Pet shop licences

Changes proposed to pet shop licensing in England & Wales

In 2016 Defra announced a review of how animal establishments, including pet shops, get a licence from local authorities in England and Wales. OATA joined fellow pet industry trade associations Pet Industry Federation and REPTA to give a joint submission to that consultation. Defra announced its Next Steps to how it will approach licensing in February 2017. Find out more about OATA’s response to this here. 

Pet shop licensing – made simple

OATA has launched a scheme for its retail members to help make getting your pet shop licence a lot simpler. Find out more here.

2016 FOI on pet shop licence fees

We did a follow-up to our January Freedom of Information report (see below) asking a number of councils to justify the £300+ fee they charge for licensing. Just one council (Slough) could give a detailed breakdown of how they arrive at that fee. That’s despite Treasury guidance on cost recover. Read the report here. We’ll be sending this to DEFRA and MPs to help them with their consultation on animal establishments, which is looking at the whole issue of pet shop licensing.

2016 FOI report from OATA

We carried out another Freedom of Information request with councils that licence pet shops in 2016. Yet again we found that a significant percentage are still not using the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s 2012 Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing 2013 (see below). You can read our report in full here. We believe this is yet more evidence for the need to radically review the system of pet shop licensing, to ensure guidelines are followed uniformly and that inspectors with the right training are carrying out the inspections. This formed the backbone of our joint submission (with the Pet Industry Federation and REPTA) to DEFRA’s animal establishments licensing consultation.

2014 FOI report from OATA

In 2014 OATA made Freedom of Information requests to nearly 400 local authorities to see how they deal with pet shop licensing, which found that less than a third were actually using the guidance. You can read OATA’s findings here.

We’ve sent this report to:

  • Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare
  • Tracey Crouch MP, Chair of the Pet Advisory Group
  • Shadow DEFRA Minister Huw Irranca-Davies
  • The House of Commons Environment and Rural Affairs Committee
  • Representatives of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
  • Tim Morris, of the Animal Health and Welfare Board England

This is all part of our work to continue the political pressure to make pet shop licensing more consistent across the UK. This 2014 report follows up on a similar report done in 2012 by ProPets.

2013 CIEH guidance

In July 2013 the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health introduced new guidance for Environmental Health Officers to help standardise pet shop licensing work across the country.

Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing 2013 is now available on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s website and it alerted its members to the document when it was first published.

OATA was one of a number of organisations which worked on the guidance with the professional body. The document seeks to help EHOs by providing standard advice to use when they visit pet shops each year to consider the issue or renewal of a pet shop licence. This is the first time that one document pulls together advice in this way.

We know from our members how variable pet shop licence conditions can be across the country so the document is very welcome. While it is guidance only, it does offer pet shops the ability to question EHOs if they move significantly away from the advice. We would encourage our members to ask EHOs if they are using the guidance when they visit to review their licence.

We will also continue to help our members if they are given unusual or unreasonable conditions as part of their pet shop licence. Call our office if this is happening to you.

The organisations which collaborated with CIEH on the new guidance were:

  • British Veterinary Association
  • Cats Protection League
  • Dogs Trust
  • OATA
  • Pet Care Trade Association
  • Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association
  • Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund
  • International Cat Care

Model Conditions for Pet Vending Licensing 2013 can be found here on the CIEH website.