Apply for a licence for an animal welfare establishment

A licence is required when:

  • animals that have been abandoned or otherwise separated from their keepers, or
  • sick, injured or captured animals that were previously living in a wild state 

are kept for their care.  

This activity only requires a licence if a threshold number of animals are kept in the animal welfare establishment (AWE). This threshold will be met if:

  • 5 dogs, or
  • 5 equines, or
  • 5 animals comprising a mix of dogs and equines, or
  • 8 animals (of any type – except any animal under the age of 4 months born within the AWE or received into the AWE with its mother) 

are kept in the animal welfare establishment at the same time for their care.

The premises will be inspected by an approved officer and vet, if necessary, before a licence is granted.

Apply for an animal welfare establishment licence


A fee of £186 will be charged on submission of an application. You will need a credit or debit card available to make payment.

There will be an additional cost to cover vet fees. This will not be payable on submission of the application, but at a later date once a site visit is conducted.


You must not be disqualified from owning, keeping, taking possession of, transporting, keeping or using animals needs more information.

You may require planning permission.

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