Pet Shop Licence

Do I need a Licence?

A person who wishes to carry on the business of selling animals (or keeping animals with the intention of selling them), as pets on the internet, or from any premises, including a private dwelling, in West Somerset must obtain a licence from West Somerset Council, issued under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 and the The Pet Animals Act 1951.
Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for a Pet Shop must not be disqualified from keeping a pet shop. 

A fee is applicable - please check the schedule of fees.

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.
Application Evaluation Process

Local authorities must have regard to the following when considering an application for a pet shop licence:

Accommodation: To be suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, suitable bedding materials and cleanliness.

Food and Drink: That animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food and drink and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals.

Age: That mammals will not be sold at too early an age.

Diseases: That all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of infectious disease amongst the animals.

Fire Precautions: That appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment.

Register:  That a register containing a description of any animal received on the premises, the animals age and sex, the date of acquisition and departure and the source from which the animals are received, 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 the Council.

Business Proprietor: Should be suitably qualified to keep animals with regard to the type and number proposed to be kept.

Each Licence is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all pet shops licensed by the Council.  In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Authorised veterinary surgeons carry out inspections on behalf of this Council.  You will be recharged the cost of the inspection.

Pet animals must not be sold to children under current legislation, nor in the street and the sale of pets at fairs is illegal in most cases.

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.

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 time.  If you have not heard from us within 14 days of your inspection, please contact the Licensing Unit.

The licence is issued for the calendar year (1 January – 31 December), or the remainder of the calendar year if application is made part the way through the year.

Apply for Licence
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.
Change of Circumstances

Tell us about any changes to your existing Pet Shop licence.

Failed Application Redress

Please contact the Licensing Unit in the first instance.

Any person who is refused a licence or who objects to conditions being attached to the licence can appeal to the Magistrates Court.  Full details will be provided when the notification letter is sent to you.

Consumer Complaint

In the first instance you should complain, preferably in writing, to the trader.  If that does not resolve the issue 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

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