Changes To Animal Licensing Laws From 1st October 2018
From 1st October 2018 onwards, animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments will be all covered by a single new type of licence known as an 'Animal Activity Licence'.
HM Government has now published updated legislation for animal businesses and confirmed that these changes will take effect from 1 October 2018.
Under the new laws, animal boarding businesses (including home boarders and day carers), dog breeders, pet shops and riding establishments will be covered under a single type of licence from that date. The new licence will be known as an 'Animal Activity Licence' and will include nationally set licence conditions for businesses providing animal related services.
Basildon Council will have no powers to change the conditions set out in the legislation and all businesses engaged in providing animal related services will need to comply with the new licence conditions. The new legislation will also require that an assessment will be undertaken, of any premises providing animal related services for financial gain, before a licence is granted.
Advice for existing licensed premises
The new legislation will affect you if you currently have any of the following types of licence:
- Animal Boarding Establishment Licence (under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963)
- Dog Breeding Licence (under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991; Breeding & Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999)
- Riding Establishment Licence (under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 & 1970)
- Pet Shop Licence (under the Pet Animals Act 1951)
- Keeping or training of animals for exhibition (under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925) - this was previously dealt with by Essex County Council, but will now be dealt with by Basildon Borough Council under the new Regulations.
Premises that will not be affected
The new law will not affect you if you currently have any of the following types of licence:
- Zoo Licences (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981)
- Dangerous Wild Animal Licences (under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976).
Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018
New licence conditions are available in the following documents:
New Animal Activity Licence fees
At the meeting of the Licensing Committee, held on 19 September 2018, the proposed fees in relation to animal activity establishments were approved.
Animal Activity Licence fees are available in the following document:
Advice for existing animal licence holders
Businesses operating under any of the above existing licences will be able to continue to trade until the expiry date of their current licence/registration. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation. Details of the application process will be sent to existing licensed businesses prior to the expiry of the current licence. In the case of holders of registration under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, the current registration will expire on 31 March 2019.
Applicants will need to apply for a licence under the new laws 10 weeks before the existing licence is due to expire. At present, we do not have the required application form which we anticipate will be published by DEFRA in the near future. We will be sending out initial reminders to all existing businesses on 1 October 2018. Once the application has been received, the information provided will be examined and then arrangements will be made to visit the premises to carry out an inspection. Initial inspections will be carried out by Licensing Officers and accompanied by a qualified veterinarian where appropriate.
It is important that Licence holders understand the Guidance relevant to their business but as a start your attention is drawn to the following key changes (which are not exhaustive):
- Licences can be issued for one, two or three years - the length of licence will be determined by the level of compliance and history of the business;
- The fees will need to be recalculated and based on 'reasonable anticipated costs' of the process which can include the costs of enforcement against unlicensed businesses;
- Protection is provided for licences in the event of the death of the licence holder;
- Specific training requirements have been introduced for both businesses and inspectors;
- A performance rating system is to be introduced and linked to the period of the licence;
- Licences can be varied, suspended or revoked;
- An appeals process is established for both alterations to the licence and the performance rating;
- Emphasis is placed on the suitability of the environment for the particular needs of the animal;
- Emphasis is put on the management arrangements in place to ensure animal welfare;
- Isolation facilities must be adequate and may be an arrangement with the attending vet and confirmed in writing;
- Arrangements for suitable transport are included;
- Where the business has a web site it must display the licence holder's name and licence number;
- Service of documents can be made by email to the last known email address of the licence holder;
- The council cannot issue a licence in any circumstances other than those described in the regulations.
What happens next?
On 1st October 2018 we will be writing to all businesses who currently hold an animal activities licence, or who we think will be affected, to explain more about what the changes mean for them, how an application can be made upon the expiry of the existing licence, what will be involved in terms of the new process and inspections and what they can expect from Basildon Council.
Further information and enquiries
For further information and enquiries please contact Basildon Council's Environmental Health Services, see contact details bottom of page.