Animal boarding establishment licences

About animal boarding licences

Summary of requirements

The Annual Boarding Establishment Act 1963 requires any person who keeps a boarding establishment for cats and/or dogs to be licensed by the Council. Boarding can be day time only as well as overnight. Kennels, catteries, home boarders and dog day care/crèches all come within the scope of the Act. The licence will specify the number of dogs and/or cats that may be accommodated at the establishment along with other specific conditions.

Kennels and catteries

We have adopted standard conditions for commercial kennels and catteries based upon the Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Dog Boarding Establishments 2016 and Model Licence Conditions and Guidance for Cat Boarding 2016 published by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Anyone intending to open a kennel or cattery in the borough of Wandsworth should ensure that they comply with the standard conditions for dog boarding and/or standard conditions for cat boarding.

Home Boarding

A licence is also required by anyone providing a home boarding service in their own home for other people's dogs. Again, it is expected that anyone wishing to home board dogs should be able to comply with the standard conditions for home boarders.

Dog Day Care/Creches 

You will need a licence if you are intending to provide day care for other people’s dogs during the day with no overnight boarding. Our standard conditions for dog day care sets out the standards that you will be expected to meet. 

About an Animal Boarding Establishment Licence

An Animal Boarding Establishment Licence expires on 31 December in the year that the application is made or, if requested by the applicant, the licence may take effect from the start of the following year and expire at the end of that year. You must ensure that the licence is renewed by 1 January annually if you wish to continue running the establishment.

The licence will be subject to conditions which must be followed. You will need to apply to vary the licence if you wish to amend or remove a condition. 

Before a licence is granted an inspection will be carried out to ensure that your premises are suitable for animal boarding. We have authorised officers from the Corporation of London's veterinary service to carry out this inspection on its behalf in respect of animal welfare matters. You may also receive an inspection prior to the renewal of your licence.

The following offences and penalties apply to the keeping of an animal boarding establishment:

  • Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal boarding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  • Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licences may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  • Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector, or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers of entry may be fined up to a maximum of £500.
  • If found guilty under this Act, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping an animal boarding establishment for such length of time the Court thinks fit.

Application process

You cannot apply for a licence if you have been disqualified from any of the following at the time of your application:

  • Keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • Owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

We will aim to determine the application within four weeks of receipt (provided access has been provided to our veterinary officer) unless, in the officer's opinion, the licence should not be granted (or renewed). In such a case, the application will be considered by our Regulatory Licensing Committee. This will take place within 10 weeks of receipt of the initial application, unless the time period is extended by agreement with the applicant.

Before setting up any business in the UK, you must ensure that it will comply with the relevant health and safety regulations. 

Further information on health and safety.


We have three fee levels for applications under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963:

  • Level 1 (low risk) – for those premises where a maximum of two dogs are accommodated at any one time whether during the day only (dog day care/creche); at night only; or during the day and night
  • Level 2 (medium risk) – for those premises used exclusively for the boarding of dogs during the day (dog day care/creche) where more than two dogs are accommodated
  • Level 3 (high risk) – for those premises boarding dogs and cats that do not fall into the above definitions.

Make an application 

You can apply and pay online (via GOV.UK) or download and complete an application form and make a payment to us (see ways to pay).

Whichever way you choose to apply you should save a copy of the completed form for your records.

You should note that the application process will not start until the fee is received. 

Renew or vary your licence

You can apply to renew your licence online or download and complete an application form

You can apply to change or vary your licence online.

View fees to renew or vary your licence.

Right of appeal

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to:

South Western Magistrates' Court
176a Lavender Hill
London SW11 1JU

What to do if you have a query about your licence

If you have a query about a licence issued you can contact us.

Complaints about a animal boarding

If you have a problem with licensed premises you should discuss the issues informally with the premises licence holder in the first instance. In many cases they will not be aware of the problem and this will give them the opportunity to resolve the issues.

If this does not lead to an improvement or if your complaint relates to an unlicensed premises, you should report the matter to us.

Trade associations

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