Dangerous wild animals licence

If you wish to keep an animal in South Derbyshire that is classed as dangerous under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 you must obtain a licence from us. This requirement does not apply to zoos, circuses or pet shops.

A person is classed as the keeper of the animal if they have it in their possession. They remain the 'keeper' and therefore are responsible for the animal, even if it escapes or it is being transported etc.  

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguards the welfare of the animals.

  • Application process
    To apply you need to complete a dangerous wild animals licence application form. (pdf, 176kb) It is recommended that you read the dangerous wild animal licence conditions (doc, 208kb) before completing the form.

    If we have not contacted you to arrange an inspection within 14 days of your application, contact us to check that your application was correctly made and received. We will endeavour to issue a licence within a period of 28 days, although due to the reliance on third parties and/or if our Licensing and Appeals Sub-Committee need to determine the application it can take longer than this.

    Tacit consent will not apply.
  • What conditions will be attached to a licence?
    When obtaining a licence you will need to follow a set of conditions that relate to record keeping, permitted number of animals, disease prevention and control, accommodation, location, transportation, and ownership amongst other things. Where appropriate, we are also able to impose additional conditions for individual premises. The conditions can be found in the related documents section to the right of the page.

    We may also vary the licence at any time by specifying any new conditions of the licence or varying or revoking any condition of it (exceptions apply to those conditions specified by section 1(6) of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
  • How long does a licence last?
    Licences are valid for a period of two years and shall then expire. Licences will come into force immediately upon their being granted, except for renewals of a licence applied for before the expiry of the licence they are to replace, in which case the subsequent licence will come into force from the date of expiry of the licence it replaces. Providing the renewal application is submitted before the expiry date of the licence, the existing licence will remain effective until such time as the renewal application is determined.

    Licence holders will receive a written reminder from us approximately two months prior to the expiry of their licence. Applicants should apply prior to the expiry of their licence, and in good time. In the event of the death of anyone to whom a licence has been granted, the licence shall continue in force for a period of 28 days as if it had been granted to the personal representatives of the deceased. After a period of 28 days the licence expires, unless an application is made for a new licence within that time, in which case it continues until the new application is determined.
  • Offences and penalties
    The following offences and penalties apply:

    - Any person found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence shall be subject to a fine not exceeding level 5. 
    - Any person found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject to a fine not exceeding level 5.
    - Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or authorised veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon shall be subject to a fine not exceeding level 5.

    Where a person is convicted of any offence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, or of any offence under:

    - The Protection of Animals Acts 1911
    - The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925
    - The Pet Animals Act 1951
    - The Animals (Cruel Poisons) Act 1962
    - The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
    - The Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970
    - Breeding of Dogs Act 1973
    - Animal Welfare Act 2006, Sections 4,5,6(1)(2), 7 to 9 and 11.

    The Court by which he is convicted may cancel any licence held by him under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, and may, whether or not he is the holder of such a licence, disqualify him from keeping any dangerous wild animal for such period as the Court thinks fit. The cancellation or disqualification may be suspended by the Court in the event of an appeal.
  • Rights of entry and powers of seizure
    We may authorise competent persons to enter premises either licensed under the Act or specified in an application for a licence, at all reasonable times, producing if required their authority, and the authorised officers may inspect these premises and any animal in them.

    In addition to powers of inspection, the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 also gives us the powers to seize any animal being kept on premises which are unlicensed or failing to comply with a condition of their licence. Animals may then be either retained in our possession or be destroyed or otherwise disposed of and the authority shall not be liable to pay compensation to any person in respect of these powers. Where we incur any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal than the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.
  • Regulation summary
    Local authorities must have regard to the following when considering an application for a DWA licence:

    - Public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise.
    - The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and is adequately insured.
    - Animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping.
    - Accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to the construction, size, temperature lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness, and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation.
    - Animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals.
    - Appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in the case of fire or other emergencies.
    - Appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases.
    - While any animal cornered is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise.
  • Rights of appeal
    Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates’ Court who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.