Section 1: Introduction
This guidance applies in Scotland only. It is issued by the Scottish Ministers under section 38 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. The purpose of this guidance is to help applicants for or holders of an animal rehoming licence understand the requirements of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (hereinafter referred to as "the Regulations"). You can find the Regulations here: The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)
This guidance is advisory only. If there are conflicts between the content of this guidance and the provisions of the Regulations or any other legislation, the statutory provisions should take priority. The interpretation of legislation is ultimately a matter for the courts.
The Regulations came into force on 1 September 2021. They replaced previous legislation covering pet sales and dog breeding and introduced new licensing requirements for cat and rabbit breeders, animal welfare establishments (such as animal sanctuaries and rehoming centres) and other pet rehoming activities, subject to operators meeting the licensing criteria for each activity.
On 10 October 2021 the Regulations were amended. One of the changes introduced affected schedule 4 of the Regulations which sets out the specific conditions of licence applicable to animal rehoming activities. Specifically, the change removed the prohibition on the supply of kittens - cats under 6 months old – as pets if they are not bred by the licence holder. This change permits persons who hold a licence to engage in animal rehoming activities - including foster carers working with animal welfare charities - to rehome kittens.