Animal licensing


On 1 October 2018, new legislation reformed animal welfare licensing. A single type of licence known as an “Animal Activity Licence” with nationally-set conditions now applies.

The businesses that this new regime affects are: animal boarding (kennels, catteries, dog home boarding and dog day care providers), pet shops, riding establishments, dog breeders and those keeping or training animals for the purpose of exhibition, encounters or performance. The definition of existing licensable activities has been amended and now includes activities arranged online such as the sale of animals as pets.

Businesses operating with these activities will need to comply with the new conditions and will be assessed before a licence is granted to make sure they can meet them.

Businesses operating under current licences will be able to continue to do so until the expiry date of their licence.

How to apply

To apply for your licence download and complete the appropriate form below. The form does not work on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Right click the link and select the 'save' option.

Next, fill in the application form on your computer. To edit the form you'll need a recent version of Adobe Reader. Open the form using Adobe Reader instead of your web browser. If you are unable to complete the form immediately do not worry, you can edit it in your own time. When complete print, sign and return the application to:

Animal Welfare and Licensing Inspector

TRDC Batchworth Depot

Harefield Road


WD3 1 LU

Application Form - Animal Boarding (pdf)

Application Form - Breeding and Sale of Dogs (pdf)

Application Form - Hiring out Horses (pdf)

Application Form - Performing Animals (pdf)

Application Form - Pet Vending (selling animals as pets) (pdf)

To assist applicants, Statutory Guidance for each of the licensable activities are set out below. Applicants will be required to meet all of the minimum standard conditions before a licence can be granted. Once a completed application form, required application documents and appropriate fee has been received, we will check the information supplied and arrange an inspection.

Boarding for Dogs in Kennels

Home Boarding for Dogs (includes home dog day care)

Day Care for Dogs (Commercial)

Boarding for Cats in Cattery

Dog Breeding

Selling Animals as Pets

Hiring out Horses

Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

Fee information

Part A fee – is due with your application. It covers all costs associated with determining the licence application and includes all administration and inspection fees. This is non-refundable should we refuse your application.

Part B fee – is due once we have determined we will grant your licence. It includes recoverable, reasonably expected, enforcement cost, including training and an interim compliance visit(s) during the licence period. You will be required to pay this fee within 7 days of your inspection date.

Where a veterinary inspection is required (as indicated in the fee table and if reactively necessary for any licence application visit or licence duration) this is payable in addition to the Part A & B fee.

New dog breeding applications will require a veterinary inspection.

Hiring of horses veterinary inspection is invoiced after the visit to recover the costs incurred by the Council.

Other veterinary or expert visits will be invoiced after the visit to recover the costs incurred by the Council.

Animal Licensing Fees (pdf)

To make your payment, please go to my.threerivers (you will need to either log in to your account or create a new one).

Inspections and star rating

All businesses will be inspected and assessed before the licence is granted so we are sure the licence holder can meet the new laws relating to the environment the animals will be kept. The Inspector will also be looking to make sure the applicant has specialist knowledge in the species they are caring for with a clear understanding of their needs and welfare including health, feeding and environmental enrichment. They will be required to demonstrate they have followed expert guidance and undertaken appropriate research to be able to carry out their role. They will need to keep comprehensive records containing all the information required by the conditions applicable to their activities. If there are staff employed, training procedures must be in place to make sure staff know what is expected from them and there must good supervision of staff that must be documented and available for the Inspector to examine.

Businesses must be given a star rating based on the inspection assessment, ranging from one to five, that must be listed on the licence. Low risk premises can be awarded 5 stars and higher risk premises can be awarded up to 4 stars. Safeguards including an appeal procedure and a mechanism for requesting a re-inspection when improvements have been made will apply. The star rating determines the length of the licence granted ranging from one to three years (except the keeping/training animals for exhibition/encounters, which must be granted for three years). It is a way driving up the standards in the sector and compliant businesses benefit by being granted with a longer cheaper licence.

Premises with lower star ratings

A premises with a lower star rating is not necessarily one to avoid there are several factors to consider, such as how long the business has been operating. It is likely all new applications will be assessed as a slightly higher risk simply due to there being no historic good practice information.

If you are a customer and you have any concerns about a premises you can contact the Animal Welfare and Licensing Inspector before making a booking or purchase.

Public register

Once the Animal Activity Licence has been granted, the premises and its star rating will be listed on a public register. The current register can be downloaded below.

Licensed Animal Welfare Operators in Three Rivers (pdf)