Dangerous Wild Animals

Do I need a Licence?

Any person that wishes to keep any animal listed on the Schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 must obtain a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence from the Local Authority.

The animals that require a licence are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984. A full list of animals which require a licence can be obtained on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.

The Act does not apply to any dangerous wild animal kept in:

  • a zoo;
  • a circus;
  • premises licensed as a pet shop;
  • a place (which is a designated establishment within the meaning of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
Eligibility Criteria

An applicant for a licence must:

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • own and possess, or propose to own and possess, all of the animals that are to be included on the licence, unless there are circumstances which West Somerset Council consider exceptional;
  • not have been disqualified under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 from keeping any dangerous wild animal.
Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence.

Application Evaluation Process

Applicants must complete and submit an application form with the relevant fee.

The Authority will arrange for an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of the premises and produce a report, which the Authority is legally obliged to consider when determining the application.

The Authority will not grant a licence unless satisfied that:

  • it would not be contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise;
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and is adequately insured;
  • animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping;
  • accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to the construction, size, temperature lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness, and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation;
  • animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals;
  • appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency;
  • appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases;
  • while any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise.

Where the Council issues a licence, that licence will be subject to such conditions as the Council sees fit and in each case these conditions will specify that:

  • only the person named on the licence shall be entitled to keep the animal
  • the animal shall only be kept on the premises named on the licence
  • the animal shall not be moved or may only be moved in accordance with conditions specified in the licence
  • the licensee must hold a current insurance policy, approved by the Council, which insures against liability for damage caused by the animal
  • only the species and number of animals listed on the licence may be kept
  • the licensee shall make a copy of the licence and its contents available to any other person listed on the licence as being able to look after the animal

Where it is considered that these conditions cannot be met, a licence will be refused.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

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

Hygiene and Cautions

Ownership of exotic pets involve special risks to the health of animal keepers and to the health of those around them. Guidance notes on hygiene and handing can be found under related documents on this page.

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.

There is a fee upon application, please check the Schedule of Fees.  You will also be recharged the cost of the veterinary surgeon/practitioner inspection.

Failed Application

Any person who is refused a licence or who objects to any of the conditions attached to a licence may appeal to the Magistrates Court.

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 customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk or via the licensing service online form.

If you have any comments, enquiries or feedback about any of our services, please complete the online feedback form.  Your comments will be collated and used to improve the service we provide.