Pet shop licence

Pet shop licence

The Pet Animals Act 1951 requires any shop that sells pets to be licensed by the local authority. For the purpose of the Act an animal is any creature with a back bone. It therefore includes all animals, birds and fish commonly sold from petshops.  

Environmental Health Officers inspect the premises to check compliance with general health and safety requirements and also the welfare of the animals.

Requirements for pet shops

1. Licence Display

  • The licence, or a copy of the licence, should be suitably displayed in a prominent position
  • Facilities to inspect premises must be granted at all reasonable time to a duly authorised official of the Licensing Authority. The Director of Environmental Services may obtain the opinion of the Council’s official veterinarian where the standards and type of care required is unclear. Where this is necessary the applicant will be charged a vet's fee

2. Accommodation

  • Animals must be kept on accommodation and environment suitable to their species with respect to situation, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness and not exposed to draughts. All accommodation must be kept in good repair
  • If animals are displayed outdoors, they must have protection appropriate to their species
  • Housing must be constructed of non-porous materials or be appropriately treated
  • In order to control the spread of disease, and to prevent injury, animals must not be kept in housing in such a way that they can be disturbed by other animals or by the public
  • All livestock for sale must be readily accessible and easy to inspect, with cages sited so that the floor of the cage is readily visible
  • Accommodation must be cleaned as often as is necessary to maintain good hygiene standards
  • Where accommodation is on a tiered system, water, food or other droppings must not be allowed to enter the lower housing
  • All accessories provided in the accommodation must be suitable for the species

3. Exercise Facilities

  • Suitable and sufficient facilities must be available where appropriate

4. Register of Animals

  • A livestock purchase register must be maintained for all livestock.                       

5. Stocking numbers and densities

  • The maximum number of animals to be stocked on the premises will be governed by the accommodation available so as not to restrict ingress and egress
  • Stocking densities must be suitable and sufficient for the needs of the animals

6. Health, disease and acclimatisation

  • All stock for sale must be in good health and free from parasitic infection as far, as can be reasonably determined without veterinary inspection
  • Any sick or injured animal must receive appropriate care and treatment without delay
  • Facilities must be provided to isolate sick animals
  • All animals must receive appropriate inoculations where required for the species, as advised by a veterinary surgeon
  • Any animal with an obvious, significant abnormality, which would materially affect its quality of life, must not be offered for sale
  • All animals must be allowed a suitable acclimatisation period before sale
  • No animal, which is suffering or could reasonably be suspected of having come into contact with any other animals suffering from any infectious disease shall be brought into or kept on the premises unless it is effectively isolated
  • Individual litters of puppies and kittens must be kept separate from other litters
  • All necessary precautions must be taken to prevent harborage, or the introduction to the premises, of rodents, insects or other pests

7. Food and drink

  • Animals must be supplied with adequate amounts of food and drink, appropriate to their needs, and at suitable intervals
  • All food must be suitable for the species concerned
  • Food and drink receptacles must be constructed and positioned to minimise faecal contamination and spillage
  • A suitable and sufficient number of receptacles must be provided and cleaned at regular intervals

8. Food storage

  • All food, excluding live foods intended for feeding to livestock on the premises, must be stored in impervious closed containers
  • The containers used for cleaning must be kept in a clean and sound condition

9. Observation

  • All livestock must be attended to at regular intervals, at least once daily, and appropriate to the species

10. Excreta and soiled bedding

  • All excreta and soiled bedding must be kept in a hygienic manner and stored in impervious containers with close fitting lids
  • Excreta and soiled material must be removed from the premises on a regular basis, at least weekly and disposed of to the satisfaction of the local authority
  • All containers must be kept in a clean condition


  • All livestock must be transported and handed to purchasers in suitable containers

12.Sale of livestock

  • No animal should be sold to any person under the age of 16 years unless the person is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or appropriate written consent
  • No mammal shall be sold unweaned or, if weaned, at an age which it should not have been weaned
  • In the case of non-mammals, they must be capable of feeding themselves
  • Any dog, which is fitted with a collar with an identifying tag or badge on delivery to the pet shop, must be sold with the collar

13. Pet care advice

  • Pet care leaflets or similar written instructions must be made available for the customer free of charge at the time of purchase, in addition to any offer to purchase pet care books or leaflets
  • Appropriate reference materials must always be available for use by staff

14. Staff training and livestock knowledge

  • No animal should be stocked or sold unless at least one member of staff is familiar with the care and welfare of the animals stocked and has a recognised qualification or suitable experience
  • The licensee must formulate a written training policy for all permanent staff, and will be required to demonstrate that systematic training is carried out

15. Fire and other emergency procedures

  • The licensee shall ensure that a responsible person shall at all times be in or within a reasonable distance of the premises for the purposes of giving warning and taking other necessary steps in the event of fire or other emergency
  • A list of key holders must be notified to the local Fire Services, Police and local authority
  • Suitable fire fighting equipment must be provided, maintained, regularly serviced and sited as advised by the local Fire Precautions Officer
  • Entrances and exits must be clear of obstructions at all times
  • All electrical installations and appliances must be maintained in a safe condition
  • Suitable emergency precautions and written procedures must exist and be made to all staff, including the arrangements for the evacuation of livestock

The licence is renewable annually and the current fee is £105 plus any applicable vets fees.

How do I apply for the licence

Download Pet Shop licence application form (PDF 34KB)

The conditions of the licence can also be found on the form. You should return the form, together with your remittance for the licence, made payable to Walsall MBC to:

Environmental Health
Civic Centre
Darwall Street

Tel: 01922 653030
Fax: 01922 653070


This page was last updated on 26 September 2016