The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021: guidance for dog breeders

This guidance is issued by the Scottish Ministers to provide details of the requirements of the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, in relation to dog breeding in Scotland.

Annex A

Guidance on the General Conditions of licence

The general conditions set out in schedule 2 of the Regulations must be attached to any licence granted by a local authority.

1. Licence display

Condition: A copy of the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any premises used for the licensable activity.

Guidance: You must ensure that a copy of your dog breeding licence is displayed in a location where it can be easily seen by visitors to your premises.

Condition: The name of the licence holder, the number of the licence and the name of the local authority that issued the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.

Guidance: Any website includes, for the avoidance of doubt, paid for ad sites, social media platforms and any other website linked to or used in connection with your dog breeding activities.

2. Records

Condition: The licence holder must ensure that all the records that the licence holder is required to keep as a condition of the licence are either—

(a) available for inspection by an inspector in a visible and legible form at any premises specified in the licence at which the licensable activity is carried on, or

(b) if not kept as such premises, are kept in a manner in which they can be readily made available to an inspector.

Condition: Where any records that the licence holder is required to keep as a condition of the licence are stored in electronic form they must be in a form from which they can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.

Condition: The licence holder must keep all such records for at least 3 years beginning with the date on which the record was created.

Condition: Where records are not kept at any premises specified in the licence at which the licensable activity is carried on, the licence holder must promptly make such records available (whether in electronic format or otherwise) for inspection upon request by an inspector.

Guidance: The records that you must keep are detailed in the specific conditions of licence. All such records must be kept in a manner that complies with the conditions set out in the above box.

3. Number of animals

Condition: The total number of animals kept for the licensable activity at any time must not exceed the maximum that is reasonable taking into account the facilities and numbers of employed staff and volunteers on any premises on which the licensable activity is carried on.

Guidance: For dog breeding activities the maximum number of breeding females permitted to be kept for the licensable activity on the premises will be specified on the licence granted by the local authority. As a licence holder you must seek the agreement of the licensing authority before increasing the number of breeding females used for the licensable activity. This is to ensure that licence holders have sufficient space, adequate staffing numbers and appropriate facilities to safeguard animal welfare.

4. Staffing

Condition: Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals in the licenced premises are met.

Condition: The licence holder or a designated manager and any staff employed to care for the animals must be competent to identify the normal behaviour of the species for which they routinely care and to recognise signs of, and take appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour.

Condition: Volunteers who assist in relation to the licensable activity must only undertake tasks for which they have been suitably trained.

Condition: The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff members and volunteers who care for the animals.

Guidance: Suitable and sufficient training of staff must be demonstrated to have been carried out in the following areas:

  • animal welfare, including recognising poor welfare,
  • animal handling,
  • animal behaviour,
  • cleanliness and hygiene,
  • feeding and food preparation,
  • disease control,
  • recognition and first aid action for sick animals,
  • new information on disease and inherited disease, legislation and behaviour.

Staff should hold a relevant qualification and/or be able to clearly evidence knowledge through experience, for example through on the job in-house training.

The training policy for staff should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and may include:

  • annual appraisal,
  • planned continued professional development,
  • recognition of knowledge gaps,
  • use of online courses and literature,
  • if no staff are employed the licence holder must demonstrate their own knowledge development.

The training policy must be applicable to any members of staff and volunteers and can be evidenced by engagement with courses, written or online learning, keeping up to date with any research or developments for specific species and the documentation of the annual appraisal. Evidence of staff and volunteer attendance or completion of the training should be provided. Training records for individual staff and volunteers should be retained.

5. Suitable Environment

Condition: All areas, equipment and appliances to which the animals have access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape and must be constructed in materials that are robust, safe and durable, in a good state of repair and well maintained.


