Pet shop licence
The provisions of the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended by the Pet Animals Act 1951 (Amendment) Act 1983) requires a person keeping a pet shop to obtain a licence. It additionally regulates the sale of pet animals from licensed pet shops and provides for powers of inspection by our authorised officers at all reasonable times.
The law also regulates the sale of pet animals from licensed pet shops and provides powers of inspection by our authorised officers at all reasonable times.
Trade in pet animals is not permissible from any part of a street, or public place or at a stall or barrow in a market.
- ExemptionsA person is not classed as keeping a pet shop if they only keep or sell pedigree animals which are bred by him, or are the offspring of an animal kept as a pet. Contact one of our officers if you are in the business of breeding pedigree animals and in conjunction with the business, sell animals as pets, that were originally acquired with a view to being used, if suitable, for breeding or show purposes, but have been subsequently found not to be suitable. In these circumstances, you may be entitled to an exemption from gaining a licence from us. Pet animals include any vertebrate animals - fish, amphibian, reptile, bird or mammal. 'Pedigree animal' means an animal of any description which is by its breeding eligible for registration with a recognised club or society keeping a register of animals of that description.
Applicants for a pet shop licence must not be disqualified from keeping a pet shop.
A licence fee is payable on application.
- Application processYou can apply online via these links or complete a selling pets as animals application form. (pdf, 103kb)
- Apply to run a pet shop
- Renew an existing pet shop licence
- Make a change to your existing pet shop licence
Tacit consent does not apply - you cannot start to operate a pet shop until a licence is granted. 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 aim to issue a licence within 28 days, however, if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications.
- What conditions will be attached to a licence?In November 2014, we adopted the Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing produced by Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH). The pet shop licence holder will have to comply with the conditions at all times. The conditions cover accommodation requirements, the welfare of the animals, fire precautions and the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases. Additional conditions must be complied with specific to the type of animal for sale.
Please be aware that the Council can also impose additional conditions for individual premises where appropriate.
- How long does a licence last?A licence shall according to the applicants' requirements relate to the year in which it is granted or to the next following year. A licence year operates from 1 January to 31 December, however, you can apply at any time during that period. Licence holders will receive a written reminder from us prior to the expiry of their licence. Licences must be renewed prior to their expiry if the premises are to continue as a pet shop.
- Records required to be keptA livestock purchase and sales register must be maintained in accordance with the above conditions. The register should be available for inspection by a Council authorised officer or an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner.
- Rights of appeal and entryAny 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’ Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper. Authorised officers of the Council and/or authorised veterinary surgeons/practitioners may enter and inspect a pet shop at any reasonable time.
- Offences and pentaltiesThe following offences and penalties apply to pet shops:
- Anybody found guilty of keeping a pet shop without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding level 2 (£500) or to three months imprisonment or both
- Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding level 2 (£500) or to three months imprisonment or both
- Anybody found guilty of carrying on a business of selling animals as pets in any part of a street or public place, or at a stall or barrow in a market, shall be guilty of an offence, subject to a fine not exceeding level 2 (£500) or to three months imprisonment or both
- Anybody found guilty of selling an animal as a pet to a person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be under the age of twelve years, shall be guilty of an offence not exceeding level 2 (£500) or to three months imprisonment or both
- Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an inspector, or authorised veterinary surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers of entry may be subject to a fine not exceeding level 2 (£500).
Where a person is convicted of any offence under the Pet Animals Act 1951 or any offence under any of sections 4,5,6(1),(2),7 to 9, and 11 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the court by which he is convicted may cancel any licence held by him under the Pets Animals Act 1951, and may, whether or not he is the holder of such a licence, disqualify him from keeping a pet shop for such period as the court thinks fit.