Selling animals as pets licence

If you or your business sell animals as pets, you will require an animal licence.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have a current licence. If you operate without a licence or fail to follow licensing conditions, you may face a fine and/imprisonment.

Licence summary

A local authority may authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

Apply

To apply, change or renew a licence, you must comply with the licence conditions and guidance.

For an application please contact:

Licensing Partnership
PO Box 182
Sevenoaks
Kent
TN13 1GP

Or email licensing@sevenoaks.gov.uk

Written procedures and records

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018
Selling Animals as Pets: Required procedures and records to be kept

This highlights the written policies, procedures and records that are required to meet the minimum conditions.

With your completed application form you need to submit the following:

  1. all your written procedures (these are all listed below)

By submitting all the above will ensure you will meet the minimum conditions for a license to be granted.

For all Animals - Required written procedures for Selling Animals as Pets

4.1 Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals are met.

Written health care instructions must be provided for staff in case of an incident involving any venomous animal and a visitor or staff member. These procedures must be followed.

4.3 - The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff

The training policy must be reviewed and updated annually, and must include:

  • an annual appraisal
  • planned continued professional development
  • recognition of any knowledge gaps

If no staff are employed, the licence holder must demonstrate their own knowledge development.

5.1 - All areas, equipment and appliances that animals can access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape.

Where a pest problem is identified a control programme must be implemented.

5.5 - Procedures must be in place to make sure housing and any equipment within it is cleaned as often as necessary and good hygiene standards are maintained. The housing must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

6.1 - Animals should only be fed live vertebrate prey in exceptional circumstances (for example, a snake that isn’t eating). A pet shop should only feed live vertebrate prey to the individual animals they have identified as needing it.

A written justification must be:

  • completed and made available to inspectors
  • agreed by senior staff, and include veterinary advice, weighing up the welfare of predator and prey

9.1 - Written procedures must:

(a) be in place and implemented covering:

(i) feeding regimes
(ii) cleaning regimes
(iii) transportation
(iv) the prevention of and control of the spread of disease
(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals
(vi) the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of carcasses)

(b) be in place covering the care of the animals following the suspension or revocation of the licence or during and following an emergency

Written procedures should be proportional to the size and reflect the complexity of the business. The written procedures must be made available to the inspectors.

All people responsible for the care of the animals must be made fully aware of these procedures.

These procedures must demonstrate how the conditions outlined in this guidance are met.

9.3 - Appropriate isolation, in self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals.

Isolation plans must be documented in written procedures.

10.1 - A written emergency plan, acceptable to the local authority, must be in place, known and available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity, and followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all the people and animals on the premises in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.

Suitable emergency response plans must cover arrangements for:

  • emergency evacuation
  • housing
  • husbandry
  • loss of services such as power and water

Emergency evacuation must detail:

  • how (and by what means) animals, staff, and the public evacuate the facility
  • identify designated fire assembly points
  • designated holding areas for animals
  • which animals can and cannot be evacuated (such as aquaria and ponds)

The business must have a procedure for how they would remove all animals in the event of an emergency. 

Emergency plans must consider business continuity management. This includes what to do in the case of life support failure, power cuts or other utility failures that will have direct impacts on animal welfare.

The emergency plan must include a list of any species held on site that are listed on the current Schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. There must be a specific action plan for how they will be removed safely and rehomed immediately and appropriately in the case of emergency.

There must be an effective contingency plan for essential heating, ventilation, and aeration or filtration systems, where they are needed.

10.2 - The plan must include details of the emergency measures to be taken for the extrication of the animals should the premises become uninhabitable and an emergency telephone list that includes the fire service and police.

Note: Your emergency plan should be one to two sides of A4 and cover all the requirements stated above.

