Any person that wishes to keep any animal listed in the Schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976(pdf, 49KB) must obtain a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence from the local Licensing Authority.
The Act does not apply to any dangerous wild animals kept in:
Any applicant for a licence must:
Applicants must complete and submit an application form with the relevant fee.
The Authority will arrange for an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of the premises and produce a report, which the Authority is legally obliged to consider when determining the application.
The Authority will not grant a licence unless satisfied that:
Conditions may be attached to any Licence granted.
If a person is aggrieved by the refusal of a licence by the Authority or by a condition imposed on the licence he or she may appeal to a Magistrates Court.
A person may not be granted a licence if he or she has been convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 or under:
On conviction under any of the above legislation, the Court may cancel any licence to keep a dangerous wild animal and disqualify the person from holding such a licence for such a period as the Court thinks fit.
The cancellation or disqualification my be suspended by the Court in the event of an appeal.
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before a licence can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing Team. The target completion period for processing the application is 30 working days.
If you wish to apply by post please download the form(pdf, 40KB), complete it and post it to us at the Licensing Team address.
Please contact the local authority in the first instance. Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates Court.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked you should contact the Licensing Authority or if you are located in UK Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
If you are concerned that a person is keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence or you have concerns about the welfare of such an animal please contact us. Please note that although we will maintain the confidentiality of your enquiry we cannot deal with anonymous complaints so please leave a contact name and details so that the officer dealing with your query can speak to you.
Local authorities may authorise competent persons to enter premises either licensed under the Act or specified in an application for a licence, at all reasonable times, producing if required their authority, and the authorised officers may inspect these premises and any animal in them.
Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without an appropriate licence or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject on summary conviction to a fine.
Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or Authorised Veterinary Practitioner or Veterinary Surgeon shall be subject to a fine.
If a dangerous wild animal is being kept without the authority of a licence or in contravention of a licence condition, the local authority may seize the animal and retain it, destroy it or otherwise dispose of it. The local authority is not liable to pay compensation and, where the Council incurs the expense of seizure, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.
Updated: 22 July 2019