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New regulations to improve animal welfare

Puppy for sale graphic

A new animal licensing regime came into force in England from 1 October 2018, with the purpose of improving welfare standards.

The previous range of animal licensing regulations were replaced by Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Assessment will take place of existing licences under the new regime before the present licence expires.

We will inspect premises and, according to their risk rating, assess premises as either high or low risk. We award a business between one and five stars, based on meeting the minimum or higher standards detailed in the guidance. We will display this on the licence and determine the duration of the licence, as well as the frequency of further inspections.

The new regime provides licensing authorities with additional powers for safeguarding animal welfare, as well as severe penalties for those carrying out a business without a licence.

Emma Brass, Eden District Council’s Principal Environmental Health Officer, said: “Under the new regulations, previously exempt activities, such as small scale domestic dog breeders and dog day care, are now included. This means that advertisements of a puppy for sale should now include the breeder’s licence number issued by us to show they are a licensed breeder. In the same way, those providing home boarding and dog day care will now need to display their licence number.

“If you are buying a pet, it should be from a licensed vendor who can demonstrate they are meeting the schedules of the new Act. Remember, a responsible breeder or pet vendor will always welcome a potential buyer asking questions about an animal’s welfare. If members of the public or businesses have any queries about the new Act, please contact us and specific guidance will be provided.”

Being a pet owner is a big responsibility, so make sure you get your pet from a licensed breeder or pet vendor to avoid unscrupulous traders who advertise factory-farmed animals via the internet or social media.

A pet is for life and not just for Christmas

The Animal Welfare Foundation and RSPCA recommend that you do not buy a puppy from anyone other than a licensed breeder. You should see the puppy in the place where he/she was born with its mother.

These new Government regulations that apply only in England aim to modernise and raise standards of animal welfare. They should also strengthen our ability to crack down on unscrupulous operators.

The activities requiring business licensing by us are:

  • Selling of animals as pets.
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs.
  • Hiring out of horses for either riding or instruction in riding.
  • Either breeding three or more litters or puppies in any 12-month period; or breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs (for example, profiting from the sale of puppies).
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition, educational, or entertainment purposes.
  • The provision of accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs relates to providing boarding for cats, providing boarding in kennels for dogs, providing home boarding for dogs, and providing day care for dogs.

There are a number of exemptions, or where other legislation may be pertinent, for example, a circus, or animals requiring a Dangerous Wild Animal licence.

For more information on animal licences, including the level of fees, visit or call 01768 817817.