Animal Activity Licensing

Do you have a query regarding animal activity licensing?

If you have a query regarding animal activity licencsing, please email We aim to respond to your email within five working days of receipt. 

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

New legislation relating to Animal Activity Licensing is now in force. Animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops, riding establishments and people that keep or train animals for exhibitions will now be covered under a single type of licence (known as an 'animal activity licence'), with new nationally-set licence conditions.

Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with new conditions, and will be assessed before the licence is granted to make sure they can meet them.

Harborough District Council aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks of receiving it. It is possible that the process may take longer, for example if further information is required from the applicant or if it proves difficult to make the arrangements for the inspection.

Existing licence holders should apply 10 weeks prior to their expiry date to ensure they receive their new licences in good time and wish to continue to operate the licensable activity without a break.

The fees for each licence are set out on our animal welfare fees page. These are broken down into two separate fees, one for the application and one for granting the licence.

Application Fee – you will need to submit a fully completed application form along with any supporting documents and pay the application fee. This fee covers the processing of your application and the initial inspection.

Grant Fee – If you are able to demonstrate that you meet the new licence conditions, you will need to pay the grant fee in order to validate and receive your licence.

You can apply for an animal welfare licence by downloading and completing the relevant application form.

Please select the type of licence you would like to apply for on the left hand side of this page.

Completed application forms should be emailed to or posted to Regulatory Services, Harborough District Council, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7AG.

To assist applicants, guidance notes and conditions are available on each of the animal activities which can be accesed via the links on the left hand side of this page. These contain further information on what will be required to meet the conditions. Relevant conditions will  be included on the granted licence.

The guidance also provides advice as to what steps applicants can take to possibly achieve a higher star rating. Once a completed application including payment has been received, we will examine the information provided and then arrange for an inspection to be undertaken.

All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

1. A specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This would include the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.

2. Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.

3. An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the Inspector to examine.

4. Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

The premises itself will also be assessed so we can be sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

Based upon the information, we will assess using the risk rating and award stars. Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars.

If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, they can make improvements to address highlighted issues, and ask for a re-inspection.

Premises with a lower star rating are not necessarily ones to avoid as there are other factors that have to be considered, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses are likely to be assessed as slightly higher risk simply because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.

If customers have any concerns, please contact us prior to making a purchase or making booking arrangements.