Licence for selling animals as pets

Selling pet animals as a business from a market or stall is prohibited under Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951.

You need a licence if you provide as part of your business:

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

Activities that do not need a licence

  • If you are a dog breeder, you will need a dog breeding licence.
  • If you breed animals as a hobby, for pleasure, exhibition for prize, or for education, study or scientific advancement and occasionally sell a small number of surplus offspring/excess stock where no or very little profit is made.
  • Organised events where people meet to sell surplus animals they have bred, or animals that are surplus to their requirements.
  • 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

Licence conditions

You must be able to meet the general and specific conditions before we will issue you with a licence.

Defra guidance document

You should read the procedural and applicable activity guidance documents which we will refer to during the application process. They detail the higher standards you will need to meet to get a higher star rating and longer lasting licence. 

Make an application