Pet Shops
The Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended in 1983) protects the welfare of animals sold as pets. The Act requires any person keeping a pet shop to be licensed by the local authority.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the law in this area and anyone who has reason to believe that a pet shop is keeping animals in inadequate conditions should raise the matter with the local authority who will decide what action to take within the range of its powers.

The legislation prohibits the sale of pets in the street, including on barrows and markets.

A pet shop licence is not required if:
  • the applicant only keeps or sells pedigree animals which they breed or the offspring of an animal that they keep as a pet
  • the applicant is in the business of breeding pedigree animals and in conjunction with the business sells animals as pets that were originally acquired for breeding or show purposes but are not suitable.

Council duties

Before granting a licence the local authority must be satisfied that the animals are kept in accommodation that is both suitable and clean; that they are supplied with appropriate food and drink; and are adequately protected from disease and fire.

The local authority may attach any conditions to the licence, may inspect the licensed 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.

Further Information

Further information is available from the DEFRA website.

Apply for a Licence
Applications can be made on line on the Council’s website


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

Public Register

The public register of existing licences/consents/permits/registrations can be viewed on the Council’s website

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Page last updated on: 16/11/2010