Dangerous Wild Animal Licence

To keep certain dangerous and exotic animals, individuals and businesses need to have a licence issued by the Council

Who needs a licence?

You need a licence if you plan to keep any animals listed in the Schedule attached to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.  Each licence will last for two years

Businesses who are operating under the authority of a zoo, circus or pet shop licence are excluded from the licensing requirements.


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • a specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare (including the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment)
  • an understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal
  • The premises itself will also be assessed against recognised standards relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept.

If you have questions about applying for a licence or about an existing licence, please get in contact with our Environmental Health team using our contact form.

Public register

Due to the sensitive nature of these licences, the Council will not publish information relating to the location of the licence holders.

Appeals and complaints

If you are refused a licence, you should discuss this with the inspecting officer who will explain why you have not been successful and what works are needed in order to enable the Council to issue a licence.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received you should use our formal complaint form where it will be directed to an appropriate manager depending on the nature of your complaint.

How to apply

To Apply, please fill in our Dangerous Wild Animal Licence Form. We aim to process all applications within 42 days, but applications can take up to 70 days (10 weeks) to process, therefore:

  • existing licence holders will need to apply to renew their licences at least 10 weeks before the expiry date of their existing licence in order to ensure continuity of cover
  • new applicants will need to apply for a licence at least 10 weeks before they plan to operate their business

In order for an application to be considered complete, a valid application form and fee must have been received.

Please note: if you are applying for a licence for the first time, you will be refused a licence if you cannot meet the required minimum prescribed standards.

The application costs are listed below but do not include additional vets charges.

  • Dangerous wild animals - £383

This fee is not refundable if we have already carried out our inspection of your business.

Tacit approval will not apply to this type of licence because it is in the public interest that East Herts Council must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from East Herts Council within a reasonable period, please contact us on 01279 655261 to discuss your application.