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Boarding animals licence

Find out if you need a boarding animals licence, how to apply, what conditions you need to meet and how to appeal a licensing decision.

Do I need a licence?

You need a boarding animals licence to run a kennel, cattery, dog creche or doggy day care. Your licence will specify the number of dogs and cats you can keep, along with other conditions.

There are 3 types of animal boarding licence:

  1. Domestic - boarding dogs live in the home as family pets
  2. Non-domestic - boarding dogs and cats do not live in the home as family pets
  3. Dog creche or doggy day care - short-term daytime care for dogs

Who can apply?

You're not eligible to apply if you're banned from any of the following at the time of application:

  • Keeping an animal boarding establishment
  • Keeping a pet shop under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Keeping animals under the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • Owning, keeping, being involved in the keeping or being entitled to control or influence the keeping of animals, dealing in animals or transporting or being involved in the transportation of animals under the Animals Welfare Act 2006
  • Owning, keeping, dealing in or transporting animals under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006

How to apply

The application process has 4 steps:

  1. Download and complete an application form and either:
  2. We'll contact you to arrange your payment of the £155 licence fee.
  3. We'll schedule an inspection of your premises by an Animal Welfare Officer.

Apply for a domestic boarding licence  (175kb pdf)

Apply for a non-domestic boarding licence  (230kb pdf)

Apply for a dog creche or doggy day care licence (207kb pdf) 

Will tacit consent apply?  

No, we must process your application before it can be granted.

What conditions do I need to meet?  

To receive an animal boarding licence, our Animal Welfare Officer will check you meet our conditions:

  • You'll keep animals in suitable accommodation at all times. This includes:
    • Construction and size of accommodation
    • Number of animals housed
    • Facilities for exercising the animals
    • Cleanliness and temperature
    • Lighting and ventilation
  • You'll provide suitable food, drink and bedding materials and the animals will be exercised and visited regularly.
  • You'll take adequate steps to prevent and control the spread of disease among animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • You'll provide adequate protection to animals in cases of fire and other emergencies.
  • You'll keep a register, including a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

How long will my licence last?

Animal boarding licences are annual.

  • Your licence will be valid from 1 January - 31 December of the year you apply, regardless of when you apply.
  • You'll need to make a renewal application every year - we send out the relevant documents to our licensed premises around September-October each year.
  • You'll need to pay the full cost of the annual licence,  regardless of what time of year you apply.

How do I appeal a licence decision?

Please contact our Public Protection Service in the first instance using the contact details provided.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal to your local magistrates' court.  

Fines and penalties

You can be fined up to £500 or imprisoned for up to 3 months, or both, if you:

  • Run an animal boarding establishment without a licence
  • Don’t follow the conditions of your licence

If you stop or delay an inspection, your licence can be taken away and you could be banned from running an animal boarding establishment.

Related pages


0300 303 8871

Public Protection Service​​
Number One Riversid​e​
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU ​