Section 2: Summary of criteria and thresholds for licensing
Under the Regulations, an operator of an AWE (such as an animal sanctuary or animal rehoming centre) will require a licence if a threshold number of animals are kept at the AWE for their care.
An AWE is a place in Scotland where—
- animals that have been abandoned or otherwise separated from their keepers, or
- sick, injured or captured animals that were previously living in a wild state,
are kept for their care.
AWE operators only require a licence if a threshold number of animals are kept at the AWE. This threshold will be met if—
- 5 dogs, or
- 5 equines, or
- 5 animals comprising a mix of dogs and equines, or
- 8 animals (of any type – except any animal under the age of 4 months born within the AWE or received into the AWE with its mother)
are kept in the AWE at the same time for their care.
An AWE can consist of multiple locations within the area of a local authority. If the operator keeps animals for their care at multiple locations within the area of the local authority, and each of those locations falls within the description of an AWE, all such animals will count towards the threshold.
A person does not carry on the activity of operating an AWE establishment by virtue of the following:
- keeping an animal as a pet,
- keeping an animal at premises used for the care or treatment of animals by a person who is a veterinary surgeon,
- a local authority keeping an animal,
- keeping an animal as part of farming or for use in the course of a business,
- carrying on an activity that requires a licence under section 1(1) of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963,
- keeping or training an animal solely for military, police or sporting purposes,
- keeping or training an animal solely for exhibition for the purposes of education or entertainment of an audience,
- keeping or training an assistance dog,
- keeping an animal on premises if required to do so under or because of the Animal Health Act 1981,
- keeping an animal at a zoo,
- keeping an animal in the licensable activity of selling animals as pets in the course of a business or the licensable breeding activities,
- providing food or shelter to animal which roams onto land from which it is free to leave.
A fish is not a relevant animal for the purposes of the activity of operating an animal welfare establishment.
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