Any premises used for boarding animals, for example, cats and dogs, requires a licence under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963.
There are strict standards for the conditions of premises used for boarding animals. The aim of the licence conditions is to ensure that high standards of animal care and health and safety are maintained at all times.
A brief summary of the licensing conditions
Animals to be kept in accommodation suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, ventilation and cleanliness.
Boarded animals to be adequately supplied with food and drink, and visited at suitable intervals.
Animals to be kept securely.
Reasonable precautions to be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Appropriate steps be taken in the event of an emergency.
A suitable level of management is maintained.
Your questions answered
Am I eligible for an animal boarding licence?
When you apply for an animal boarding licence you must not be disqualified from any of the following.
Keeping an animal boarding establishment.
Keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951.
Keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954.
Owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006.
How much does an animal boarding licence cost?
There is an application fee which must be paid at the time an application is made. The cost of the licence is £102.
Where a licence is granted, that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on 31 December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed annually before that date if the premises are to continue as an animal boarding establishment.
Which animals will the licence allow me to board?
The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 only applies to the boarding of cats and dogs. At this time, there is no requirement to hold a licence to board rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles or any other animal.
Do I need qualifications to run an animal boarding establishment?
Formal qualifications are not required to run an animal boarding establishment. Some knowledge of the species being cared for would be a clear advantage when monitoring the health of the animals boarded.
Can I provide boarding accommodation for both dogs and cats?
We may grant separate licenses for each species boarded. Cats and dogs can be boarded on the same site, however they must be kept in separate buildings and out of sight of each other.
How long will it take to obtain a licence?
Once we have received the completed application form we will inspect the premises where the animals are to be boarded. If the premises are found to be satisfactory and meet the licence conditions we will issue a licence with its conditions. If the premises are found to be unsatisfactory, we will contact you and inform you why it has been refused and how to appeal.
What other laws will I need to consider?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to all people at work - employers, self-employed and employees. The law provides protection not only for people at work, but also the health and safety of anyone who visits your premises.
How will my application be evaluated?
Before being granted a licence your premises will be inspected to make sure that certain conditions have been met, you must be able to demonstrate:
That the animals will at all times be kept in accommodation suitable in respect of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperatures, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness.
That animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding materials, adequately exercised, and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals.
That all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of adequate isolation facilities.
That appropriate measures will be taken to protect the animals in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment.
That a register containing a description of any animal received into the establishment, the date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner will be kept, and that the register will be available for inspection at all times by a Licensing inspector or by a Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner authorised by us.
A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions were not suitable for the boarding of animals.
Each licence issued is subject to standard conditions (see above) that are imposed on all animal boarding establishments licensed by us.
In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.
How do I apply for an animal boarding licence?
You can now apply for an animal boarding licence online.
Please follow the link on the right-hand side of the webpage to Business Link's UK Welcomes website where you will be asked to register with the site.
What happens next?
We have a target date for dealing with these applications which is 28 days after receipt of the application form and the appropriate fee. If you have not heard from us within 14 days, please contact us.
You will be able to act as though your application is granted if, by the end of the 28 day period, you have not heard from us that your application has been refused.
What if I have been refused a licence or do not agree with the licence conditions imposed?
Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Courts who may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.
What happens if I fail to comply?
If you do not have a licence or do not comply with any of the conditions, you may be prosecuted, fined up to £5000 or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both.
How do I complain about animal boarding premises?
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the service provider by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice or you can contact us directly. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
If you wish to complain about the welfare of the animals, nuisance caused by the operation of the boarding establishment etc. or are one licence holder wishing to complain about another contact us.