Animal boarding establishments


Under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963|External link anyone who carries on the business of providing accommodation for other people's cats and dogs is required to have a licence. The aim of the licensing requirements is to achieve certain standards in the management of the accommodation and to ensure precautions against disease and fire.

Application for a licence must be made to the Local Authority and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the following Acts:

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


The Local Authority is required to specify such conditions in the licence as appears to it necessary for securing all or any of the following objectives:

  1. That the animals will, at all times, be kept in accommodation suitable in respect of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperatures, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness.
  2. That animals will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding materials, adequately exercised, and (so far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals.
  3. That all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of adequate isolation facilities.
  4. That appropriate measures will be taken to protect the animals in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment.
  5. That a register containing a description of any animal received into the establishment, the date of arrival and departure, and the name and address of the owner will be kept, 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.
  6. A licence may be refused or withheld on other grounds if those grounds are such that conditions were not suitable for the boarding of animals.
  7. Each licence issued is subject to standard conditions that are imposed on all animal boarding establishments licensed by the Council.
  8. In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.

Home boarding

It is becoming increasingly popular for individuals to carry out small-scale commercial boarding of dogs within their own home. This requires an animal boarding licence and compliance with the Council's specific model conditions:

Home boarding of dogs [PDF file 39KB]|PDF file

In all other aspects, the application and licensing process is the same as any other animal boarding establishment.

Offences and penalties

The following offences and penalties apply to the keeping of animal boarding establishment.

  1. Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal boarding establishment without a licence may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  2. Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licences may be subject to a fine not exceeding £500 or to three months imprisonment or both.
  3. Anybody 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 the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963, the defendant's licence may be cancelled and they may be disqualified from keeping an animal boarding establishment for such length of time the Court thinks fit.

Last Updated: 28/07/2016