Non-domestic Environment

  • Housing should be secure to prevent injuries and reduce risk of disease transmission. Structural integrity must be maintained, and housing designed to ensure dry, easily cleansed surfaces. Materials must be non-toxic and non-porous or be appropriately treated.
  • Accommodation should be regularly inspected for damage and potential injury or escape points. Damaged accommodation must be repaired or, where an immediate repair isn't possible, made safe and secure until it can be repaired or replaced.
  • Floors should be non-slip, impervious and easily capable of being cleaned and disinfected. Doors should be strong enough to resist impact, scratching and chewing and should be capable of being secured.
  • Hazards must be minimised in accommodation. There should be no projections or rough edges liable to cause injury. No electrical cables must be within reach of any animal that could chew or damage them.
  • All licence holders should be able to demonstrate that both environmental and biosecurity, including zoonotic disease, risks have been considered in the enclosure selection and use.
  • Drainage in enclosures, activity areas, passageways and preparation areas should be adequate to reduce the risk of pathogens associated with standing water. Enclosures should be designed to minimise issues with standing or pooling liquids which may be hazardous to animals.
  • Where new accommodation units are built, they should be built in compliance with relevant building regulations and ensure that any animals to be housed therein have sufficient space and are protected from the effects of weather.

Domestic (home) Environment

  • The home should be well maintained and in good repair. There should not be any sharp edges, projections, rough edges or other hazards which may present risk of injury to an animal.
  • Where pens are used at domestic properties, e.g. pens in the garden, they must meet the standards of the non-domestic dwelling.
  • Outdoor fencing should be secure and kept in a good state of repair.

Condition: If the licensable activity is carried on from premises at which animals are kept, such premises must provide an environment suitable to their species and condition (including health status and age) with respect to

(a) their behavioural needs,

(b) its situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature,

(c) the water quality (where relevant),

(d) noise levels,

(e) light levels,

(f) ventilation.


  • Animals must be able to exhibit normal behaviour in their environment.
  • Accommodation must provide shelter from adverse environmental conditions and predators.
  • Enclosure sizes should be appropriate to the species, and be adjusted to the animal's size as it grows (see Annex C for guidance on the acceptable minimum enclosure/cage sizes (where used) for dogs).
  • Where animals are kept communally they should be monitored to ensure none are disadvantaged. Any change in group dynamics may require separation or larger enclosures.

(a) Behavioural needs

  • Where appropriate, animals should have separate areas for hiding, sleeping, toileting and exercising. Sleeping areas must be dry, draught-free, well ventilated and clean, as well as large enough to allow individual animals to rest fully outstretched where appropriate and turn around unimpeded. Any substrate used should be appropriate for the animal concerned.

(b) Situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature

  • Licence holders must ensure that environmental conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation and lighting are carefully controlled at all times, are within the appropriate range for the animal/s concerned and monitored as appropriate, with any deviations recorded.
  • Staff should be able to outline the remedial action taken when parameters deviate from the acceptable ranges for the animals housed. Over-exposure to direct sunlight and other unintended heat sources must be avoided.
  • Animals held or displayed outdoors must always have access to suitable protection from adverse weather conditions.
  • Animals should not be exposed to draughts.

(d) Noise levels

  • Noise and vibration should be managed as far as possible and kept to a minimum, and enclosures must be situated away from sources causing stress or disturbance.

(e) Light levels

  • Light should be provided in a suitable natural cycle and where natural light is insufficient, suitable artificial lighting must be used.

(f) Ventilation

  • Ventilation should be provided to all interior areas. Ventilation and humidity should be appropriate to the species.

Condition: Animals must be kept clean and comfortable.

Guidance: Where accommodation is on a tiered system, it must be designed such that water, food or waste products must not be allowed to contaminate lower levels. All tiered accommodation should be secure to ensure that no animal can escape or fall out.

Condition: Where appropriate for the species

(a) opportunities for toileting must be provided, and

(b) a toileting area must be provided if the licensable activity is carried on from premises at which animals are kept.

