Animal boarding establishment licence

You will need a licence to operate a Under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963, the following businesses need a licence from the local authority and must abide by the conditions of the licence:

  • Dog boarding kennels
  • Boarding catteries
  • Dog or cat home boarding
  • Dog day care/crèche (including at a private dwelling)

Officers will visit each premises to check compliance with the legislation and licence conditions prior to issuing a licence. We may also authorise an officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner to inspect licensed premises.

You do not need a licence to board any other animal other than a cat or a dog, but you must meet the duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Licence conditions

It is an offence to keep a boarding establishment for dogs or cats without first obtaining a licence from the council.
The number of dogs and cats that may be accommodated will be specified on the licence along with other specific conditions that may be considered necessary to ensure that animals are:

  • kept in suitable accommodation
  • provided with adequate food, drink and bedding
  • regularly exercised
  • safeguarded in an emergency
  • protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease – this includes providing isolation facilities.

Application for a licence must be made to the council and a licence may be issued if the applicant is not disqualified under any of the following Acts:

  • The Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963
  • The Pet Animals Act 1951
  • The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • The Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934
  • The Animal Welfare Act 2006

Licences are valid from the date of issue to the 31 December the same year. The licence must be renewed before 31 December if the premises are to continue trading as an animal boarding establishment.  

Service standards

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within 4 working days.

We will determine your application within 28 days.

Relevant legislation

  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006

Licence fees and charges

The authority will charge a fee to process your application (use the link below for current fees and charges). The fee is the same whether you apply online or by post ( or UK Welcomes do not charge an additional fee for online applications).

Application evaluation process

A fee is payable for each application and conditions will be attached to any licence granted.
An officer will visit the premises and the following things will be considered before we decide whether to grant a licence:

  • That the animals will be kept in suitable accommodation at all times. Suitable accommodation takes into account the construction and size of the accommodation, the number of animals to be housed in it, facilities for exercising the animals, cleanliness and temperature, lighting and ventilation provisions.
  • That suitable food, drink and bedding materials will be provided and that the animals are exercised and visited regularly.
  • That steps are taken to prevent and control the spread of disease among the animals and that isolation facilities are in place.
  • That adequate protection is provided to the animals in the case of fire and other emergencies.
  • That a register is kept. The register should contain a description of all animals received, their arrival and departure date and the name and address of the owner. The register should be available to be inspected at any time by a local authority officer, veterinary surgeon or practitioner.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your licence has been granted if you have not heard from us 28 days after we received your application.


Please contact us in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates’ court.

Any licence holder who objects to a condition attached to a licence may appeal to the local Magistrates court.

Apply online


Application for a licence to operate an animal boarding establishment

Application to change an existing, licensed animal boarding establishment licence

Application to renew an existing, licensed animal boarding establishment licence

Stevenage Borough Council is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Boarding Establishment application form

Contact details

Environmental Health and Licensing
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
01438 242908 / 242916