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Pet shops

In accordance with the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended) a business selling pet animals needs a licence from the local authority. This includes all commercial selling of pet animals, including pet shops and businesses, selling animals over the internet and from private dwellings. The aim is to protect the welfare of animals sold as pets.

How do I apply for a licence?

Contact your local authority by visiting GOV.UK. The City of London Animal Welfare Services Team, under contract, carries out visits for local authorities across London and the Home Counties. We support the use of the up-to-date model licence conditions published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).

Who is eligible and what are the fees?

Anyone who has not been disqualified from keeping animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 or disqualified from keeping a pet shop may apply. Applicants must pay the application fee and comply with any conditions attached to the licence. 

What happens when I've submit my application?

We will inspect the premises, facilities and management to ensure they comply with the current Pet Shop Licence conditions. The following areas will be assessed:

  • Are the animals kept in accommodation suitable in respect of size, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness?
  • Are the animals supplied with food and drink, and are visited at suitable intervals?
  • They are sold too young?
  • Are reasonable precautions taken to prevent the spread of infectious disease?
  • Are appropriate contingency plans in place to protect the animal, public and keeper in cases of fire or other emergencies?

You must also meet the duty of care requirements under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. See our animal welfare page.

What can I do if my licence is not granted?

If your licence has been refused or you object to a condition attached to it then you may appeal to the local magistrates court.

25 May 2016
Last Modified:
30 August 2018