Guidance: A toileting area that is appropriate for the animals or species concerned must be provided. Where a separate area is provided this must be thoroughly cleaned at regular intervals to maintain cleanliness and reduce the risk of illness or disease. For animals kept in pens or cages etc. procedures must be in place to ensure accommodation and any equipment within it is cleaned and disinfected as often as necessary to minimise the risk of disease and protect the health of the animals. Spot cleaning is acceptable if done frequently.

Condition: Procedures must be in place to ensure that

(a) accommodation in any premises from which the licensable activity is carried on and in which animals are kept is capable of being thoroughly cleansed and disinfected.

(b) any equipment within the accommodation is cleaned as often as necessary, and

(c) good hygiene standards are maintained.


  • All units, corridors, common areas, kitchens etc. should be capable of being kept clean and free from accumulations of dirt and dust and must be kept in a condition which will reduce the risk of disease spread and possible accidents. Moveable items should be removed for cleaning at regular and appropriate intervals.
  • Accommodation must be cleaned and disinfected with products effective against likely pathogens. At normal usage levels, disinfectants must be non-toxic to the species housed, used at an appropriate dilution factor and as per the manufacturer's instructions, with appropriate timed separation between disinfection and (re)introduction of animals observed
  • Soiled bedding must be removed in a timely fashion and immediately replaced.
  • Empty enclosures should be fully cleaned and, where appropriate, disinfected and allowed to dry when vacated and before new animals arrive. Substrate must be replaced as appropriate, and enclosure fixtures and fittings where they exist should be adequately disinfected.
  • Enclosures should be cleaned at least daily and as necessary, unless such routine cleaning would cause stress or otherwise impact negatively on the welfare of the animals. Spot cleaning of enclosures is acceptable where appropriate.

Condition: The animals must be transported and handled in a manner (including, for example, in relation to housing, temperature, ventilation and frequency) that protects them from pain, suffering, injury and disease.


  • Any vehicles used in connection with the licensable activity must be suitably equipped with appropriate ventilation, temperature control, security etc.
  • Any animals received or consigned must be transported in accordance with current legislation.
  • Vehicles or relevant carriers / compartments should be cleaned and disinfected after each collection / delivery of animals.
  • Animals must be transported in suitable containers and/or be suitably restrained and must not be mixed with different species or unfamiliar animals. Where a number of animals are transported in the same container then it must be of an appropriate size and construction to minimise stress and avoid welfare issues.
  • Animals should not be left in vehicles for unreasonable periods and must never be left unattended in a car or other vehicle when the temperature may pose a risk.
  • On longer journeys, there must be planned stops to allow for toileting, access to water etc as appropriate, and to allow checks to be made on the welfare of all animals being transported.
  • Injured, diseased or ill animals must not be transported unless being taken to a veterinarian, quarantine or isolation facility. In these situations, where applicable, there must be barriers between containers to reduce the transmission of disease or avoid further injury, where applicable, and the vehicle and equipment should be appropriately disinfected following transportation.
  • Details of diseased or ill animals being transported should be recorded.

Condition: If the animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, all the animals must be easily accessible to staff and for inspection and there must be sufficient light for the staff to work effectively and observe the animals.


  • The premises on which animals are kept, and the enclosures where they are housed should be so designed to allow for at least daily visual inspection, with minimal disturbance to the animal.
  • Easy, safe access to animals is required to enable ready access to any animal in distress or is otherwise in need of assistance.
  • Unless a particular animal requires to be kept in a low light environment, premises must have lighting that is adequate to allow for thorough inspection.

Condition: All resources must be provided in a way (for example as regards frequency, location and access points) that minimises competitive behaviour or the dominance of individual animals.


  • Resources include, but are not limited to: food, water, enrichment items and resting/sleeping/toileting areas.
  • There must be sufficient resources for each individual animal in any shared enclosure to minimise monopolisation of resources by dominant animals, and where this is identified, additional resources must be provided, or dominant animals removed where appropriate.
  • Staff must be trained to recognise signs of group disruption (e.g. competition and aggression) which could compromise animal welfare.

Condition: The animals must not be left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress.

