If you providing boarding for cats and dogs, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions for commercial boarding establishments.
Please note: We are currently experiencing a delay in carrying out inspections for animal activity licence applications due to COVID-19. All applications will be acknowledged and an officer will contact you at a later date to arrange an inspection.
Do I need a licence?
You will need a licence if you are:
- A business which provides accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs, where the provision of that accommodation is part or solely the activity of the business
- Providing overnight accommodation for dogs in a home environment, this would be classed as home boarding for dogs
- A business providing daytime accommodation for dogs away from the dogs normal place of residence and does not keep them overnight, this would be classed as day care for dogs
- A business that arranges accommodation for other people’s cat and dogs, e.g. businesses which connect pet owners with people willing to look after their animals for no fee (just minor expenses). The accommodation provided in these circumstances must meet the conditions set by the legislation and it is the responsibility of the business to ensure that this is the case - see further guidance below. The business must provide (and keep updated) a list of their associated premises. This applies regardless of whether the business is arranging for dog boarding in kennels, cat boarding, home boarding or dog day care
- A business which provide overnight accommodation for cats in purpose built cattery units
- Providing home boarding for cats, where the cats are kept in purpose built cattery units and not in the domestic home.
Anyone carrying out this activity without the relevant licence could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to 6 months, receive a fine or both.
See further guidance on cat boarding(external link) and dog boarding (external link).
When do I NOT need a licence?
You will NOT need a licence if you are:
- A business providing accommodation for other people’s cats and dogs, but where the provision of that accommodation is not the purpose of that business, for example, veterinary practices where the accommodation provided is part of the treatment of the animal
- Providing home boarding of cats within a domestic setting is not permitted
- A business that looks after a cat within its normal place of residence (i.e. cat sitters).
To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost, see:
How to apply
Please note: The licence, if granted, is non-transferrable should the premises / business be sold or taken over by another operator. If the licence holder dies, the personal representative of the licence holder can take on the licence provided that they inform the local authority within 28 days of the death that they are now the operators.
We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.
As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.
What do I do if I already have a licence?
Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.
You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on cat boarding(external link) and dog boarding (external link).
We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.