Licensing of activities involving animals


On 1 September 2021, new regulations came into effect which means some activities involving the breeding and sale of animals now have to be licensed by law. 


Certain types of activities require a license from a local authority to be carried out. These include:

  • Selling animals as pets as a business
  • Engaging in animal rehoming activities (other than operating as an animal welfare establishment)
  • Operators of animal welfare establishments - which are effectively rehoming centres or sanctuaries
  • Breeding three or more litters of puppies in a 12 month period
  • Breeding three or more litters of kittens in a 12 month period
  • Breeding six or more litters of rabbits in a 12 month period.


Download our briefing note on the licensing regulations for activities involving animals


These regulations will help ensure people operating animal rehoming facilities or sanctuaries have high standards of welfare for the animals in their care. 

Local authorities will inspect premises and can do so with a vet or Scottish SPCA inspector. Licences can be granted for a period of up to three years and licence holders can be penalised and face criminal charges if they breach the conditions of their licence. 

Do you need a licence?

Contact your local authority for further guidance. 

Are you from a local authority and looking for help carrying out inspections? 

Use our contact us form to get in touch.