Guidance: Licence holders should have appropriate procedures and sufficient staff in place to ensure that animals kept for the licensable activity are routinely checked and not subjected to situations that would impact negatively on the animal's welfare or lead to unnecessary stress.

6. Suitable Diet

Condition: The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency and any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.


  • The quantity, frequency, delivery and type of food must be determined by what is appropriate for the species, its life stage and the individual animal's behavioural and nutritional needs. Staff should have knowledge of the feeding requirements for all the species held for which they are responsible.
  • Fresh foods must be kept refrigerated where appropriate. Frozen foods intended for use should be stored in an appropriate deep freeze and defrosted thoroughly to room temperature before use.
  • Live food intended for use must be housed in suitable escape proof containers.

Condition: Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.


  • Licence holders should demonstrate adequate procedures to record abnormalities in animals eating and/or drinking habits and the actions to be taken in such circumstances. Licence holders should know when to seek appropriate veterinary advice if necessary.
  • If an animal is housed as part of a social group, the licence holder should have the ability to isolate an individual to ascertain whether it is eating or not.
  • Significant weight loss or gain in animals kept for the licensable activity must be assessed by a competent person. Where the underlying reason cannot be identified, and/or remedial measures have been unsuccessful, the animal must be assessed by a veterinarian.

Condition: Feed and drinking water provided to the animals must be unspoilt and free from contamination.


  • Animals must have access to fresh, clean drinking water at all times, unless it is being restricted on veterinary advice.
  • Any uneaten food should be removed within 24 hours of being supplied to an animal or sooner if spoilt.
  • Refrigeration facilities for food storage should be provided. High risk foods (such as cooked or raw meat and fish, or dairy products) and the remains of opened tinned or pouched food must be stored in covered, non-metal, leak proof containers and refrigerated.
  • Dried food should be stored in appropriately cool and dry places.
  • Food must be protected against dampness, deterioration, mould or from contamination by other animals.

Condition: Feed and drinking receptacles must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected, or disposable.


  • Receptacles should be non-porous, or disposable.
  • Receptacles must be cleaned daily and disinfected at least once a week. If damaged they must be disposed of.
  • Disposable receptacles should only be used once.
  • Animals undergoing treatment for illness or disease must have separate food and water containers whilst treatment is ongoing to protect the health of other animals on the premises.

Condition: If the animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, constant access to fresh, clean drinking water must be provided in a suitable receptacle for species that require it.


  • Fresh clean water must be available at all times, except when withdrawn on veterinary advice, and during the transitional period when water supplies are being changed e.g. when water bottles are removed for filling, cleaning etc.
  • Water should be located away from the sleeping area to help prevent this becoming damp or waterlogged.
  • There should be sufficient water receptacles for the number of animals kept on site.

Condition: Where feed is prepared on any premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, there must be hygienic facilities for its preparation, including a working surface, hot and cold running water and storage.


  • Staff should conform to good hygiene practice in the preparation of food, having due regard to the risk of cross contamination between equipment, utensils and surfaces. There should be appropriate disinfectants available to clean the food preparation area immediately following its use.
  • The food preparation area must be kept clean and vermin free.
  • Human and animal food preparation should not take place in shared preparation areas at the same time or using shared utensils.
  • In establishments where staff are employed, appropriate hand washing facilities with an adequate supply of hot and cold water must be provided for them to wash their hands.

7. Enrichment and training of animals

Condition: If the animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and any outside environments.


  • Where appropriate, you should provide enrichment both inside and outside, including activities such as training, grooming, socialisation and play.
  • Environmental enrichment accessories which stimulate natural behaviour must be provided as appropriate to the species maintained. Such accessories could include ramps, tunnels, hides and toys etc. These must not have the potential to cause injury, must be checked daily and replaced if damaged.
  • As appropriate to the species, enrichment devices should be changed on a regular basis to introduce novelty and maintain interest. When adding new enrichment devices, staff should ensure that the animal is closely monitored for signs of distress.
  • Accessories should be disposable or be disinfected between animals where there is an identified risk of disease spread if enrichment toys or other forms of enrichment are allowed to be shared.
  • Where training is undertaken it must not involve methods that may cause pain, injury or suffering. Training should be reward based, i.e. it should reward desired behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour.

