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Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, any persons or organisations operating animal welfare establishments (such as animal sanctuaries or animal re-homing centres) where eight animals (excluding fish) or five dogs or five equines are kept at the same time by the operator of the animal welfare establishment must be licensed.

The eight animal threshold excludes any animal under four months old if it was born within the animal welfare establishment, or arrived at the animal welfare establishment with its mother.

Please note that you do not meet the criteria for licensing an animal welfare establishment if the animals you keep are kept:

  • as pets
  • at premises used for the care or treatment of animals by a person who is a veterinary surgeon
  • by or are in the care of a local authority
  • as part of farming or for use in the course of a business
  • temporarily by persons licensed under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • solely for military, police or sporting purposes
  • for exhibition for the purposes of education or entertainment
  • to be trained as assistance dogs.

A fish is not a relevant animal for the purposes of the activity of operating an animal welfare establishment.

Licence fee

 Type of licence Fee
 Animal welfare establishment  £150

Any veterinary inspection fees are in addition to the fee of £150.

Apply for a licence or renewal

Please complete the application form and submit to On receipt of the application a member of the Licensing Section will contact you for payment.

The licence may be granted for a period of up to three years.

Application for animal welfare establishment licence (PDF 177Kb)


The Scottish Government produced the following guidance:

Scottish Government: The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 - guidance for animal welfare establishments 

The guidance notes should be read before applying for a licence.

Licence conditions

Under the 2021 Regulations there are general conditions and specific conditions that will be attached. The general conditions are within Schedule 2 of the 2021 Regulations and the specific conditions are within Schedule 5 of the 2021 Regulations. Both can be viewed below. The Licensing Section may also add additional conditions where necessary.

General conditions The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 - general conditions

Specific conditions The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 - specific conditions

Contact Information


Licensing Board Administration
London Road
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 07557 168826