Animal licences

Dangerous wild animals

To keep an animal listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (link opens in new window) you will need a licence.

Apply for a licence to keep a dangerous wild animal >>

This licensing procedure does not apply to animals kept in:

  • a zoo
  • a circus
  • a pet shop
  • a place registered for the purpose of performing experiments

You are the keeper of the animal if you have it in your possession, and possession continues even if the animal escapes or is being transported.

This removes the need for carriers or veterinary surgeons to be licensed.

Conditions of the licence

The following conditions of the licence to keep a dangerous animal / animals must be fulfilled:

  • the animals to be kept only by persons specified in the licence
  • the animals to be normally held at the premises specified in the licence
  • the animals not to be moved from those premises unless in circumstances allowed for in the licence
  • the licence holder to be insured against liability for damage caused by the animals
  • the species and numbers of animals to be restricted
  • a copy of the licence to be made available by the licence holder to persons entitled to keep the animals

Moving dangerous animals

If you plan to move a dangerous animal outside our area for more than 72 hours, we will need to speak to that local authority. Call us on 0300 300 8307 or email health&

Disqualifications and cancellations

We won’t grant a licence if you have been convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, (link opens in new window) or under:

How to apply

You can apply online.

Applications must be made (unless in exceptional circumstances) by the person who proposes to own and possess the animal and must:

  • specify the species and number of animals to be kept
  • specify the premises where the animals will normally be kept
  • be made to the local authority for those premises
  • be made by a person 18 years of age or over and not disqualified from holding a licence under the Act
  • be accompanied by a fee


Before granting any licence, we are required to consider a report of an inspection of the premises by an authorised Veterinary Surgeon or Practitioner.

What we consider

We may not grant a licence unless:

  • it will not be contrary to the public interest on grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise to issue a licence
  • the applicant is suitable
  • animals will be held in secure accommodation, suitable in size for the animals kept, and which is suitable as regards construction, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness
  • have adequate and suitable food, drink and bedding and be visited at regular intervals
  • be appropriately protected in case of fire or other emergency
  • be subject to precautions to control infectious diseases
  • be provided with adequate exercise facilities


New licence: £203.70

Renew licence: £86.40

Payments may be made by telephone (0300 300 8136) or cheque made payable to Central Bedfordshire Council, or you may pay online (link opens in new window).

Offences and penalties

Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence, or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject to a fine up to £2,000.

Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an Inspector or Authorised Veterinary Practitioner or Veterinary Surgeon shall be subject to a fine up to £2,000.

Where a person keeps an animal without a licence or where a person fails to comply with a licence condition, our Inspectors may seize the animal and may either retain it or have it destroyed or disposed of without compensation to the owner. We may recover costs from the keeper of the animal at the time of this seizure.

Power of entry

We can authorise competent persons to enter premises either licensed under the Act or specified in an application for a licence, at all reasonable times.

Tacit consent

Your licence will be issued within 20 working days of payment.

Tacit consent does not apply for this licence. You must not assume that your licence is granted if you have not heard from us.

Appeals and complaints

If you have been refused a licence or have a complaint about the issue of the licence, you can write to:

The Service Manager
Public Protection
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
SG17 5TQ

Alternatively, you can email the Service Manager.

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