Animal Boarding Establishments Licence

Do I need a licence?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 and the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963  require any person who keeps a boarding establishment for cats and/or dogs to be licensed by the Local Authority. This applies to people who look after other people’s dogs within their home (Home Boarding) and those who provide 'day care' facilities.
The Act defines the keeping of a boarding establishment for animals as the carrying on at premises of any nature (including a private dwelling) of a business or providing accommodation for other people's animals. The term 'Animals' means any dog or cat.

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the application:

  • 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
  • owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.  In Scotland an applicant must also not be disqualified from working with, using, driving or riding animals, providing services to animals that would involve taking possession of them, taking possession of an animal to carry out any of the activities listed or taking charge of animals for any other purpose.

Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence

Please Note:  With effect from 1st October 2018, The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 update a number of licensing provisions.  Anyone with an existing animal related business or planning a business should read the regulations and the guidance notes which accompany them.
From this date, providing or arranging ‘day care for dogs’ will also require a licence.

Guidance notes and conditions in relation these changes can be found under related documents section of this page.  We strongly advise that these are consulted in advance of making an application.

Application Evaluation Process

Before being granted a licence, the applicant 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 West Somerset Council.

Other matters to be considered are:

  • whether you will require planning permission for change of use or for building the necessary accommodation
  • the disposal of waste and litter
  • the potential for nuisance to neighbours - for example from barking dogs
  • the health, safety and welfare requirements in relation to anyone you may employ in connection with the business 

In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.  You can download a copy of the standard conditions under related documents on this page.  Please note, additional and/or specific conditions may also be attached to any licence issued.

Upon completion of the inspection, the applicant will receive a star-rating based upon compliance, risk and standards.  The rating your premises receives pending inspection will determine the duration for which the licence will last (one, two or three years).  Please note, as new applicants will not have a compliance/complaint history with the local authority, they will initially always be treated as ‘high-risk’ and, as such, may not be eligible for the highest ratings until they renew the licence.  

Full information about the rating system can be found by viewing Defra’s ‘Procedural Guidance Notes’ – provided under the ‘relevant documents’ section of this page.

Prior to granting a licence, an officer from the Health and Safety Team will arrange for an inspection of the premises to establish if the requisite standards are being met.  The initial inspection will also include a veterinary inspection for which you will be recharged.

Waste Disposal

The Environment Agency have produced pollution prevention guidelines regarding solid waste disposal at kennels and catteries.  In general terms, waste generated from animal boarding establishments is to be treated as industrial waste and you should be able to account for the disposal of waste to the Environment Agency if required to do so.  For further information can be found Environement Agency under External Links. 

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No - it is in the public interest your application is processed before it can be granted.  However, the Council will try to process the application within a reasonable timescale.  If you have not heard from us within 14 days of your inspection, please contact the Licensing Unit.

Change of Circumstances

Tell us about a change to your existing Animal Boarding Establishment licence

Application Forms

If you require an application form you can download a copy from the related documents section on this page. Alternatively please contact the Environmental Health & Licensing Team.
Please note that there are three sections to the application which need to be completed and submitted; including a Standard Applicant Profile, a Declaration and an application form that relates to the specific animal licensing activity you are applying for (listed under ‘relevant documents’ as Part A, Part B and Part C respectively).
Please send in the completed application forms with the relevant documentation required (including public liability insurance and any other documents requested within the application form specific to the activity you are looking to be licensed for) to West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Taunton TA4 4QA
A fee is required to accompany the application and please check the Schedule of Fees.

Failed Application

Please contact West Somerset Council in the first instance.

Any person aggrieved by West Somerset Council's refusal to grant such a licence, or by any conditions subject to which such a licence is granted may appeal to the Magistrates Court within 6 months.  Full details will be included in any letter of refusal.

Consumer Complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint, the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).  If that does not work,  please contact the Licensing Unit. 

We look forward to receiving your application and if you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact us on 01643 703704 or email