Toggle mobile menu visibility

Guidance notes on applying for a licence to keep a boarding establishment for animals

Advice for owners and prospective owners of animal boarding establishments.


The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 forbids the keeping of a boarding establishment for animals (defined in the Act as cats and dogs) except under a licence granted by the local authority.


The term "boarding establishment" is interpreted to refer with certain qualifications to any premises on which a business of providing accommodation for animals is carried on.

Licensing of boarding establishments

A licence to keep a boarding establishment, renewable annually, may be granted by the local authority to any person not previously disqualified under certain other pieces of animal welfare legislation.

The local authority must satisfy itself that certain statutory minimum conditions are fulfilled by the establishment.

In addition the local authority is empowered to withhold a licence on "other grounds" at its discretion.

A fee will be charged where a licence is granted. A licence year is 1 January to 31 December. A licence will expire under normal conditions at the end of the year to which it relates irrespective of when it was issued during that year.

The local authority's duty

In determining whether to grant a licence a local authority must have regard to the need for securing:

  1. that animals shall be supplied with adequate food, drink and bedding. 
  2. that accommodation should provide for adequate size of quarters, number of occupants and exercising facilities.
  3. that owners ensure cleanliness of quarters and take precautions against the spreading of infectious and contagious diseases. Isolation facilities should be provided.
  4. that owners provide safety precautions against fire and other emergencies.
  5. that a register should be kept giving particulars of the animals in the boarding establishment and of their owners. this register should be available for inspection.

The licence must specify such conditions as will ensure that the above named objects are secured.

The applicant's right of appeal against refusal

The licensee or prospective licensee aggrieved by the refusal of the local authority to grant such a licence, or by any condition subject to which such a licence is proposed to be granted, may appeal to a Magistrates Court; and the court may on such an appeal give such directions with respect to the issue of a licence or, as the case may be, with respect to the conditions subject to which a licence is to be granted as it thinks proper.

Offences against the Act

The Act provides for the following offences:

  1. keeping a boarding establishment for animals without a licence.
  2. contravening or failing to comply with any of the conditions of the licence.
  3. obstructing or delaying any person in the exercise of his powers of entry or inspection.

Inspection of animal boarding establishments

The local authority is given power under the Act to authorise any of its officers or any veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner to inspect any premises in their area for which a licence has been granted under the Act and which is still in force. Such a person, on production of their authority if so required, has the statutory right to enter the premises at  all reasonable times for the following purposes:

  1. to inspect the premises
  2. to inspect any animals on the premises
  3. to ascertain whether any offence has been or is being committed on the premises.

Further information

A copy of the Act may be inspected at the office named below or may be purchased from H.M. Stationary Office. Details of the conditions upon which the council will normally grant licences and forms of application can be obtained from:

Food and Safety Division
Housing and Public Protection Service
Directorate of Place
Civic Centre
Oystermouth Road

Close Choose Language