About animal licence applications

Animal welfare

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, we are responsible for licensing all establishments involved in animal activities. These licences changed on 1 October 2018 under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 (Licensing of Activities Involving Animal England).

Under separate legislation, we are also responsible for licensing zoos, as well as people who keep dangerous wild animals.

We aim to promote the well-being of animals by ensuring that licensed premises comply with the conditions of their licence set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and by enforcing legislation to protect animals from harm.

Our Environmental Protection Team inspect new applicants and licensed establishments with an independent veterinary surgeon where necessary and respond to complaints about premises where animals are kept where a licence is already issued or may be required. They also provide advice and guidance to businesses and members of the public about animal welfare.

Other information can be found on the RSPCA and Pet Care Trust websites.

For more information on licences, email animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk or call 01634 333 333.

Applying for an animal licence

You'll need a licence to sell animals as pets, board cats and dogs (in the home and in kennels), breed dogs, hire horses, and train or exhibit animals.

To apply for an animal licence, you'll need to download and complete a form and pay a fee.

There are two parts to the fee:

  • a fee for processing your application, including any appropriate checks (Part A)
  • an additional fee, if you are successful in being granted a licence, which depends on the risk rating your establishment receives during its inspection (Part B)

If you need advice and guidance on applying for a licence, we offer a pre-application advice service. The fee for this service is £71. 

If you would like to book a pre-application advice meeting please email animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk.

How to pay the fee

You can download a complete list of fees

Payments can be made by card when calling 01634 333 333.

You will need to advise the customer services officer what you are paying for and include your payment reference number on your application form along with the date you made the payment.

Alternatively, you can pay by cheque made payable to Medway Council and attach it to your application form.

After you apply

After you’ve applied for a licence, you’ll receive an inspection from one of our licensing officers and, where necessary, an independent veterinary surgeon.

We’ll assess the premises to make sure it’s maintaining the standards that are expected, including whether the animals are being kept in appropriate conditions. 

The licensing officer will rate the premises based on the level of risk. Premises that have no documented history of compliance will receive a higher risk rating automatically.

Your risk rating will help to determine how long your licence will last. This will be:

  • 1 year for 1 or 2 star-rated premises
  • 2 years for 3 or 4 star-rated premises
  • 3 years for 5 star-rated premises

For more information, you can download our guidance notes and FAQ.

Existing licences

If you've already got an animal licence, under the previous legislation, you'll need to apply for a new one when it expires.

You’ll need to complete a new application at least 10 weeks before your existing licence expires.

For more advice, you can contact the environmental protection team by email at animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk.


Your licence will last for either one, two or three years, depending on the premises’ risk rating and level of compliance, with premises representing low risk and identified as maintain high standards, receiving up to a five star rating. 

You’ll need to complete a new application at least 10 weeks before your existing licence expires.

Other permissions you may need

When operating a business you may also need to speak to:

  • Planning - for the correct permission to operate your business
  • Business Rates - to ensure you are set up to pay your rates