The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Businesses operating on a commercial basis will need a licence if they keep or train animals for exhibition for education or entertainment. This includes pets which are used for TV programmes and theatre productions.

This can be:

  • to any audience in person
  • by recording visual images of the animals to play it to people using any technology


Examples of businesses include:

  • mobile animal exhibits that visit schools
  • weddings
  • private parties
  • fairs
  • any other events that have an audience


It also includes:

  • pony parties where the ponies are not ridden
  • businesses which keep animals for exhibition through electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV
  • businesses which train animals for exhibition, either to an audience or through electronic media


There are specific conditions which need to be followed. This also includes details of what records you need to keep.


Licence Applications

If your business will cover more than one of the activities above, you must complete a separate application form for each of the activities. You can apply for a licence here

All applications must be completed in full and be accompanied by the following documents:

Standard Operating Procedures

  • Preventative Healthcare Plan/ Biosecurity Risk Assessment (signed by applicant’s registered veterinarian).
  • Staff Training Policy
  • Cleaning and Hygiene procedure
  • Immature Animals Opportunities procedure
  • Separating/ grouping of animals policy
  • Feeding procedure
  • Disease Control and Prevention procedure including zoonoses
  • Cleaning procedure
  • Transport Procedure
  • Monitoring and Ensuring health and Welfare of Animals Procedure
  • Isolation Procedure (if the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, the licence holder must be able to show evidence that this is ready to use (for example a letter/email from the practice)
  • Death and Escape of Animals Procedure
  • Written Emergency Plan covering fire (evacuation, firefighting equipment, how animals are evacuated and kept safe during the emergency, smoke & CO detector locations/ testing & fire drills), loss of utilities, extremes of weather/ temperature, breakdown of vehicle during animal transport, alternative accommodation provision in the event of premises becoming uninhabitable.
  • Repair and maintenance procedure/ programme

Other Documents

  • Site plan of premises
  • Plan of animal accommodation for each enclosure with dimensions
  • Public Liability Insurance Certificate for at least £5 million cover (not to be confused with employers’ liability which is different)
  • List of staff qualifications
  • Staff training records for each member of staff (including volunteers)

Activity Specific Documents

  • Habituation/ training programme for animals.
  • Introduction of new animals to the collection and/or existing groups of animals procedure.
  • Exhibition risk assessment before exhibition takes place
  • Animal exhibition schedule/ procedure setting out how many times an animal may be used and how long for, rest breaks etc.


Considerations before applying

Running a business from a premises may require planning permission. You should check with East Devon District Council’s Planning Team before making your application or carrying out any structural work to the premises.

If you live in rented accommodation, check the terms of your tenancy agreement, and obtain consent from the landlord before you apply. Most rental properties do not allow businesses to be operated from the premises. If you are granted permission by your landlord, make sure you obtain the permission in writing as the Animal Licensing Officer may ask to see this.

To avoid any unnecessary delays in getting a licence, check that the proposed animal accommodation will be compliant with the size and materials in the DEFRA guidance. If you are unsure, please contact us to ask for advice.


What happens next?

Once you have submitted your application, we will check the details and supporting documents to make sure we have everything we need. We’ll contact you if we require additional information.

We aim to determine all applications within 10 weeks of receiving a complete application.

After the inspection has been conducted, the inspector will grant or refuse the licence. Where a licence has been granted, you should expect to receive the hard copy of the licence in the post within two weeks.

Where a licence has been refused, the inspector will provide the decision in writing, stating the grounds for refusal and your rights of appeal.


Licence Renewals

You need to renew a minimum of 10 weeks before the expiry date. A copy of the current public liability insurance certificate and written procedures should be attached to the renewal application. You can renew your licence here



  • You will need to pay a fee for your licence. Please make sure you are aware of how much this will cost
  • You will need a credit or debit card to pay by phone
  • You will need to provide details of your current insurance for the business

Any personal information which you provide will be held and used by East Devon District Council for the purpose of issuing you with a licence for dog day care and on the basis of public task.


Who will receive or see my personal information?

Your information may also be shared within East Devon District Council for the purposes of carrying out our lawful functions. Otherwise your personal information will not be disclosed to anybody outside East Devon District Council without your permission, unless there is a lawful reason to do so, for example disclosure is necessary for crime prevention or detection purposes. Your information will be held securely and will not be retained for any longer than is necessary. There are a number of rights available to you in relation to our use of your personal information, depending on the reason for processing. Further detail about our use of your personal information can be found in the relevant Privacy Notice.


Public Register

Animal License activities and Establishments



Please report concerns about a licensed premises for animals either online or by contacting the environmental health team by phone, 01395 571457, or email