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Pet Shop Licence

Licence Summary

To run a business selling pet animals in the Borough of Colchester you will need a licence from Colchester Borough Council. This includes all commercial selling of pet animals, including pet shops and businesses selling animals over the internet.

The Pet Animals Act 1951 defines the keeping of a 'pet shop' to mean the carrying on at premises (including open land as well as buildings) of any nature (including a private dwelling) of a business of selling animals as pets and includes the keeping of animals in any such premises with a view to their being sold in the course of such a business, whether by their keeper or any other person.



Applicants for a pet shop licence must not be disqualified from keeping a pet shop.

The premises and the person who will operate it must meet the requirements of the legislation and conform to the Council's standards. An inspection of the premises will be required prior to granting any licence. The inspection will be undertaken by a member of the Council's Environmental Food Safety and Health and Safety Team and who may from time to time also be accompanied by a member of the Council's Animal Control Team.

Planning permission may be required to permit a premises to be used for this purpose. Any advice on planning restrictions should be sought from the Planning Team.



Please click on the link opposite to find out the fee for a pet shop licence


Regulation Summary

A summary of the regulations relating to this licence.


Application Evaluation Process

Colchester Borough Council must have regard to the following when considering an application for a pet shop licence:

  • that animals will be kept in suitable accommodation, for example in regards to temperature, size, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • adequate food and drink will be provided to the animals and they will be visited at suitable intervals
  • that any mammalian animals will not be sold too young
  • that steps are taken to prevent disease spreading among the animals
  • that adequate fire and emergency provisions are in place

Conditions can be attached to a licence to ensure that the above are complied with.

The target completion period for a pet shop licence application is 30 working days. 

Will Tacit Consent

No.  It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.  If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this by using the contact details above.

There are no specific guidance notes for completing the application other than the information given on this page and on the form. 

Apply and  Pay Online

Apply to run a pet shop

Tell us about a change to your existing pet shop

     Apply via
    post or in
Application forms which can be printed and completed are available to do download in PDF format by pdf icon clicking here [29kb].

Application forms are also available from our Customer Service Centre or by contacting us using the details on the top right-hand side of this page.

If you wish to apply by post or in person and pay by cheque, these must be made payable to Colchester Borough Council.

Pet Shop Licences run from January till December and licence holders must renew their licence each year if they wish to continue to operate as a licensed pet shop. To renew their licence, licence holders must complete and submit an application form and the relevant fee. 

Failed Application Redress

Please contact Colchester Borough Council in the first instance.

Any person who is refused a licence can appeal to the Magistrates Court, who may give directions on the issue of a licence.



Please contact Colchester Borough Council in the first instance.

Any licence holder who objects to a condition attached to a licence may appeal to the local Magistrates Court, who may give directions on the issue of a condition.


Consumer Complaint

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, if you are located in the UK, Consumer rights - GOV.UK  will give you advice.  From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.


Other Redress

E.g. about noise, pollution, etc.  


Trade Associations

Pet Care Trust (PCT)