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My Norwich

Licensing - Animal activity licence

Record details

Under the new animal welfare regulations the following animal activities are now covered under a single animal activity licence with new nationally-set conditions:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Boarding for cats or dogs (including kennels, home boarding and day care for dogs)
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibitions

Zoo licences have not been affected by the new regulations.

All pet shop and animal boarding licences under the previous licensing regime expired on 31 December 2018.

Licence guidance and conditions

Before starting your application please read the appropriate  Animal activities licensing: statutory guidance for local authorities The guidance explains the conditions that businesses need to meet in order to receive an animal activities licence.

You will also need to read the following regulation schedules:

We will not refund the application fee if you fail to meet the basic requirements.

You will need to sign a declaration at the end of the application form confirming you have read the specific schedules of The Animal Welfare Regulations and the general and activity-specific licence conditions for the relevant activities.


Animal activity licence fees are broken down into two parts:

  1. An application fee payable at the time of application. This fee covers the costs associated with determining the application to the point that it is ready to issue.
  2. A grant fee to cover remaining costs which is payable at the point that the application has been determined.

Please note that a licence will not be issued until all necessary fees have been paid, ie the application fee, grant fee and veterinary fees (where applicable).

A single animal activity licence will cover all animal activities carried out at the specified premises.

Licence fees

Apply for or renew a licence

You will need to complete the online application form and submit it to us with a plan of your establishment and the application fee.

See guidance on drawing an animal activity plan 

We recommend that you check you have the correct permissions to use the property or premises for the business applied for, such as planning consent and housing permissions. It is important to do this before applying, as the application fee is not refundable.

Before you complete the form you will be asked to set up an account. This will enable you to save the form as you go along and track it’s progress in real time.

Apply for a licence

Questions and answers

Read our frequently asked questions for further information regarding animal activity licensing.

Licensing decision

When we have received an application we will:

  • consider whether the applicant is a ‘fit and proper person’ to carry out the licensable activity and meet the licence conditions, and
  • inspect the site of the licensable activity and assess whether it is likely to meet the licence conditions

A decision will then be made either to grant or refuse a licence. If granted, the length of the licence will be set at either 1, 2 or 3 years dependent on the compliance history, appreciation of hazards and risks, and welfare management.

We will aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks. Applicants can appeal a decision to refuse a licence, however this must be done within 28 days of being notified of the decision.

Star ratings

Following the completion of an inspection, the premises will be awarded a star rating between 1 and 5, based on the welfare standards and risk rating as set out in the relevant regulations and guidance document.

New businesses are likely to achieve a lower star rating than established businesses simply because they are unable to demonstrate a history of compliance.

Star rating matrix
  • 1 star: Low or high risk business that is not meeting all of the minimum welfare standards, will be given a one-year licence
  • 2 stars: high risk business but meeting minimum welfare standards, will be given a one-year licence
  • 3 stars: low risk business meeting minimum welfare standards, will be given a two-year licence
  • 4 stars: high risk business but meeting the higher welfare standards, will be given a two-year licence
  • 5 stars: low risk business meeting the higher welfare standards, will be given a three-year licence

There will be at least one unannounced visit to a premises during the lifetime of the licence.

Appeal a star rating

If you are unhappy with the star rating awarded by the inspecting officer, you can lodge an appeal to us (by email or by post) within 21 days of the licence issue date. A decision on the appeal will then be made within 21 days.

If you have made improvements to the business since the inspection and wish to be reassessed, you should apply for a reinspection.

Request a reinspection for rerating purposes

Where a rating of 1 star to 4 stars has been given and accepted, you can request a rerating inspection which will be carried out within three months of the request.

The star rating can go up, down or stay the same. It is therefore important to ensure that all necessary improvements have been made to address the issues identified during the previous inspection, before requesting a rerating.

There is a fee for this service which will be payable at the time of the request.

Public register

A public register is maintained which details:

  • licence unique reference number
  • type of licence (new or renewal)
  • trading name
  • district postcode eg NR1 of business premises
  • licence start date
  • licence expiry date
  • licence category
  • star rating

If you believe that a business is trading without the required animal activity licence please alert us by completing an online comment form giving as much detail as possible.

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