Dangerous wild animal licences

You need a licence if you want to keep an animal considered to be wild, dangerous or exotic.

You must make sure it is kept in conditions which:

  • create no risk to the public
  • safeguard the welfare of the animals

Which animals need a licence?

Animals you need a licence for include:

  • wild cats
  • primates
  • wild dogs, eg wolves
  • certain pigs, such as wild boar
  • marsupials

See the full list of animals you need a licence for.

Animals on the list must be kept under the conditions of a licence in both domestic and commercial premises. It is an offence to hold an animal on the list without a valid licence or to breach the conditions on a licence.

The Act does not apply to dangerous wild animals kept in a zoo or circus because such premises have their own specific legislation.

Licences are issued following satisfaction by the local authority that:

  • The requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 can be met.
  • The keeping of the animal will not be contrary to public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise.
  • The licence holder is a suitable person.

Animals will only be kept under the authority of the licence:

  • in accommodation that secures the animal from escape and is suitable in relation to its construction, size temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation
  • if the animal is supplied with adequate and suitable food, drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals
  • if adequate fire and emergency precautions are in place to protect the animal
  • if adequate precautions are in place to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases including zoonotic disease.
  • if the accommodation ensures an animal can take adequate exercise

Please note there are currently no dangerous wild animal licenses within Cheltenham borough.

Complaint or information about dangerous wild animals

Please contact environmental health providing details of the premises and person involved. Please clearly state your concerns and reasoning.  All maters of concern will be investigated.  For other animal welfare complaints see who is responsible in animal welfare.

The DEFRA code of practice on privately kept primates is useful.

Making an application - new and renewal

As soon as you think you may own or possess an animal included in the dangerous wild animal list, please contact an environmental health officer so we can discuss your proposals with you before any expense is incurred. Please be aware the application process takes a minimum of 2 to 3 months (renewals and new) and may be longer dependent upon the species and the circumstances of the case. Licences run for 2 years from the date of issue.

Consultations takes place with veterinary surgeons, Gloucestershire Police and Fire Services and may take place with other local authorities. Neighbouring properties and residents may also be contacted.

The applicant and holder of the licence is the person who proposes to own and possess the animal.

Environmental health inspect all new premises before granting a licence and work with the animal owner, alongside independent veterinary advice to establish the conditions of the licence. The licence is subject to an bi-annual fee. Inspections are undertaken considering risk, at various times of the year and will be undertaken annually.

Make an application

Please consider if you will require planning permission.  The erection of additional facilities or changing the use of existing premises is likely to require prior approval under the town and country planning act and/or building regulations.

Relevent Legislation and Documentation

Will tactic consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process the application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us.


In the first instance please contact us to explain your concerns and we will work with you to resolve them. Any applicant refused a licence or in disagreement with any condition may appeal to a magistrates court.