Animal boarding establishment licences

About animal boarding licences

Summary of requirements

The Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963 requires any person who keeps a boarding establishment for cats and/or dogs (i.e. a cattery or kennels) to be licensed by the Local Authority. The licence will specify the number of dogs and/or cats that may be accommodated at the establishment along with other specific conditions.

A licence is also required by anyone providing a boarding service in their own home for other people's animals. Again this licence will specify conditions: (see our guidance on conditions for home boarding establishments).

The 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. A licence holder must ensure that the licence is renewed by 1 January annually if they wish to continue running the establishment.

Wandsworth Council has authorised officers from the Corporation of London's veterinary service to carry out inspections on its behalf in respect of animal welfare matters.

The following offences and penalties apply to the keeping of 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.

Eligibility criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified from any of the following at the time of the 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.

View fees for new, renewal, or variation applications.

Application evaluation process

The following criteria will be considered when the application is being evaluated:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Suitable accommodation takes into account the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness and temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That a register is kept. The register should contain a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

Wandsworth Council will aim to determine the application within 4 weeks of receipt unless, in the officer's opinion, the licence should not be granted (or renewed). In such a case, the application will be considered by the Council's 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.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period.

What can I do if my application is refused? 

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to:

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

What if I am unhappy with a condition imposed?

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to the Magistrates' Court (contact details above).

What to do if you have a query about your licence

If you have a query about a licence issued by us, contact the Licensing Team.

Complaints about a kennel or cattery

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked and you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK , contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Trade associations

Health and safety

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.

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