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Animal welfare licences

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The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019

New legislation was introduced in April 2020 to tackle the low-welfare, high volume supply of puppies and kittens, by banning their commercial third-party sale in England.

'Lucy's Law' means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. If a business sells puppies or kittens without a licence, they could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

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

These regulations provide a single licensing regime for a number of animal activities.

The following activities need to be licensed:

  • Selling animals as pets
  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats and dogs (including day care)
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The Regulations set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with. A ratings system has been introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating dependant on specified criteria.

The Regulations and further guidance can be found here Animal Activities Licensing Guidance (opens in new tab)

An application form can be downloaded here  Application Form (PDF) [288KB]

The fees for animal licences can be viewed here  Table of Fees (PDF) [16KB]

A list of existing animal activity licences can be viewed on our  Public Register page

If you have a licence for "hiring of horses" and wish to change the schedule of animals please complete this form  Application to vary schedule (PDF) [82KB]

Unlicensed animal establishments

The Council has a graduated approach to enforcement and will endeavour to work with businesses/individuals to ensure they are correctly licensed.

The Council will use a variety of investigatory techniques to identify unlicensed businesses/individuals. 

As part of our investigations Torridge District Council can obtain sales information from a variety of websites. We may also conduct "Test Purchasing" in order to identify unlicensed animal establishments in the district.

Contact us

If you have any queries, or require help with your application, please contact the Licensing Team.

  • email:
  • phone: 01237 428700
  • post: Licensing Team, Torridge District Council, Riverbank House, Bideford EX39 2QG

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