Dangerous wild animals licence

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled and you will require a licence. Conditions are attached to each licence that deal with who may keep the animal concerned, where the animal may be kept, when the animal can be moved, insurance required and any other matters.


The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as amended). (full legislation)

Animals considered to be dangerous wild animals are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Schedule to the Act. Pet shops, zoos and circuses are exempt from the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

How to apply

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the person making the application must be the person who owns and possesses or proposes to own and possess the animal to which the application applies. Licences are normally granted for a twelve month period.

Return completed forms:

By email to:


By post to:
Animal Health and Welfare Team
Cheshire East Council
Delamere House
Delamere Street


Payments may be made by calling 01270 686601, 01270 686720 or 01270 686597

Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm


A fee is payable upon application. View the details of animal licensing fees.

Application evaluation process

Before granting a licence we must be satisfied that:

  • it is not contrary to the public interest to do so on the grounds of safety, nuisance or other grounds
  • the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep the animals listed on the application
  • the animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents its escape and is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness
  • that the animal(s) will be supplied with adequate and suitable food drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals
  • appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the animal(s) in case of fire or other emergency
  • all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • the animal(s) accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise

The Council will send an inspector to check that the conditions at the premises are adequate. A veterinarian must also inspect the premises and submit a report to the Council. The cost of this is the responsibility of the applicant.

Right of appeal

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any conditions to which the licence is subject, may appeal to the Magistrates Court. The Courts may give such direction regarding the licence and its conditions as it thinks proper.

Offences and penalties

  • Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence to do so or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £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 not exceeding £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 (to a zoo or elsewhere) without compensation to the owner
  • Where we incur any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs

Contact us


0300 123 5015

Page last reviewed: 09 May 2024