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Pet shop licence

The Pet Animals Act 1951 requires any shop that sells pets (livestock) to be licensed by the local authority. Officers inspect the premises to check compliance with general health and safety requirements and also the welfare of the animals prior to issuing of the licence.


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Pet Shops

If you carry on a business of selling animals you will require a licence issued by the Licensing Authority.


The Pet Animals Act defines 'the keeping of a pet shop' as:
'Shall be construed as references to the carrying on at premises of any nature (including a private dwelling) of a business of selling animals as pets, and as including references to the keeping of animals in any such premises as aforesaid with a view to their being sold in the course of such a business, whether by the keeper thereof or by any other person:
Provided that:
A person shall not be deemed to keep a pet shop by reason only of his keeping or selling pedigree animals bred by him, or the offspring of an animal kept by him as a pet;
Where a person carries on a business of selling animals as pets in conjunction with a business of breeding pedigree animals, and the LA is satisfied that the animals so sold by him (in so far as they are not pedigree animals bred by him) are animals which were acquired by him with a view to being used, if suitable, for breeding or show purposes but have subsequently been found by him not to be suitable or required for such use, the LA may, if it thinks fit, direct that the said person shall not be deemed to keep a pet shop by reason only of his carrying on the first mentioned business.
References in this Act to the selling or keeping of animals as pets shall be construed in accordance with the following provisions, that is to say:
As respects cats and dogs, such references shall be construed as including references to selling or keeping, as the case may be, wholly or mainly for domestic purposes; and
As respects any animal, such references shall be construed as including references to selling or keeping, as the case may be, for ornamental purposes.
There is no definition of the word 'premises', this having been removed by the Pet Animals (Amendment) Act of 1983, but the sale of animals as pets as a business is prohibited in any part of a street or public place or at a stall or barrow in a market.  


Licences remain in force until the end of the year to which it relates and the latter is determined by the applicant as being either the year in which it is granted or the following year. In the first case i.e. the year in which it is granted, the licence comes into force on the day it is granted and expires on 31st December of that year, in the second case, i.e. the year following that in which it is granted, it comes into force on the 1st January of that year and expires on 31st December of that year.

Application Evaluation Process

  • that animals will be kept in suitable accommodation, for example in regards to temperature, size, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • adequate food and drink will be provided to the animals and they will be visited at suitable intervals
  • that any mammalian animals will not be sold too young
  • that steps are taken to prevent disease spreading among the animals
  • that adequate fire and emergency provisions are in place


Conditions can be attached to a licence to ensure that the above are complied with.

Will Tacit Consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.

Failed application & Licence holder redress

Any applicant who is either refused a licence or wishes to appeal a condition of a licence can appeal to the local Magistrates' court, however please contact us in the first instance.

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, if you are located in the UK, Consumer Direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other Redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade Associations

Pet Care Trust (PCT)


Animal - includes any description of vertebrate.
Pedigree animal - means an animal of any description which is by its breeding eligible for registration with a recognised club or society keeping a register of animals of that description.
Veterinary surgeon - means a person who is for the time being registered in the Register of Veterinary Surgeons. Veterinary practitioner - means a person who is for the time being registered in the Supplementary Register (Sec. 7(3)).


How to apply
Applications made to the Licensing Authority must specify the premises concerned and a fee as determined by the Licensing Authority must be paid before a licence is granted.
The factors that may be taken into account in deciding whether or not to issue a licence are listed under 'Conditions' below but these are without prejudice to the Licensing Authority's discretion to refuse a licence on any other grounds.
A to Z of Services




The Licensing Authority
Scarborough Borough Council
Town Hall
St. Nicholas Street
North Yorkshire
YO11 2HG
Tel: 01723 232323
Fax: 01723 365280

LGNL: 375

Scarborough Borough Council,Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. YO11 2HG
Customer First Contact Centre
Gas Safety Week