Do I need a licence?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force 1 October 2018; and require any person who breeds 3 litters in any 12 month period to have a licence. The regulations also state that activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are subject to licensing:

  • Anyone breeding three or more litters of puppies per year (unless they can evidence that none of the puppies have been sold).
  • Anyone breeding puppies and advertising a business of selling them, as defined under the business test below*. This is irrespective of the number of litters produced per year. This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities, and in Birmingham a licence is required if any person breeds and sells 2 litters of puppies in any 12 month period.
  • Factors that should be considered when determining whether someone is “advertising a business” include:
    • The number, frequency and/or volume of sales - systematic and repeated transactions using the same means of advertising are likely to indicate a commercial activity.
    • High volumes of animals sold or advertised for sale could indicate a business.
    • Low volumes of animals sold or advertised could indicate a business where high sales prices or large profit margins are involved.
    • High range and variability in the breeds traded. A wide variety of breeds being advertised could indicate the commercial nature of the activity.
    • High numbers of advertisements of puppies for sale, including on classified websites, could indicate commercial behaviour, even where there is no actual sale taking place via the internet. This could be high numbers of advertisements at any one time or over a short period of time, and/or regularly.
    • Advertising through a variety of sites, forums or media could indicate a commercial activity.

* Business test

The circumstances which a local authority must take into account in determining whether an activity is being carried on in the course of a business for the purposes of this Schedule include, for example, whether the operator:

  • makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity.
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