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Pet shop licence

The keeping and running of a pet shop is controlled by the Pet Animals Act 1951. 

We try to make sure that all animals are well looked after, that pets will be looked after once they are sold, that the layout of any facilities are suitable and that staff are trained.

Licence summary

A licence is required for any person wishing to sell animals as pets from premises. 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, and a fee is payable.

Eligibility criteria

A licence will not be issued if you are disqualified under any of the following Acts.

  • The Pet Animals Act 1951.
  • The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963.
  • The Protection of Animals (Amendment ) Act 1954.
  • The Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934.

Application evaluation process

Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Council's Licensing Inspector:

  • That they are suitably qualified to keep animals with regard to the type and number proposed to be kept.
  • That the animals will be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature lighting, ventilation and cleanliness.
  • That animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding materials and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals.
  • That mammals will not be sold at too early an age.
  • That all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of infectious disease amongst the animals.
  • That appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment.
  • That a register containing a description of any animal received on the premises, the animals age and sex, the date of acquisition and departure and the source from which the animals are received, and that the register will be available for inspection at all times by a Licensing Inspector or by a veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner authorised by the council.
  • No animal will be sold to a child under the age of 12 years.

A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions are not suitable for the keeping of animals.

Each licence is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all pet shops licensed by the Council.

In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Where a licence is granted that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on the 31 December of the year to which it relates and must be renewed before that date if the premises are to continue as a pet shop.

Offences and penalties

The following offences and penalties apply to the pet shops:

  • Any person found guilty of keeping a pet shop without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  • Any person found guilty of failing to comply with their licence conditions may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  • Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector, or authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner in the exercising of their powers of entry may be fined up to a maximum of £500.
  • If found guilty under this Act, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping a pet shop for such length of time as the Court thinks fit.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us using the contact details provided.

Apply for a licence

The application fee of £138 must be included and applications returned to the Public Protection Service.

Application for a licence to keep a pet shop (125kb pdf)

Failed application redress

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Court and they may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as they think proper. Please contact us in the first instance.

Licence holder redress

A licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition can appeal to a local Magistrates' Court. Please contact us in the first instance.

Further information

Copies of the Pet Animals Act 1951 and other legislation mentioned can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

A copy of the Pet Animals Act 1951 can be inspected at the Environmental Health offices where you may also obtain a copy of our standard licensing conditions, an application form and further help or advice; our contact details are available in the column to the top right.


0300 303 8871

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