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Boarding animals licence

  • Business

To run a boarding kennel or cattery, you need a licence from the local authority. The number of dogs and cats which may be accommodated will be specified on the licence.This includes home boarding services where pets are cared for in a person's home for payment.

You can apply for an:

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.

Regulation summary

The local authority may attach any conditions to the licence, may inspect the licenced premises at all reasonable times and may refuse a licence if the conditions at the premises are unsatisfactory or if the terms of the licence are not being complied with.

Standard conditions for:

A fee must be paid at the time an application is made. The fee covers the cost of administration, inspection and enforcement activity.

All animal boarding licences run from 1 January to 31 December of the year to which they relate regardless of which month they were issued. So for example if your licence is issued in May it will only be valid for 8 months but the full fee is still payable. There are no pro-rata fees applicable under any circumstance.

Application evaluation process

A fee will be payable for applications for a new licence or a renewal.  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

If you are planning to board other people's dogs at your home you will also need to document how you plan to comply with:

  • specific written consent of each dog owner showing confirmation that they are also content for their dogs to be boarded with others
  • a mandatory trail (documented) familiarisation session for all the dog prior to stay
  • separation of dogs from different households in secure areas when left unattended
  • separate feeding of dogs to minimise the likelihood of dispute and aggression.

An inspection of the premises will be carried out to assess this. Conditions can be attached to a licence to ensure that the above requirements are complied with.

Please note that if you propose to keep more than six dogs, then planning permission may be required.

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 the local authority by the end of the target completion period, which is 28 days.

Failed application redress

If the licensing authority rejects the application for a licence the applicant may appeal against the decision. Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days.

Licence holder redress

Any licence holder who objects to a condition attached to a licence may appeal to the local Magistrates court covering the area the premises is located. A court may give directions on the issue of a condition.

Consumer complaint

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.

Other redress

Anyone who has not had a satisfactory response from the trader or who has reason to believe that a boarding establishment is keeping animals in seriously inadequate conditions should raise the matter with us using the contact details on the right.

Apply for an Animal Boarding Licence 
Apply for a Home Based Sitting Service Licence.


  • Health and Safety Team
  • Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone London N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 7995
  • FAX: 0870 889 6793
  • Email: HealthandSafety@barnet.gov.uk

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