8. Animal Handling and interactions

Condition: All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from suffering, injury or disease.


  • All staff must be trained and competent in the handling of the animals for which they are responsible and be able to demonstrate that they understand the signs of an animal that is stressed or uncomfortable with being handled.
  • Where a customer, visitor or potential adopter is handling an animal, a competent member of staff should be present to demonstrate how the animal should be handled and ensure the interaction is appropriate and is stopped if the animal shows sign of fear, suffering or fatigue.
  • Visitors, especially children, handling animals must be supervised and offered facilities (and encouraged) to clean their hands before and afterwards (e.g. hand sanitisers). Hand washing facilities should be available.
  • Appropriate handling equipment should be available and used when necessary. All equipment used should be safe and appropriate for the intended use.

Condition: If the animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, the animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals. No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary.


  • Where appropriate, animals should be housed in social groups of suitable size. Group-housed animals must be monitored for any signs of domination or wider group disruption and remedial action taken, and documented if necessary.
  • Acceptable reasons for isolation/separation of social species if remedial action has not been successful include demonstrable risk of disease, injury, stress or behavioural issues such as persistent domination/aggression.
  • Where practical and appropriate for the species, to help avoid unwanted litters, all animals should be sexed immediately on arrival to the premises and housed in single sex groups unless this would compromise welfare.
  • Species that are not social or of limited sociability, e.g. cats, should be housed individually or in small groups with animals that they are sociable with. Individual animals must be monitored and separated if necessary, even if in small groups as some individuals that tolerated one another in a household may not be so tolerant in the confines of a pen or enclosure.

9. Protection from Pain, Suffering, Injury and Disease

Condition: Written procedures must—

(a) be in place and implemented covering—

(i) feeding regimes,

(ii) cleaning regimes,

(iii) transportation,

(iv) the prevention of, and control of the spread of, disease,

(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals,

(vi) the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of deceased animals);

(b) be in place covering the care of the animals—

(i) following the suspension or revocation of the licence,

(ii) during an emergency, and

(iii) following an emergency.

Condition: All people responsible for the care of the animals must be made fully aware of these procedures before they attend to any animal in the course of the licensable activity.


  • Written procedures should be proportional to the size and complexity of the licenced activity. Written procedures must be made available to inspectors when requested. The licence holder and any staff (including volunteers) must be fully aware of these procedures and be confident in their application.
  • Procedures should demonstrate how the conditions outlined in this guidance are met.

Condition: If animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is carried on, appropriate isolation, in separate self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals.


  • Provision must be made for the isolation of sick/injured/infectious animals and those that are potentially infected or otherwise a risk, e.g. a rescued animal that is clearly in a poor state of health.
  • Adequate isolation facilities may be on site or at another location, such as a local veterinary practice or introduced through specific changes in management practices demonstrated by written procedures. If the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, a letter must be provided by the practice stating that they are prepared to provide such facilities and that letter should be made available to an inspector upon request. Isolation facilities must be available 24 hours per day.
  • Documented procedures must be in place, and understood by all staff, to prevent the spread of infectious disease, parasites etc between isolated animals and the other animals on the premises.
  • Where infectious disease is present in premises, appropriate procedures to mitigate against further spread must be implemented. This includes use of protective clothing and footwear (where applicable) changed between enclosures; separate storage and use of equipment, thorough cleaning of utensils, and segregation of waste.
  • Isolated animals must be kept in a secure, comfortable location where their condition and needs can be monitored and a record kept of their treatment.
  • Sick, injured or infectious animals must not be handled by members of the public.

Condition: All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among the animals and people of infectious diseases, pathogens and parasites.


