Dangerous, exotic or wild animal licence

Keeping certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and you need to get a licence from us.

Applications must be made before you obtain the animal (unless you are applying for a renewal of a licence).

There is a licence fee of £295.82 which has to be paid at the time an application is made.

You also have to pay for inspections carried out by us, an authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinary Practitioner. We must be satisfied that the premises are suitable for the animal before we grant a licence.

Any licence we issue will be subject to the following conditions:

  • only the person named on the licence can keep the animal
  • the animal can only be kept on the premises named on the licence
  • the animal can not be moved unless in accordance with conditions specified in the licence
  • the licensee must hold a current insurance policy, approved by us, which insures against liability for damage caused by the animal
  • only the species and number of animals listed on the licence can be kept
  • the licensee will make a copy of the licence and its contents available to any other person listed on the licence as being able to look after the animal

We can at any time revoke or amend any licence condition apart from those covered by 1 to 6.

Licences will expire on the 31 December of the year to which the licence relates and must be renewed before that date if the licence holder is to continue to keep the animal(s) named on the licence.

Our Duties

Before granting a licence we must be satisfied that:

  • it is not against public interest to do so on the grounds of safety, nuisance or other grounds
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep the animals listed on the application
  • the animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents escape and are suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness
  • the animal(s) will be supplied with adequate and suitable food drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals
  • appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the animal(s) in case of fire or other emergency
  • all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • the animal(s) accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise 

If we refuse to grant you a licence, you can appeal to the Magistrates Court.

Offences and fines

  • If you are found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence, or you fail to comply with any licence condition, you will be fined. The maximum fine is £2,000
  • If you are found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector, authorised Veterinary Practitioner or Veterinary Surgeon, you can be fined up to £2,000
  • If you keep an animal without a licence or you fail to comply with a licence condition, we can seize the animal and either retain it or have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere). You will not be compensated
  • If we incur any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal, the keeper of the animal will be liable for those costs