Animal welfare licensing

Advice for businesses during the coronovirus pandemic. We will update this page when new guidance is released.

Members of The Canine & Feline Sector Group have come together to provide guidance during the pandemic. This advice includes advice for pet business owners and other commercial activities.

Information and advice on applying for a licence of boarding establishments, dangerous wild animals, dog breeding, pet shops and riding establishments or registering performing animals.

Animal boarding

To run a boarding kennel or cattery you need a licence, this also applies to home boarding whereby people look after other people's dogs/cats within their home.

Licences to keep an animal boarding establishment are issued under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963.

Apply online

Dangerous wild animals

If you intend to keep dangerous wild animals, other than in a zoo or pet shop, you must apply for a licence. The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals. Licences are required for specific animals.

Contact us to apply for a licence to keep dangerous animals.

Dog breeding

Anyone who is in the business of breeding and selling dogs will need a licence.

A person will be presumed to be carrying on the business of breeding dogs for sale where during any 12 month period five or more litters are born to his/her bitch or bitches which are:

  • kept by him at any premises, including a private dwelling, during any period of  12 months
  • kept by any relative of his at those premises
  • kept by him elsewhere
  • kept by any person under a breeding arrangement with him

Contact us to apply for a dog breeding licence.

Pet shops

You will need a licence to run a business selling pet animals.

This includes all commercial selling of pet animals, including pet shops, wholesalers, dealers, importers, exporters and businesses selling animals over the internet. The conditions of the licence relate to the standards of accommodation and the welfare of the animals.

If you are uncertain whether you require a licence or in the event of the death of the licence holder please contact us.

Riding establishments

If you own a riding establishment, you must apply annually for a licence.

Under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 a riding establishment is defined as: "the carrying on of a business of keeping horses for either or both of the following purposes, that is to say, the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or the purpose of their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding".

If you hire out horses or donkeys or provide a riding school service, you need a licence. 

Provisional licences run for three months from the day on which they are granted and are used where the local authority is satisfied that it would not be justified in issuing a full licence. Upon application the three month period may be extended for one further three month (maximum) period at our discretion.

Apply for a riding establishment licence

In the event of the death of the licence holder or if you don't know if your business needs a licence contact us.

Performing animals

If you intend to keep or train animals for public performances, you will need to be registered. 

Legislation covers the use of animals in stage performances, films, at circuses or in exhibitions. Anyone who trains and exhibits performing animals (not including invertebrates) must be registered with their local authority.

Anyone performing in Hammersmith & Fulham but living outside the borough should register with their own local authority.

To register, or to find out if you need to register please contact us.

All animal licences

Before a licence is issued, we carry out an inspection. Depending on the circumstances, a veterinary inspection may also be required for an additional fee.
As part of the application you may be asked to provide documents, for example public liability insurance, fire risk assessment and qualification records.


Animal establishment licence fees 2019- 20 (pdf 80KB).

Animal Welfare Charter (pdf 190KB)

Contact details

Hammersmith & Fulham Council
The Environment Department
Food and Safety Team
Hammersmith Town Hall
King Street
W6 9JU

020 8753 1081 - lines open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Current animal welfare licences issued

Ellis's Pet Stores (pdf 2MB)
Hurlingham Pets (pdf 1.9MB)
The Fish Bowl (pdf 2MB)
The Mayhew Animal home (pdf 1.4MB)
Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre (pdf 58KB)

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