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Licensing Of Animals and Animal businesses - An Overview

An overview of the legal requirement to licence animal boarding and dog breeding establishments, pet shops, riding establishments and dangerous animals etc.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006.

It is law that anyone who is responsible for an animal has a Duty Of Care to take reasonable steps to ensure that the animal's needs are met.

"Duty of care" is a legal phrase which means that someone has an obligation to do something.

The new Act imposes a broader duty of care on anyone responsible for an animal to take reasonable steps to ensure that the animal's needs are met.

This means that a person has to look after the animal's welfare and ensure that it does not suffer.

The Act states that an animal's welfare needs include:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • The ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Any need it has to be housed with or housed apart from other animals
  • Protection from pain, suffering, injury or disease


  • Animal - any living creature with a vertebrae (back bone)
  • Responsible owner of the animal - a person in charge of or looking after an animal, or the parent or guardian of a person under 16 years old who is responsible for the animal.

Anything which occurs in the normal course of fishing (including commercial fishing and angling) is exempted from the Act.

However, all fish for which a person is responsible (such as pet fish, ornamental fish and farmed fish) will be protected under the Act.

The law, like most laws, is a common informers act. This means that anyone is allowed to bring a prosecution for an offence.

The RSPCA is committed to investigating offences relating to cruelty or welfare of domestic animals. They should be your first port of call if you suspect a cruelty issue relating to pet animals.

Basildon Council will enforce the act, relating to all its licensed establishments. For issues relating to pet shops, licensed kennels and equine establishments, please see contact details.

Basildon's Environmental Health Services are responsible for overseeing the following animal welfare issues:

Environmental Health - See our enforcement policy on our About Environmental Health Webpage


Service Aim

To perform the Council's statutory functions in respect of the keeping of animals.

To protect public health.

How Will We Achieve This?

  • We will inspect twice yearly establishments where animals are kept and ensure that satisfactory standards are maintained in these premises throughout the year.
  • We will investigate complaints in respect of licensed and unlicensed animal welfare establishments including complaints of nuisance caused by animals and take appropriate action within 3 working days.