  • Procedures should be in place so that signage, care information and/or staff inform visitors about the risks of infectious disease transmission.
  • Any animal which is suffering from, or is reasonably suspected of having come into contact with any other animal suffering from, any infectious or contagious disease or which is clinically infested with parasites, must be quarantined from healthy animals.
  • Where appropriate, any animals brought on to a facility that is suspected of having disease or parasitic infestation must be kept isolated until cleared by a veterinarian.

Condition: All excreta and soiled bedding for disposal must be stored and disposed of in a hygienic manner and in accordance with any relevant legislation.


  • Licenced premises must have facilities for the appropriate storage, treatment and disposal of all classifications of waste produced as part of the licensable activity.
  • Excreta and soiled bedding should be removed from the premises on a regular basis, at least weekly, disposed of to the satisfaction of the appropriate local authority, and in accordance with current regulations and good waste management practice.
  • All excreta and soiled bedding must be stored away from where food and animals are kept.

Condition: Sick or injured animals must receive prompt attention from a veterinary surgeon or, in the case of any sick or injured fish, an appropriately trained person and the advice of that veterinary surgeon or that trained person must be followed.


  • Licence holders should demonstrate that they have procedures in place to ensure that any sick or injured animal receives appropriate care and treatment without delay. Animals must only be treated by appropriately competent and trained staff or veterinarians. "Care and treatment" may include euthanasia. Where euthanasia is to be carried out is must only be done by a suitably qualified and trained person.
  • Any animal showing any sign of disease, injury or illness must be kept separate from other animals and veterinary advice must be promptly sought. Any instructions for the treatment of an animal must be strictly followed, with appropriate records kept (see relevant specific guidance).

Condition: Where necessary, animals must receive preventative treatment by an appropriately competent person in consultation with a veterinary surgeon.

Guidance: See guidance notes directly above.

Condition: The licence holder must register with a veterinary surgeon and the contact details of that veterinarian must be readily available to all staff on any premises on which animals are kept and where the licensable activity is carried on.


  • Licence holders should be able to provide the licensing authority with evidence of registration with a veterinary practice where requested to do so.
  • The name, address and telephone contact number, including out of hours provision, of the veterinary practice used by the licenced premises must be easily available to all staff and included as part of overall emergency planning.

Condition: Prescribed medicines must be stored safely and securely to safeguard against unauthorised access, at the correct temperature, and used in accordance with the instructions of the veterinary surgeon.


  • Licence holders must ensure safe and secure storage for prescribed medicines and appropriate procedures should be in place to ensure that only staff with sufficient knowledge or training have access to medicines on site.
  • Appropriate procedures should be in place to record any use of prescribed medicines.

Condition: Medicines other than prescribed medicines must be stored, used and disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or veterinary surgeon.

Guidance: Licence holders must have appropriate storage, usage and disposal procedures in place which meet this condition of licence.

Condition: Cleaning products must be suitable, safe and effective against pathogens that pose a risk to the animals and must be used, stored and disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and used in a way which prevents distress or suffering of the animals.


  • Manufacturers' recommended guidelines for use, correct dilutions and contact time for use in cleaning and disinfection procedures must be followed.
  • Any equipment that has been used on an infectious or suspected infectious animal must be cleaned and disinfected after use, or disposed of.
  • Staff using cleaning products must be competent in the safe use of those cleaning products and understand the compatibility or otherwise of different bactericides, fungicides and virucides.

Condition: No person may euthanase an animal except a veterinary surgeon, a person acting under supervision of a veterinary surgeon, a person who has been authorised by a veterinary surgeon as competent for such purpose or—

(a) in the case of fish, a person who is competent for such purpose,

(b) in the case of equines, and species generally regarded as farmed livestock, a person who is competent, and who holds a licence or certificate which is relevant to the species, for such purpose,

except where the purpose of the euthanasia is to end suffering that has arisen suddenly and unexpectedly and to arrange for such a person to euthanase the animal would prolong the suffering.


