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Dangerous wild animals

Any person keeping any dangerous wild animal is required to hold a licence from the Council. This licensing procedure does not apply to animals kept in:

  • a zoological garden
  • circus
  • pet shops
  • places registered under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 for the purpose of performing experiments.

Apply by post or email

Please complete an Animal Boarding Establishment licence application form and post or email it to us.

The application form can be found at the bottom of this page.

Licensing Requirements

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as amended) regulates the licensing of dangerous wild animals.

A licence is required where an individual or a business wishes to keep an animal included on the Schedule of Dangerous Wild Animals maintained and published by DEFRA.

The legislation applies to business enterprises such as an ostrich farm, however, it does not apply to dangerous wild animals kept in a zoo or a circus. The legislation applies to all individuals that wish to keep a dangerous wild animal at home, for example, a venomous snake.

In order to determine the application, an annual independent veterinary inspection of the animals and premises is required prior to the issuing of a licence. The veterinary surgeon must have suitable experience of dangerous wild animals. The Council will nominate the veterinary surgeon for each inspection and make the appropriate arrangements. The cost of any veterinary inspection will be the responsibility of the applicant/licence holder.

A licence will not be issued where the veterinary surgeon recommends refusal.

To obtain a licence, the applicant must demonstrate that suitable accommodation and care can be provided, and that the keeping of the animal(s) would not endanger public safety or create a public nuisance.

It is an offence for a person to keep a dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence from the Council.

Application Evaluation Process

Once an application has been received and payment has been made, an authorised veterinary surgeon will inspect the proposed premises to determine if it is a suitable environment to be licensed and meets the licence conditions.

The conditions that will be attached to the licence are attached at the bottom of this page. Additional conditions can also be attached to the licence if deemed necessary. Please ensure that you read the conditions prior to submitting an application.

Save for exceptional circumstances, any dangerous wild animal application that does not meet the Council’s licensing conditions will not be granted a licence.

Licences for Dangerous Wild Animal establishments will be issued for a period of two years.

What does this cost?

All of the fees for the boarding establishments are set out in the Council's Application fees.

What happens next?

We aim to issue a decision on an application within 10 weeks of receiving it. It is possible that the process may take longer, for example if further information is required from the applicant or if it proves difficult to make the arrangements for the inspection.

Applicant/Licence Holder Redress

If you are unhappy about the way that we have dealt with your application, the Council has a formal mechanism for dealing with such issues. Please see our Comments, Compliments and Complaints page.