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Dog Breeding Licence

Any person that wishes to carry on the business of breeding dogs must obtain a licence under Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Anyone who breeds 3 or more litters in any 12 month period requires a licence. If you breed fewer than 3 litter in any 12 month period, you will need a licence if you advertise a business selling puppies you have bred. One of the factors we take into account when determining if a business is being operated is the intention to make a profit from the litter.

Animal welfare regulations are rules 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 need a licence:

  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 a Dog Breeding 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 need to pay the licence fee.

  2. 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 this as well.

    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.

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

    The premises will also be risk rated. 

    If you are submitting your first dog breeding application you will need to have a Vet inspection too. The cost of the inspection is not included in the application.

    We will contact Vets to ask for quotes for the cost of the inspection and let you know. When the Vet has been decided, we give your application form to them and ask you to contact you to arrange an inspection. We will pay the Vet's invoice and then we will invoice you for the same amount the inspection cost.

    If you have a preference regarding which Vet carries out the inspection, state this on the form.

  3. Higher standards and risk rating

    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 standard.

    The risk rating helps along with the inspection form helps us determine the star rating of the premises, which 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.

  4. What information will be provided with my 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

  5. 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 last for one year (if the standard conditions are met) or two years (if the standard and higher conditions are met). 

  6. I don't agree with the star rating I have 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Enforcement

    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. Trade Associations

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