The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021: guidance for pet sellers
This guidance applies in Scotland only, and is issued by the Scottish Ministers to assist applicants for or holders of a pet sellers licence to understand the requirements of the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.
Dogs: minimum enclosure/kennel size
|Dog weight||Minimum Kennel area (m2) (per dog)||Kennel example dimensions (LxW) (m)||Minimum area per additional dog (m2)||Minimum height of kennel (m)|
|<5kg (incl. puppies)||4||2 x 2||0.5||2|
|5 to 10kg||4||2 x 2||1.0||2|
|10 to 15kg||4||2 x 2||1.5||2|
|15 to 20kg||4||2 x 2||2||2|
|20 to 30kg||8||4 x 2||4||2|
|Over 30kg||Must be scaled up as appropriate||Must be scaled up as appropriate||Must be scaled up as appropriate||2|
The kennel area should be large enough to allow separate sleeping and activity areas. The activity area must not be used (designated) as a sleeping area or part of the sleeping area. The kennel should allow each dog to be able to walk, turn around and wag its tail without touching the sides of the kennel. The dogs should have sufficient room to play, stand on their hind limbs and to lie down fully stretched out without touching another individual. The kennel size required will increase in relation to the size and number of dogs housed at any one time. Bitches with a litter of pups should have an enclosure size double that stated for its normal weight range.
The length and the width should be sufficient to allow all the dogs to lie outstretched without their noses or tails touching the walls or other individuals. It is permissible to have separate exercise areas to sleeping areas but in such cases dogs must be given access to the exercise area at least four times a day. Part or all of the exercise area should be outdoors. Any separate exercise area should be fully cleaned and disinfected between its use by different batches of dogs to minimise the risk of disease transmission.
Cats: Minimum enclosure size for adult cats (older than 26 weeks old)
The size of a cat unit includes the sleeping area plus the exercise area. These sizes are outlined below.
The sleeping area may be full height or penthouse sleeping accommodation (an enclosed boxed sleeping area or pod raised off the ground). The pod needs to be high enough off the ground to be able to clean underneath but not too high as to make cleaning inside the box difficult. The height of the pod must be between 75cm and 1.5m and the total height of the sleep area must be a minimum of 1.8m whether full height or a pod. The area under the pod cannot be considered as part of the exercise area.
In some catteries that are completely indoors, it is not necessary to have completely separate sleeping and exercise areas. The floor area must be equal to the sum of the above sleeping and exercise areas and the cat needs a unit to sleep on.
|Size||Min area for the sleeping area||Min area for the exercise area||Minimum total area if single indoor unit||Min height|
|Up to 2 cats||1.1m2||2.2m2||3.3m2||1.8m|
|Up to 4 cats||1.7 m2||2.8m2||4.5m2||1.8m|
Minimum enclosure sizes for kittens up to 26 weeks old
|Cats||Minimum floor area (m2)||Example dimensions (m) W x L||Minimum cage height (m)||Additional space|
|4 Kittens <12-weeks old||1||1 x 1||0.6||0.25m2 / kitten|
|Single cat 12 – 26 weeks old||0.85||0.9 x 0.95||1.8||-|
|2 cats 12 – 26 weeks old||1.5||0.9 x 1.66||1.8||-|
|3 to 4 cats 12 – 26 weeks old||1.9||0.9 x 2.1||1.8||-|
Kittens require adequate space to play together and to have space for a litter tray and bed. Where practical, varying floor heights to enable climbing should also be provided. There should be adequate space for feeding, drinking, sleeping and litter tray to be kept separate.
Rabbits: Minimum enclosure sizes (excluding exercise run/area)
|Weight of rabbit||Maximum stocking density||Minimum floor area (m2)||Example dimensions (m) W x L||Minimum cage height (m)||Additional floor area for each additional rabbit (m2)|
|Up to 4kg||4||0.75||1.5 x 0.5 or 1.0 x 0.75||0.45||0.25|
|4 – 6kg||2||0.75||1.5 x 0.5 or 1.0 x 0.75||0.5||0.25|
|>6kg||2||1.08||1.8 x 0.6 or 1.5 x 0.72||0.8||0.54|
Enclosures should be large enough for rabbits to be able to stand fully upright on their haunches without their ears touching the roof and lie fully outstretched (without touching the sides of the enclosure or another rabbit). Slatted, grid or wire mesh floors must not be used in rabbit accommodation. Where exercise runs are attached to enclosures these must be of sufficient size to allow rabbits to hop, jump and generally enjoy total freedom of movement.
Ferrets: Minimum enclosure sizes
|Age of ferret||Maximum stocking density||Minimum floor area (m2)||Dimensions (m) W x L||Minimum dimensions (m)||Minimum cage height (m)||Additional floor area for each additional ferret (m2)|
|<12 weeks old||1 – 4||1||1 x 1 or 1.66 x 0.6||0.6||0.6||0.25|
|>12 weeks old||1||0.6||1 x 0.6 or 0.77 x 0.77||0.6||0.6||0.6|
Accommodation needs to be of sufficient size to allow all the ferrets housed to be able to lie fully outstretched in any direction, run, forage, explore or play, as well as to stand fully upright without touching the roof of the enclosure. Ferrets must be provided with constant access to places to hide. As a minimum, each hiding place must be large enough to allow one ferret to rest alone.
