any conditions which it considers to be necessary or expedient for securing all or any of the following:
- that animals will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable as respects size, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness;
- that animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food and drink and (so far as necessary) visited at suitable intervals;
- that mammals will not be sold at too early an age;
- that all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent the spread among animals of infectious diseases;
- that appropriate steps will be taken in case of fire or other emergency.
Guidance to Local Authorities regarding conditions of licences are given CIEH pet vending model conditions.
Power of entry
Local Authorities, veterinary surgeons or practitioners authorised in writing by the Local Authority for this purpose, may, upon producing his authority if required, inspect a licensed pet shop and any animals there at all reasonable times. Persons wilfully obstructing authorised officers are subject on conviction to a maximum fine of level two.
Disqualification and cancellation
In making a conviction under the Pet Animals Act 1951 or under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 or the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912, the court may cancel any Pet Shop licence held by the person and may disqualify him from holding such a licence, whether or not he currently holds one, for any specified period. The cancellation or disqualification may be suspended by the Court pending an appeal.
Local Authority must refuse licence applications from persons currently disqualified by a court from holding a Pet Shop Licence. This provision differs from that relating to Animal Boarding Establishments where disqualification under other Acts are also relevant.