  • Euthanasia must be carried out using a humane and effective method in a manner compliant with current legislation, including, but not limited to, the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
  • Under no circumstances may an animal be euthanized other than in a humane and effective manner. In case of doubt as to humane and effective methods of euthanasia, veterinary advice must be sought.

Condition: All animals must be checked at least once daily and more regularly as necessary for any signs of suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour and vulnerable animals must be checked more frequently.

Condition: Any signs of suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and if necessary the advice of a veterinary surgeon (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.


  • Checks should not cause unnecessary stress or disturbance. Visual checks are acceptable.
  • A system of recording abnormalities must be maintained and demonstrated to the satisfaction of the local authority.
  • Where necessary for specific species, vulnerable animals, such as young, pregnant, sick or injured animals, must be checked more frequently than the minimum of once daily.
  • Licence holders or any staff responsible for the care of animals should be competent in identifying signs of suffering or abnormal behaviour and know whom to contact for advice.

10. Emergencies

Condition: If animals are kept in premises, other than domestic premises, from which the licensable activity is carried on—

(a) a written emergency plan, acceptable to the licensing authority, must be in place, known and available to all the staff on the premises, and

(b) such a plan must be followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all animals on the premises (without risking human life) in case of fire, breakdowns of essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.


  • Licence holders must have an emergency plan in place that is appropriate for the size and complexity of the premises and facilities on which animals are kept.
  • A copy of the emergency plan must be permanently available and displayed to allow staff to access it as and when required.
  • Both the licence holder and, where applicable, all staff on site must be able to demonstrate that they are both aware of and conversant with the requirements of the emergency plan.
  • Suitable emergency response plans must cover arrangements for emergency evacuation, housing, husbandry and loss of power/water. Emergency evacuation must detail how and by what means animals, staff and the public must evacuate the establishment, identify designated fire assembly points, designated holding areas for animals and which animals can and cannot be evacuated (such as aquaria and ponds).
  • Consideration must be given to using systems which would allow timely removal of the animals in the case of emergency. Where emergencies are potentially life threatening, humans must not be put at risk attempting to remove animals.
  • Emergency drills should be regularly practised and practices recorded with any failings noted and addressed in the procedures. Drills should be undertaken at least annually, or as determined by fire risk assessments.
  • All staff and volunteers should undergo regular training and records must be kept of such training. Sufficient nominated staff must be properly trained on the use of any emergency equipment provided.
  • All emergency equipment must be maintained in a good state of repair and serviced according to manufacturer's guidelines.
  • Entrances and fire exits must be clear of obstructions at all times.
  • Suitable firefighting, prevention and detection equipment must be provided and maintained in good working order. Any buildings must have at least one working smoke detector (or other suitable fire detection system) installed in a suitable location on each separate level / floor of the property and there must be at least one carbon monoxide detector.

Condition: Any such emergency plan must include details of the emergency measures to be taken for the extrication of the animals should the premises become uninhabitable and an emergency telephone list that includes the fire service and police.


  • There must be a plan for the relocation and accommodation of animals kept for the licensable activity should the premises become uninhabitable.
  • There must be a documented policy in place for dealing with emergencies, including extremes of temperature and weather conditions (both hot and cold).

Condition: External doors and gates must be lockable.

Guidance: Licence holders should ensure that any areas where animals are kept for the purposes of the licensable activity have secure and lockable external doors and gates. This is to ensure that only authorised persons can access areas where animals are kept and keep animals on the premises from escaping.

Condition: If animals are kept in premises from which the licensable activity is undertaken, a designated key holder with access to all animal areas must at all times be within reasonable travel distance of the premises and available to attend in an emergency.


  • A reasonable distance would, in normal conditions, be no more than 30 minutes travelling time.
  • On non-domestic premises an emergency contact name / number should be displayed on the outside of the premises.
  • The designated key holder must be fully conversant with the emergency plan and know exactly what animals are on the premises and where they are located. They should be familiar with the layout of the licensed premises.
  • Ideally, an on-call rota system should be in place.



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