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Dangerous animals licence

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence.

Please use this link to download the list of Dangerous Wild Animals that require a licence. 


There are some limited exemptions from the need to obtain a licence which relate only to:

  • zoos
  • circuses
  • pet shops
  • registered establishments for carrying out animal experiments

How to Apply

You will need to complete an application form and return it together with the fee to the address on the application form.

Applicants must:

  • be a minimum of 18 years of age,
  • not be disqualified from keeping dangerous wild animals
  • and must both own and posses any animal concerned.

Download a dangerous wild animals application form

Or, call 01209 615055 to arrange an appointment to make a telephone application. An additional charge is payable for the telephone application service.


Please view the current licensing fees and charges to find out how much you will need to pay.

Application Evaluation Process

The Council is not permitted to decide an application for a dangerous wild animals licence unless it has considered a report.

This report must be from a veterinary surgeon or practitioner who has been authorised by the Council to carry out an inspection of the premises where the animal will normally be held. 

On completion of the inspection you will be contacted to arrange payment to the Council of the cost incurred for the veterinary surgeon / practitioner inspection.

The application will then be determined.

The Council will not grant a Licence unless it is satisfied that:

  • it would not be contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and is adequately insured
  • animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping
  • accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to the:
    • construction
    • size
    • temperature
    • lighting
    • ventilation
    • drainage
    • and cleanliness
     and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation
  • animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals
  • appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency
  • appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases
  • while any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise


We aim to determine your application within 6 weeks of a valid and complete application.

This is subject to the availability of an approved veterinary surgeon / practitioner.

If we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not automatically be granted due to public safety and animal welfare implications.  Therefore, tacit consent does not apply.

This means that any dangerous wild animal cannot be kept until a licence has been issued.

Issue of Licence

Any licence issued will come into force on the day that it is issued and will remain in force for 2 years.

For renewals, when the renewal application is made before expiry, then the renewed licence will come into force on the date that the previous licence was due to expire.


Where a licence is issued the Council can add conditions it sees fit and must specify conditions:- 

(a) that, while any animal concerned is being kept only under the authority of the licence;

  • the animal shall be kept by no person other than such person or persons as is or are specified (whether by name or description) in the licence;
  • the animal shall normally be held at such premises as are specified in the licence;
  • the animal shall not be moved from those premises or shall only be moved from them in such circumstances as are specified in the licence;
  • the person to whom the licence is granted shall hold a current insurance policy which insures him and any other person entitled to keep the animal under the authority of the licence against liability for any damage which may be caused by the animal; and
  • the terms of any such policy shall be satisfactory in the opinion of the authority;

(b) restricting the species (whether one or more) of animal, and number of animals of each species, which may be kept under the authority of the licence;

(c) that the person to whom the licence is granted shall at all reasonable times make available a copy of the licence to any person entitled to keep any animal under the authority of the licence.


The Council may at any time vary a licence by adding, varying or revoking a condition of licence.  However, there are some conditions for specific purposes which are not permitted to be altered.


Any person aggrieved by the refusal to grant a dangerous wild animal licence, or by any condition subject to which the licence is issued, may appeal to the magistrates’ court.


It is important to make your renewal application before the expiry of the current licence. If you apply before expiry then the current licence remains in force until the renewal application is determined, this is provided that the renewal is only for the existing animals to which the licence relates.

Business Support

There is a comprehensive range of business regulatory support services available to help and advise businesses to be more successful and compliant.

This includes pre-application advice and licensing application assistance.

 Trade Associations

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