For all Animals - Records to be kept by operator and will be checked during inspections
Condition Details of the records to keep
4.2 There must be a record of all staff training
4.3 The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.
The participation of the staff can be shown by:
records of courses they are taking
records of written or online learning
keeping up to date with any research or developments for animals sold as part of the business
annual appraisal documents
5.2 b) Animals must be kept at all times in an environment suitable to their species and condition (including health status and age) with respect to:
(a) their behavioural needs
(b) its situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature
Licence holders must ensure that environmental conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation, lighting conditions are carefully controlled at all times. Conditions must be monitored and remain within the appropriate range for the species housed.
A record should be kept of any instances where conditions fall outside of the appropriate ranges, and what corrective actions were taken. Staff must be able to outline the remedial action taken.
(c) the water quality (where relevant)
For species where water quality forms an integral part of life, or where poor water quality has welfare implications, water quality must be tested and recorded. The frequency of testing must be appropriate to the system, but must be at least weekly. Records must detail any action taken to restore the water to acceptable conditions.
(d) noise levels
(e) light levels
(f) ventilation
6.2 Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.
Abnormalities in eating and drinking habits must be recorded, reported to the appropriate member of staff and acted upon. Appropriate veterinary advice must be sought if necessary.
9.9 Any prescribed medication given must be prescribed for the individual animal by a vet, and each instance of use must be recorded.
9.12 Where euthanasia is not carried out by or under the direct supervision of a vet, these details must be recorded:
the reason why the animal was euthanised
the method used
the member of staff carrying out the euthanasia
These records must be made available at subsequent inspections. This does not apply to fish.
9.14 Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a vet (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.
A system of recording abnormalities must be maintained.
10.1 (Written emergency plan)
Emergency drills must be regularly practised. Practices must be recorded with any failings noted and addressed in the procedures. Drills must be undertaken at least annually, or as determined by fire risk assessments.
All staff must undergo regular training. Records must be kept of such training. Sufficient nominated staff must be properly trained on the use of equipment provided.
2.1 A register must be maintained for all the animals or, in the case of fish, all the groups of fish, on the premises.
The register where they are kept for sale which must include:
(a) the full name of the supplier of the animal
(b) the animal’s sex (where known)
(c) except in the case of fish, the animal’s age (where known)
(d) details of any veterinary treatment (where known)
(e) the date of birth of the animal or, if the animal was acquired by the licence holder, the date of its acquisition
(f) the date of sale of the animal by the licence holder
(g) the date of the animal’s death (if applicable)
The register can be a stand-alone dedicated document or can be business records, such as invoices and proof of sales receipts. It must accurately represent acquisitions and sales. This can be a centralised system but must be accessible in store.
Deaths can be recorded as part of daily observational records or as a standalone document. Actions taken following any unusual mortality must also be recorded. For fish, deaths should be recorded when mortality exceeds 5% of animals on site, over a 24 hour period.
The register must include details of the supplier of the animals.
The register must be available for inspection by the appropriate authority.
For all Animals - Veterinary (will be checked at the inspection)
Condition Details
9.3 If the isolation facility is at another location, the licence holder must be able to show that the location is prepared to provide such facilities - for example, a letter from the veterinary practice.
9.8

The licence holder must register with a vet with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that vet must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.
The vet’s details must be displayed where they can be easily seen by all staff members.
This must include:
name
address
telephone number
out of hours telephone number
Where there is a lack of local veterinary expertise with regard to the species being sold then a competent secondary veterinary practice must provide support to the primary practice.

Dogs only - Part C: Specific required written procedures for selling of dogs

7.0 - Each adult dog must have a documented daily exercise regime including lead exercise and free running.

7.0 - A documented programme must be available setting out enrichment both inside and outside including grooming, socialisation and play.

7.0 - A daily socialisation and habituation programme must be documented and implemented.

8.0 - A protocol must be in place for dealing with difficult dogs, to include members of staff appropriately trained in dog handling and the use of appropriate equipment.

8.0 - A plan must be in place to provide for additional enrichment and socialisation for any puppies that are held for longer than one month.

9.0 - Premises must have procedures in place for providing for overnight care and during premises closures.

