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Animal Boarding Establishment Licence

Any person that wishes to provide accommodation for other people's dogs and cats must obtain a licence under Animal Welfare Act 2006.

This includes offering home boarding, dog day care and running kennels and catteries.

Animal Welfare Regulations are guidelines under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and cover licensing of various activities that involve animals. The Regulations came into force on 1 October 2018.

The following activities also require a licence:

View our public register to see the licensed animal boarding and home boarding establishments in South Somerset. 

  1. Applying for a licence

    Any individual can apply for a licence if they can demonstrate that they are:

    • a fit and proper person
    • not disqualified from holding a licence (in accordance with Regulation 11 and Schedule 8)

    Apply for an animal boarding establishment licence.

    You will need to submit the application fee at the same time as your application.

    When the length of your licence is known you will have to submit a licence fee payment.

    Fees where one premises is licensed i.e. combined kennels and cattery, independent home boarding business etc.

    Fees arranging the provision of boarding where there are host families i.e. franchises.

  2. Will tacit consent apply?

    No. It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

    We aim to process applications within 10 weeks of receiving them, but if we don’t meet this target your application won’t be granted automatically. This means that you can’t start the activity of running an animal boarding establishment until a licence has been granted.

  3. What happens once I've submitted my application?

    Once we have received your application, we will contact you to arrange an inspection.

    If you have submitted an application which requires a Veterinary Inspection we will contact you to arrange that.

    During an inspection, we will check that you comply with the standard conditions and the conditions for each activity you have applied for:

    You will need to meet the requirements of all the minimum standards, although minor failings may be noted/recorded providing they do not compromise the welfare of the animals.

    The premises will also be risk rated. 

    The conditions require you to keep and maintain documents and records.

    Checklists for the documents are available:

    Each licensable activity (except keeping or training animals for exhibition) has further optional conditions for higher standards.

    The higher standards are shown in the activity specific conditions.

    The required higher standards are shown in blue and the optional higher standards are shown in red. In order to achieve the higher standard, you will have to demonstrate that you meet the required higher standards and at least 50% of the optional higher standards.

  4. What is a risk rating?

    The risk rating, along with the inspection form, helps us to determine the star rating of the premises. This sets out how long the licence lasts for.

    The risk rating document cover areas such as:

    • history of compliance
    • welfare standards, such as provision of enrichment equipment
    • management standards, including having a process to recording and acting on customer feedback.

    All new business which do not have compliance history with a Local Authority or a member of a UKAS accredited scheme will be rated as high risk.

  5. What information will be provided with the licence?

    If a licence is issued, we will provide:

    • The licence with the star rating
    • Details of how the business has been rated, including a list of the higher standards the business currently fails to meet or a list of the minimum standards the business if failing to meet and resulting in a "minor failing" category.
    • A copy of the risk management assessment table
    • Details of the appeals process and timescales

  6. How long will my licence last for?

    The licence can last for 1, 2 or 3 years depending on the outcome of the risk rating and the inspection.

    Licences granted for the first time will only last for 1 year (if the standard conditions are met) or 2 years (if the standard and higher standards are met).

  7. I don't agree with the star rating I've been awarded

    We have an appeals procedure in place for you to dispute the star rating given.

    You will be provided with the inspection reports which will highlight the inspecting officer's decision on how the risk rating, compliance level and star rating has been determined as part of the licence issuing process.

    The appeal must be made in writing within 21 days.

    It will be assessed and determined by an appointed licensing officer (not the same officer who carried out the inspection). If you disagree with the outcome of the appeal you can challenge it by way of judicial review.

    If the appeal process involves another inspection and the outcome of the appeal does not result in a higher star rating being awarded, you will have to pay the fee for re-inspection.

    We advise discussing the matter the inspecting officer before making an appeal.

    If you accept the star rating you're awarded, but then make improvements to achieve higher standards you can apply for a re-inspection. There will be a fee for this.

  8. What happens if my application is refused?

    We must refuse to issue a licence if:

    • the applicant can't meet the licence conditions
    • the granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare
    • the level of accommodation, staffing, or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals.

    A licence cannot be issued to an applicant who is disqualified.

    You have the right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

    The new Regulations introduce a range of enforcement powers to allow us to issue a suspension, variation or revocation notice where conditions are not being complied with i.e. there is a breach of the regulations or issues relating to the protection of the welfare of an animal.

  9. Complaints and redress

    Consumer complaints

    In the event of a complaint, you advise that the first contact is made with the trader by you, preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery.

    If that has not worked and you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice.

    If you are located from outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

    Other redress


  10. Trade Associations

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