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Licence to sell animals

If you sell animals as pets you must have a licence.

Whether you sell the animals in a shop (for example a pet shop), or from your own home, you must have a licence. If you're selling dogs that you've bred from your own pet, you must have a dog breeding licence

Third party sales: From the 6 April 2020 you cannot sell dogs or cats under the age of six months, unless you have bred them yourself. See The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 for further information.

Risk assessment

Before we can approve your licence, we will risk assess your premises, and how you look after the animals in your care. To pass this assessment, you must meet the conditions listed in the The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Defra have issued guidance (below) to help you understand these conditions.

If you meet these conditions, as well as your licence, you will receive a star rating (between one and five stars) for your business. The star rating you receive determines the length of time your licence is for (between one and three years).

Defra's guidance

See Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): animal licensing guidance and select the guidance notes for the licence you are applying for.


The fee for a licence is £303. If you are renewing an existing licence, the fee is £237. You pay this when you apply. You may also require a vet visit based upon the types and number of animals that you keep - we'll discuss this with you before we carry out your risk assessment. This may increase the fee you pay.

Apply for a licence

    What happens next?

    When we receive your application, we'll arrange to risk assess your home or premises. After this assessment, we'll write to you to let you know if your application has been successful, and based on our risk assessment, the star rating you receive and how long your licence is for.

    If your application is not successful, we will include the reasons why in our letter.

    If you are unhappy with our decision

    If you don't agree with our decision, you can appeal.

    If you do not agree with your star rating

    If you do not agree with the start rating we give your business, contact us to appeal this.

    Request a re-score

    If you get less than five stars, we'll let you know what you need to do to increase your star rating. An increased star rating could increase the length of time that your licence is for.

    If you complete these actions, you can ask us to return to your home or premises to repeat the risk assessment. This costs £153 - contact us to arrange.

    If we reject your application

    If we do not issue a licence, and you wish to appeal this decision, contact First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) to launch an appeal. For more information about the appeal process, and the form you'll need to complete, see General Regulatory Chamber's Notice of appeal form and guidance.

    Contact us
    Animal health
    03000 261 016
    Our address is:
    • Community Protection
    • Durham County Council
    • PO Box 617
    • Durham
    • County Durham
    • United Kingdom
    • DH1 9HZ
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