Dangerous Wild Animal Licence

Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, you must hold a licence from us if you wish to keep a dangerous wild animal. This is unless at a licensed zoo, specialist pet shop, circus or a scientific institution.
A list of the wild animals for which you will need a licence is in the schedule to the Act.

Applying for a Licence

To apply for a licence to keep a dangerous wild animal, you can complete and submit an application form.

You can request a PDF application from us if needed.

You will also need to complete an application fee and proof of public liability insurance more than £5 million.

You will need to submit other documents which show that you have an understanding of the animals you wish to keep. This could include a Health and Safety Risk Assessment, and emergency evacuation procedure
You must have a licence identifying the species you intend to keep, before you get the corresponding animals. Reputable suppliers will check the licence before releasing the animals to you. Application can take up to eight weeks to process, this is important to consider for arranging shipping or quarantine of animals.
If we refuse your application, you will need to consider what measures you will need to accommodate the animals.
On reciept of an application for a licence, we will arrange for an inspection from a vet specialising in exotic animals. They will inspect the premises and animal accomodation.
Along with the application fee, there will be a recharge of the cost of this inspection to the applicant.
When we consider the application, we will be looking to ensure that:
  • The keeping of the animal will not lead to a risk to public safety, nuisance, or not be in the public interest
  • The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence. This will be in consideration of experience, skills, knowledge or qualifications
  • Animals are in accommodation they can't escape from at all times. This should be suitable construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness.
  • The accommodation provides enough scope for the animal to exercise
  • Animals will have suitable food, drink and bedding material, and at suitable intervals
  • Appropriate steps are take to protect the animals in the case of fire or other emergency
  • Reasonable precautions to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases
Licence-holders are (or will be) the legal owners and keepers of the animals. Applicants should fulfil any relevant legal requirements, for example, CITES permits.

Maintaining a licence

Licences are usually granted for a period of two years. You can renew your application 8 weeks before the expiry of the licence. We will carry out a further inspection of the premises on each renewal application.
We will issue your licence subject to some conditions, in respect of the care and security of the animal. These will depend on the species your licence allows you to keep.
We will discuss a set of proposed conditions during the inspection. This can give you time to make any adjustments before obtaining the animals. We may add further conditions to your licence while it is in force, and will discuss these with you first.
Council officers and our authorised vet may carry out periodic inspections of premises where wild animals are being kept. This is to ensure that standards are being maintained and you are following license conditions.
You will need our permission to take an animal kept under a licence to another area for more than 72 hours. For example, this could be to exhibit the animal at specialist event or take part in a breeding programme. For this, you should submit a written request to us. We will consult the local council for the area you wish to take the animal to. If agreed, we will vary your licence to allow you to transport the animal.
If a licence-holder is convicted of an animal welfare offence, the court may decide to cancel the licence as part of the sentence. Courts may also disqualify any person from keeping wild animals in the future.

Right of appeal

You may appeal against a refusal of a licence. Licence-holders may also appeal against a decision ta particular condition to their licence. In all cases, you should lodge appeals in a magistrates' court.


We will investigate any complaints about wild animals kept without a licence, or keepers acting in breach of their licence. Please contact us using the details below with your concerns.
For more information on wild animal licences, please telephone us on 01376 557790 or email licensing@braintree.gov.uk