Animal licences

Changes to Animal Welfare Licensing

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 This link will take you to an external website...  under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into force on 1 October 2018. The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new consolidated licensing regime to control the following licensable activities:

If you have a current licence under one of the above activities it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations. 

Applications for a licence under the new regulations should be made no later than 3 months before the current licence is due to expire or you intend to commence operating to allow time for the application to be dealt with. Application forms are available on the right hand side of this page.

Duration of licences 

Under the new regulations, a licence will last for either 1, 2 or 3 years*. During the application inspection we will consider the two main aspects that govern the length of the licence:

  • Firstly, the welfare standards observed, which are based upon assessment of a range of criteria, including records, staffing, the environment, diet, and the protection of the animals from pain and suffering. The inspection findings will determine whether there are 'minor failings', 'minimum standards' are achieved or 'higher standards' have been met.
  • Secondly, the risk, which is largely based on the history of compliance of the business, and also upon the licence holder's appreciation of hazards and risks. The overall risk will be determined as being either 'low' or 'higher'.

The inspection findings will be fed into the following scoring matrix which determines both the licence duration, and a star rating which will be given to a business.

Scoring Matrix (69.5 KB) JPEG image

* All Exhibition of Animals Licences last for 3 years.

Licence Conditions

The conditions which will be attached to licences are in Schedules 2 to 7 of the regulations This link will take you to an external website...  and will depend on the licensable activities. We cannot change these conditions as they are already set in the legislation.

Veterinary Inspections

The council will arrange a veterinary inspection on all new applications for the following licensable activities -

  • Breeding of dogs
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Hiring out horses

Riding establishments will still be required to have all horses used under the act annually inspected by a local authority appointed veterinary surgeon.

A veterinary inspection may be required upon new applications, inspections or renewals of a license for exhibiting animals depending on an assessment of the competencies of our Officers to carry out this inspection without a veterinarian present.

The council will recharge the licence holder for all costs incurred in arranging these veterinary inspections.

Dangerous Wild Animals and Zoos

The new regulations do not have any impact upon licences issued under The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. 

Enquire about a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence.

Enquire about a Zoo Licence.

Exhibiting Animals 

Under the new regulations, licensing for exhibiting animals passed to South Oxfordshire District Council on 01 October 2018. These licences will last for 3 years.


Please find our current fees here. You must make payment in full before your application will be considered. Please enclose a cheque with your application or call Environmental Protection to make payment by debit or credit card.

Payment can also be made in person at the council offices . Our cash office is only open between 10am and 12pm, Monday to Friday.

Last reviewed: 27 - 08 - 2019

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