The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence from us.
The animals for which a licence is required before they may be kept are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the person making the application must be the person who owns and possesses or proposes to own and possess the animal to which the application applies.
Before granting a licence we must be satisfied that:
- it is not contrary to the 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 its escape and is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness
- that 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
Where a licence is granted that licence and any subsequent licence 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.
We may at any time revoke or amend any licence condition apart from those covered below:
- only the person named on the licence shall be entitled to keep the animal
- the animal shall only be kept on the premises named on the licence
- the animal shall not be moved or may only be moved 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 may be kept
- the licensee shall 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
How to apply
The applicant will be required to pay the cost of inspections carried out by our authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.
To apply for this licence: The completed form can be sent to:
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
We are unable to accept this form by email because it must have a signature.
A licence may be issued providing the applicant is not disqualified or has been convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
Your rights to appeal
Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which the licence is subject, may appeal to the Magistrates Court and the Courts may give such direction regarding the licence and its conditions as it thinks proper.
Offences and penalties
- anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence to do so or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000
- any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an inspector or authorised veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000
- where a person keeps an animal without a licence or where a person fails to comply with a licence condition, our Inspectors may seize the animal and may either retain it or have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere) without compensation to the owner
- where we incur any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs
Copies of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and other legislation mentioned here can be purchased from the Office of Public Sector Information.
This information is only a brief guide, for further information please contact us.
Page last updated: 08 February 2019