Dogs only - Part C: Specific records to keep for selling of dogs
Condition Details
5.1 The inspector must be shown records of the matings for dogs and cats including:
the location of mating or fertilisation (including where this may have occurred on other premises)
the identity of the sire (where known)
how and where the animals are born, reared and kept until sale
6.0 Suitable diet for dogs
Adult dogs must be fed at least once daily and in accordance with the individual dog’s needs. Dogs must be fed a complete diet appropriate to their age, breed, activity level and stage in the breeding cycle. You must:
keep a record of the type, quantity, frequency of food each dog receives must be kept
6.0 Monitoring dog’s diet
Weekly records of weight and body condition score (BCS) must be kept to ensure the health of puppies and adult dogs and to allow any issues to be tracked.
7.0 Monitoring dog’s behaviour and training
Each adult dog must have a documented daily exercise regime including lead exercise and free running.
7.0 Enrichment for dogs
A documented programme must be available setting out enrichment both inside and outside including grooming, socialisation and play.
7.0 Dog behaviour
A daily socialisation and habituation programme must be documented and implemented.
9.0 Preventative treatment for dogs
Routine and documented treatment must be in place for internal and external parasites (adult dogs and puppies must be wormed and given flea and tick treatment as appropriate).

Cats - Part D: Specific required written procedures for selling of cats

7.0 - A daily socialisation and habituation programme must be documented and implemented for kittens less than 12 weeks.

8.0 - A plan must be in place to provide for additional enrichment and socialisation for any kittens that are held for longer than one month.
 

Cats - Part D: Specific records to keep for selling of cats
Condition Details
5.1 The inspector must be shown records of the matings for dogs and cats including:
the location of mating or fertilisation (including where this may have occurred on other premises)
the identity of the sire (where known)
how and where the animals are born, reared and kept until sale
6.0 Monitoring cat’s diet
Monthly records of weight and BCS must be kept to ensure the health of adult cats and to allow any issues to be tracked.

Rabbits - Part E: Specific required written procedures for selling of rabbits

5.0 - Where rabbits are housed on a retail premises, additional provision must be made for regular exercise. This can be provided by a programme of regular exercise outside of the housing, or housing that provides a significant permanent area in addition to the required area.

Birds - Part J: Specific required written procedures for selling of birds

8.0 - Social species must be kept in social groups suitable to the species. Where this is not possible, special attention must be paid to specific human interaction and they must be provided with extra enrichment. A plan must be in place for all singly housed birds.
 

Birds - Part J: Specific records to keep for selling of birds
Condition Details
5.0 Light for birds
Species requiring UVB (ultraviolet B) lighting must have appropriate UVB emitting lamps manufactured for use with birds. These must be replaced according to manufacturer’s recommendations, and effective provision must be monitored through the use of a UV (ultraviolet) meter. Evidence to this effect must be demonstrable to inspectors.

Reptiles and Amphibians - Part K: Specific required written procedures for selling of reptiles and amphibians

5.0 - Appropriate temperatures for each species that is in stock or commonly stocked by the licence holder must be documented in written procedures.

At a minimum, the written procedures must document:

  • ambient day temperature range
  • minimum ambient night temperature
  • basking zone temperature (where appropriate)
  • UV requirements (where appropriate)

5.0 - There must be a programme of wastewater management and treatment for all amphibians to ensure no microorganisms are accidentally released. 

