Animal licences

A new law came into effect in October 2018 that allows you to apply for one licence, which can cover one or more of the following activities:

  • Home boarding of dogs
  • Day care for dogs
  • Boarding for cats
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Grazing and keeping dangerous wild animals are covered by separate permits.

Apply for a new licence or renew

We strongly recommend you consult the relevant guidance for each licensable activity before submitting your application – see below. This will ensure you can meet all the conditions that will be imposed on the licence.

Complete the application form and return it our Commercial and Licensing team at commercial@cambridge.gov.uk.

Fee structure

Animal boarding

  • Fee on application: £76
  • Up to 10 animals:
    • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £129
    • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £129
  • 11 to 30 animals:
    • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £172
    • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £172
  • 31 to 60 animals:
    • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £215
    • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £215
  • 61 to 99 animals:
    • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £258
    • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £258
  • 100 or more animals:
    • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £301
    • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £301
  • Maintenance fee: £125 (one year), £250 (two years) or £375 (three years)
  • Copy of licence or change of details not requiring an inspection: £10.50

Dog breeding

  • Fee on application: £76
  • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £43 plus vet's fee
  • Maintenance fee: £125 (one year), £250 (two years) or £375 (three years)
  • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £43 plus vet's fee
  • Copy of licence or change of details not requiring an inspection: £10.50

Riding establishment

  • Fee on application: £76
  • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £43 plus vet's fee
  • Maintenance fee: £125 (one year), £250 (two years) or £375 (three years)
  • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £43 plus vet's fee
  • Copy of licence or change of details not requiring an inspection: £10.50

Selling animals as pets

  • Fee on application: £76
  • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £215
  • Maintenance fee: £125 (one year), £250 (two years) or £375 (three years)
  • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £215
  • Copy of licence or change of details not requiring an inspection: £10.50

Exhibiting animals

  • Fee on application: £76
  • Initial rating or re-rating inspection fee: £129
  • Maintenance fee: £375 (three years)
  • Variation of a licence requiring a re-inspection: £129
  • Copy of licence or change of details not requiring an inspection: £10.50

Notes

The fee on application, which covers the cost of administration, must be made with the application. This can be paid by cheque (made payable to ‘Cambridge City Council’) or by debit/credit card by calling Cashiers on (01223) 457700.

The initial rating or re-rating inspection fee covers the cost of the inspecting officer’s time inspecting the premises to be licensed and for considering the applicant’s compliance with the regulations and licence conditions. This fee will be paid at the same time as when you submit your application.

The maintenance fee covers the cost of officers undertaking unannounced visits to your premises, general administration and completing annual returns to central government. This fee will be due after the licence has been issued you we will invoice you the amount due.

An additional fee will be payable on applications for dog breeding and riding establishments where we are legally required to employ the services of a veterinary surgeon to undertake an inspection. Please contact us for more details.

Where an animal welfare establishment conducts more than one licensable activity on the same site, only one application fee will be payable and the total fee chargeable will be calculated by adding the combined charges of the activity with the highest fee to 50% of the applicable maintenance fee for the additional activities.

Guidance

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has provided guidance on the conditions attached to animal welfare licences:

Evaluation

We aim to process licence applications within ten weeks of receipt of the form and fee on application.

Once received an officer will undertake a review of your application and will then contact you to discuss any issues noted before arranging an inspection of the premises you wish to be licensed.  During the inspection the officer will be examining whether you can adequately demonstrate compliance with all the conditions attached to animal establishment licences.  These conditions fall into two schedules:

  • General conditions that will be added to all licences;
  • Conditions specific to the activity being provided e.g. home boarding of dogs, pet shops etc. 

Compliance with the conditions will be mandatory; where these are not observed then a licence cannot be issued. The conditions are listed in Defra guidance listed above.

Following completion of the inspection the inspecting officer will undertake a risk-rating of your premises and award a star rating as detailed below. 

Length of licence

The licence will last between 1 to 3 years dependent on the applicant’s performance against the new standards and a risk-rating performed by the inspecting officer.  Only those businesses deemed to be of low risk and meeting the higher standards will be able to obtain a licence lasting 3 years.

Star rating scheme

Similar to how food businesses are rated on their hygiene standards, animal establishments will be given a star rating between 1 and 5 based on their welfare standards and risk rating:

  • 1 star: Low or high risk with minor failings, will be given a one-year licence
  • 2 stars: High risk but meeting minimum welfare standards, will be given a one-year licence
  • 3 stars: Low risk, meeting minimum welfare standards, will be given a two-year licence
  • 4 stars: High risk but meeting higher welfare standards, will be given a two-year licence
  • 5 stars: low risk and meeting higher welfare standards, will be given a three-year licence

Establishments will be visited unannounced at least once during the lifetime of their licence.

Welfare standards

‘Minor failings’ relate to businesses that are marginally failing to meet the minimum standards.

‘Minimum standards’ are those that laid down in the relevant schedules and guidance.

‘Higher welfare standards’ are classified into two types: ‘required’ and ‘optional’. 

In order for your business to meet the higher standards you will need to comply with all the compulsory higher standards as well as a set number of optional standards.

It is at the discretion of the licence holder whether they wish to meet the higher standards, but please be advised that this is the only way to gain a higher star rating.

Risk

Whether a business is classed as high or low risk is dependent on a number of factors including: compliance history; appreciation of welfare standards; appreciation of hazards/risks; welfare management procedures; and, where applicable, the business being certified by an UKAS-accredited body.  The inspecting officer will determine the risk-rating following the inspection. Further information on the risk scoring criteria is available in the Defra guidance linked above.

Appeals against star rating and request for re-ratings

There will be the facility for a licence holder to appeal their star rating as well as request a re-rating, the latter of which will attract a charge.  Should an officer need to make a re-inspection due to concerns found on an inspection this will also carry a charge.

Enforcement

The regulations require that licensing authorities can only grant a licence where there is sufficient evidence that the minimum standards are met.  In addition, powers are available for licensing authorities to revoke or suspend licences where they are satisfied that animal welfare is not being observed.

If we decide not to grant a licence or we decide to vary, suspend or revoke your licence without your agreement then we will inform you in writing. You will have 7 working days to submit a representation in respect of our decision. We will then have a further 7 working days to respond to this and inform you whether we uphold or cancel our decision. If you are still unhappy with our decision after this then you will have 28 days to lodge an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal.

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