Guinea Pigs: Minimum enclosure sizes
|Type||Stocking density||Minimum floor area (m2)||Example dimensions (m) W x L||Minimum cage height (m)||Additional floor area for each additional animal (m2)|
|Guinea pig||1-4||0.23||1 x 0.23 or 0.52 x 0.52||0.3||0.09|
Accommodation needs to be of sufficient size to allow all the guinea pigs housed to be able to lie fully outstretched (without touching the sides of the enclosure or another guinea pig), run, play, tunnel and stand without touching the roof of the enclosure. Ramps within enclosures must be no steeper than 45° as guinea pigs are poor climbers.
Where guinea pigs are housed in hutches, provision must be made for regular exercise in a secure area outside of the hutch.
Guinea pigs must be provided with constant access to places to hide, which may include hay piles, in addition to their sleeping area. At a minimum each hiding place is to be large enough to allow one guinea pig to rest alone.
Small Rodents: Minimum enclosure sizes
|No. of Animals||Area per number of animals (cm2)||Minimum Cage Height (cm)||Minimum Cage Depth (cm)|
|1 – 4||5||6||7||8||9||10|
|Mice and hamsters||680||790||900||1000||1113||1240||1350||25||25|
Every animal should be able to lie fully outstretched, turn around unimpeded, stand fully upright without touching the cage roof, hide, dig, and play.
Sleeping areas need to be dry, draught-free, well ventilated and clean as well as large enough to allow all the small rodents housed to rest together fully outstretched, turn around unimpeded and move around comfortably.
Birds: Minimum enclosure/cage sizes
|Species||Approx. length of bird (head to tip of tail) (cm)||Average length of flying wingspan (cm)||Minimum cage dimensions (cm) (L= 2 x wingspan, D = 1.5 x wingspan, H = 1.5 x wingspan)||Suggested % enclosure size increase per additional bird.|
|Small parakeets and conures||20||35||70||52.5||52.5||10|
|Large parakeets, conures and small macaws||34||70||140||105||105||20|
|Cockatoo (small - medium)||35||75||150||112.5||112.5||20|
|Large cockatoos and macaws||85||110||220||165||165||20|
|Zebra finch||10 -12||22||44||33||33||5|
Care must be taken where aviaries or cages are constructed of newly galvanised mesh to prevent heavy metal poisoning, particularly in psittacines which will often chew the metal. If wire mesh is used in the construction of an enclosure the mesh hole size must be small enough that birds housed within cannot put their head or wing through it. The mesh gauge must be stout enough that the birds cannot break or bend it. The licence holder must be able to demonstrate the steps taken to minimise or prevent any poisoning.
Birds should not have to compete for drinkers/feeders and risk exclusion. Passerines should have food available at all times. Enrichment and feeding devices need to be provided for larger psittacids. For parrots, it is preferable to use swinging systems such that the keeper does not need to enter the cage in order to change food/water. Bowls should not be able to be removed from holders by the parrot.
There must be adequate perching space for all birds at the same time. Perches must be positioned so that birds do not defecate on each other and must be of appropriate size and shape for each species. Outdoor aviaries must include sufficient sheltered and non-sheltered space. Cage size must be adequate to allow birds to open their wings fully in all directions. Cages must include appropriate environmental enrichment.
Reptiles and amphibians: minimum acceptable enclosure sizes
SVL: Snout-to-vent length (distance from nose to cloaca).
STL: Snout-to-tail length (distance from nose to tip of tail).
SCL: Straight-carapace-length (straight length of the curved part of the shell of a tortoise). Carapace is the curved top part of the tortoise or terrapin shell, as opposed to the flat bottom part which is the plastron.
|Group||Length||Width||Height||Water depth (where appropriate)|
|Frogs and toads||30cm or 3 x SVL (whichever is larger)||30cm or 3 x SVL (whichever is larger)||30cm or 3 x SVL (whichever is larger)||2 x SVL|
|Newts and salamanders||30cm or 3 x SVL (whichever is larger)||30cm or 2 x SVL (whichever is larger)||30cm or 3x SVL (whichever is larger)||2 x SVL|
|Snakes (currently subject to review by UK Animal Welfare Commission)||No less than 2/3 length STL||No less than 1/3 length STL||-||-|
|Lizards||4 x SVL||2.5 x SVL||-||-|
|Terrapins and turtles||90cm or 5 x SCL (whichever is larger)||3x SCL||-||4 x carapace height*|
|Tortoises||90cm or 5 x SCL (whichever is larger)||5 x SCL||2 x SCL||-|
Height and Width of the enclosure must be appropriate to the species, with arboreal species requiring more height than terrestrial species. When considering vivarium size for arboreal species the licence holder should look to increase the heights outlined above. Where this is the case it is acceptable to reduce the length of the vivarium dimensions by a maximum of 30%. Any reduction in length must, at least, equal the additional height.
Most amphibians and reptiles are not social and may, therefore, be kept individually. Decisions to pair- or group-house amphibian or reptile species must be made by suitably trained and competent staff. Compatible species-specific sex ratios and suitable group sizes must be observed bearing in mind potential for persistent aggression.
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