About animal licence applications

Animal welfare

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, we’re 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’re also responsible for licensing zoos, as well as people who keep dangerous wild animals.

We aim to promote the wellbeing 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 Animal and Environmental Protection Team:

  • inspect new applicants and licensed establishments with an independent veterinary surgeon where necessary
  • respond to complaints about premises where animals are kept where a licence is already issued or may be required
  • 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.

Who needs an animal licence

You'll need an animal licence if you:

  • sell animals as pets
  • board cats and dogs (in the home and in kennels)
  • breed dogs
  • hire out horses
  • train or exhibit animals
  • operate a zoo
  • keep an animal listed on the schedule under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

We offer a pre-application advice service if you need advice and guidance on applying for a licence. The fee for this service is £99. If pre-application advice leads to a licence application, the Part A application fee will be reduced by £30.

To book a pre-application advice meeting, email animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk.

Apply and pay the fee

To apply for an animal licence, you'll need to download and complete an application form for the licence you need.

Once you have completed your application, email it to animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk.

We’ll review your application and if successful, we’ll email a payment request form to you.

What happens next

After you have applied for a licence and submitted your supporting documentation, 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 read our guidance notes.

Renewal licences

If you already have an animal licence, you'll need to renew at least 10 weeks before your existing licence expires.

For more advice, email animal.licensing@medway.gov.uk.

Other permissions you may need

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

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