Pet shop licences

The Pet Animals Act 1951 requires that any premises or shop from which pet animals are sold must have a licence to do so issued by the local authority in which it is situated.


These provisions only apply to the selling of vertebrates.

You do not need a pet shop licence to sell the offspring of a pedigree animal kept as a pet.

You do not need a pet shop licence where a person carries on a business of breeding pedigree animals, and the local authority are satisfied that the animals being sold have not been bred but have been acquired for breeding or show purposes and have been found to be unsuitable for those purposes.

Applying for a licence

When we receive your completed application and fee we will arrange for an inspection of the premises resulting in a report upon the suitability of the application.

We will impose conditions on the licence to ensure that appropriate welfare standards are met. In general these will be the standard conditions for any premises plus those applicable to the species of animals being sold. However, extra conditions may be attached if it is thought to be appropriate to the circumstances.

Our application form and a copy of our standard licence conditions for pet shops can be downloaded from this page.

Note that in addition to a full inspection prior to the granting of a new licence or a renewal, licensed premises may also be subject to unannounced inspections to ensure that the licence conditions are being met and that the welfare of the animals being kept for sale under the licence is secured. We may also appoint inspectors with particular expertise from outside of the Council where this is appropriate to carry out inspections on our behalf.

Licences must be renewed annually while the keeping of a pet shop continues and we would recommend that applications for renewal are made in good time to ensure that we are satisfied that new licences can and should be granted and issued prior to the expiry of the existing one.

Licence holders will only be able to trade in the types of animals specified on their licence or any schedule attached to it. Licence holders wishing to add animals from groups other than those specified will need to apply for and receive a variation to their licence before doing so.

Licence fee

You will need to pay a fee which is set to cover our costs in administering the licence.

Licence fees are charged annually upon application for renewal. Please note that the legislation requires that a licence will expire on 31 December each year. Therefore a licence granted initially during a year will only remain valid for the remainder of it. You will need to apply for a renewal before the expiry date as outlined above.

Other issues

You must ensure that any other necessary general regulatory approval, such as planning permission if required, is also in place prior to making your application.

Reporting unlicensed traders or concerns about licensed premises

Please contact us as shown below. We will need as much information as possible and may need to contact you further to gain a full understanding of your concerns and the evidence for them. We will investigate as fully as is practicable. Licence holders that are in breach of their licence conditions may face a range of penalties including prosecution, withdrawal of their licence, or refusal of renewal. Other persons trading without a licence may face a range of sanctions, including prosecution.

Contact us

Email animal warden team

Telephone: 020 8583 2000
Fax: 020 8583 5088

Animal Warden Team
Community Safety, Environment and Regulatory Services
London Borough of Hounslow
Bridge Road Depot
Pears Road

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