Reptiles and Amphibians - Part K: Specific records to keep for selling of reptiles and amphibians
Condition Details
5.0 Temperature for reptiles and amphibians 
Temperature must be checked daily on initial setup of a vivarium. Once the temperatures are stable, where thermostatically controlled heat sources are used, assessment can be reduced to once per week. Alternatively, an automatic system can be used that monitors temperatures and warns if parameters are outside of an acceptable range.
Records should be kept of instances where parameters fall outside of the appropriate range and what corrective actions were taken. There is no requirement to record ongoing conditions that fall within the appropriate range.
5.0 Temperature for reptiles and amphibians 
Any deviations from the expected temperature range must be recorded along with the action taken to ensure the appropriate temperature is provided for the animal.
5.0 Temperature for reptiles and amphibians 
Where rack systems or other vivaria are utilised in thermally stable heated rooms, temperature monitoring of one tray per level is acceptable. It must be accompanied by spot checks that demonstrate that the recorded temperatures are representative of the other rack systems in the shared space, and that temperatures are maintained at the correct ranges for the species housed within. During inspection, licence holders must be able to demonstrate that this is the case.
5.0 Light for reptiles and amphibians 
Species requiring UVB lighting must have appropriate UVB emitting lamps manufactured for use with reptiles and amphibians. Replacement equipment, parts or bulbs must be fitted according to manufacturer’s recommendations. On installation of a new lamp, a UV meter (preferably a UVI meter) must be used to ensure adequate and appropriate UVB levels are provided at the level the animal is located. Evidence of the frequency of lamp changes and assessment of UVB output on installation must be demonstrable to inspectors.
6.0 Feeding reptiles and amphibians
Licence holders must maintain written records of feeding for all snakes, including hatchlings, which must be made available to buyers and inspectors.
Fish - Part L: Specific records to keep for selling of fish
Condition Details
5.0 Temperature for fish
Temperatures must be monitored daily with any deviations from the expected range recorded and the remedial measures being undertaken outlined.
5.0 Water quality for fish
Water quality must be checked weekly and records kept of results for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Water testing must take place in stocked tanks.
5.0 Water quality for fish
Centralised systems must be tested weekly. 10% of individually filtered tanks or vats must be tested weekly. Testing may be via electronic means for relevant parameters. If a visual inspection of aquaria or vats indicates unusual behaviour or deaths, any necessary remedial action must be undertaken and recorded.
6.0 Feeding fish
The feeding behaviour of groups of fish must be recorded if such behaviour changes significantly and appropriate advice obtained from a competent specialist when appropriate.
9.0 Protecting fish from pain, suffering, injury and disease
In the case of fish, it is sufficient to check daily and maintain records limited to observed signs of ill health and disease. Where problems are identified, remedial action must be taken.

The Licensing Partnership will write to you at least three months before your licence expires, to remind you to renew it. You must apply for a renewal licence at least 10 weeks before the current licence expires if you wish to continue to operate without a break in trading.

Fees and charges

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

Cat 1 (fish):

  • new application £787
  • renewal £508

Cat 2 (birds, small furries, reptiles etc):

  • new application £929
  • renewal £633

Cat 3 (kittens, puppies):

  • new application £1,214
  • renewal £930
  • mid-term licence visit (recharged to licence holder) £160
  • re-assessment of star rating £160
  • complaint visit (recharged to licence holder) £160
  • duplicate licence £25.50
  • minor variation (minor changes to licence not requiring a site visit) £170
  • major variation (more substantial changes to licence requiring a site visit £421
  • general admin charge - for work on applications which cannot be resolved/made valid (to be deducted from any refund of application fee - where this exceeds the application fee then no refund shall be given) £46

Eligibility criteria

You need to be eligible to apply for a licence, you will find information on persons who may not apply in the regulation summary below.

Regulation summary

The regulation relating to animal activities requiring a licence.

Application evaluation process

Fees will be payable for applications and conditions will be attached.

The licence runs for one to three years from the date of issue.

You will receive a one to five-star rating on your licence, with a five-star rating the highest possible. The rating will be an accurate reflection of the level of risk of your business and the animal welfare standards you adopt.

Once we grant a licence, there are separate procedures for varying, suspending or revoking it as well as requesting a review of your star rating.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing Partnership.

Failed application redress

If we refuse your application, The Licensing Partnership will notify you in writing stating the grounds for refusal. You will have 28 days following the notice of refusal to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Gov.UK website).

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