Selling animals as pets

Guidance notes for selling animals as pets

Application form - Selling animals as pets

A licence is required for anyone who sells animals as pets or with a view to them being resold as pets.

Selling animals as pets is defined in Schedule 1 of the regulations as follows:

Selling animals as pets (or with a view to their being later resold as pets) in the course of a business including keeping animals in the course of a business with a view to their being so sold or resold.

This includes any internet business of selling pets plus anyone who supplies pets for sale, either to a third party or directly to the public. Selling animals as pets as a business is prohibited in any part of a street, in a public place, or at a stall or barrow in a market.

In scope criteria

Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are subject to licensing:

  1. The import, distribution and sale of animals by a business.
  2. Businesses registered with Companies House.
  3. Businesses or individuals operating from domestic premises for commercial purposes (it should be noted that many may not be listed with Companies House).
  4. Premises open to members of the public or to other businesses where animals are available for purchase.

Out of scope criteria

  1. The infrequent sale of a small number of surplus offspring/excess stock by a private individual who breeds animals as a hobby, for pleasure, exhibition for prize, or for education, study or scientific advancement. For low value species that may produce large numbers of excess stock, consideration should be given to the value of the stock and the likelihood that the seller is making a profit.
  2. Organised events where people meet to sell surplus animals they have bred, or animals that are surplus to their requirements, whether or not this is open to the public. Selling pet animals as a business from a market or stall is prohibited under Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951.
  3. Aquacultural Production Businesses that are authorised under regulation 5(1) of the Aquatic Animal Health (England and Wales) Regulations 2009, and that are inspected by the Fish Health Inspectorate.
  4. The non-commercial rehoming of animals, including puppies and kittens.

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