The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as superseded by the Animal Welfare Act 2006).
The animals for which a licence is required before they may be kept are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification)(No2) Order 2007.
A licence may be issued as long as the applicant isn't disqualified, or has been convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
Before granting a licence the licensing inspector must be satisfied that:
- it's not contrary to the public interest to do so on the grounds of safety, nuisance or other grounds
- the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep the animals listed on the application
- the animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents its escape and is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness
- the animal(s) will be supplied with adequate and suitable food drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals
- appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the animal(s) in case of fire or other emergency
- all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
- the animal(s) accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise
- where we issue a licence, it will be subject to such conditions as we see fit to impose, and in each case these conditions will specify that:
- only the person named on the licence shall be entitled to keep the animal
- the animal shall only be kept on the premises named on the licence
- the animal shall not be moved or may only be moved in accordance with conditions specified in the licence
- the licensee must hold a current insurance policy, approved by us, which insures against liability for damage caused by the animal
- only the species and number of animals listed on the licence may be kept
- the licensee shall make a copy of the licence and its contents available to any other person listed on the licence as being able to look after the animal
We may at any time revoke or amend any licence condition apart from those covered by the bullets under point 8, above.
Your rights of appeal
Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which the licence is subject may appeal to the magistrates court, and the court may give such direction regarding the licence and its conditions as it thinks proper.
Offences and penalties
Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence to do so, or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000.
Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an inspector or authorised veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000.
Where a person keeps an animal without a licence, or fails to comply with a licence condition, our inspectors may seize the animal and either retain it or have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere) without compensation to the owner.
Where we incur any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.
We have a duty to determine that an applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep a dangerous wild animal. To apply for a licence you must be age 18 or over and you must not be disqualified under certain other statutes from keeping or having custody of animals.
To keep any animal listed in the Schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No2) Order 2007, with the exemption of zoos, circuses, pet shops or certain other exemptions.
Anyone wishing to keep any animal listed in the Schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No2) Order 2007. No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the person making the application must be the person who owns and possesses or proposes to own and possess the animal to which the application applies.
There is a fee for issuing this document, which is taken when you apply.
The applicant will also be required to pay the cost of inspections carried out by our authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.
- Completed application form
- Public liability insurance
- See application form for any additional requirements
Where a licence is granted that licence and any subsequent licence will expire on the 31 December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed before that date if the licence holder is to continue to keep the animal(s) named on the licence.
Download the form, print it out, fill it in and post your application along with the fee if applicable to:
The Licensing Team, Shirehall,
Download an application form