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Licence summary

Any person that wishes to keep any animal listed in the Schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976(pdf, 49KB) must obtain a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence from the local Licensing Authority.

The Act does not apply to any dangerous wild animals kept in:

  • A zoo
  • A circus
  • Premises licensed as a pet shop
  • A place (which is a designated establishment within the meaning of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Eligibility criteria

Any applicant for a licence must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Own and possess, or propose to own and possess, all of the animals that are to be included on the licence, unless there are circumstances which the London Borough of Richmond consider exceptional
  • Not have been disqualified under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 from keeping any dangerous wild animal

Legislation summary

Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.  

Application evaluation process

Applicants must complete and submit an application form with the relevant fee

The Authority will arrange for an authorised veterinary surgeon/practitioner to undertake an inspection of the premises and produce a report, which the Authority is legally obliged to consider when determining the application.

The Authority will not grant a licence unless satisfied that:

  • It would not be contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise
  • The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and is adequately insured
  • Animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping
  • Accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness, and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation
  • Animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals
  • Appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency
  • Appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases
  • While any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise

Conditions may be attached to any Licence granted.

If a person is aggrieved by the refusal of a licence by the Authority or by a condition imposed on the licence he or she may appeal to a Magistrates Court.

A person may not be granted a licence if he or she has been convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 or under:

On conviction under any of the above legislation, the Court may cancel any licence to keep a dangerous wild animal and disqualify the person from holding such a licence for such a period as the Court thinks fit.

The cancellation or disqualification my be suspended by the Court in the event of an appeal.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before a licence can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact the Licensing Team. The target completion period for processing the application is 30 working days.

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Apply online

If you wish to return your form (MS Word, 42KB) electronically please email it to

Apply by post

If you wish to apply by post please download the form(pdf, 40KB), complete it and post it to us at the Licensing Team address.

Failed application redress

Please contact the local authority in the first instance. Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates Court.

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 you should contact the Licensing Authority or if you are located in UK Citizens Advice will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Making a complaint

If you are concerned that a person is keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence or you have concerns about the welfare of such an animal please contact us. Please note that although we will maintain the confidentiality of your enquiry we cannot deal with anonymous complaints so please leave a contact name and details so that the officer dealing with your query can speak to you.

Power of entry

Local authorities may authorise competent persons to enter premises either licensed under the Act or specified in an application for a licence, at all reasonable times, producing if required their authority, and the authorised officers may inspect these premises and any animal in them.

Offences and penalties

Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without an appropriate licence or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition shall be subject on summary conviction to a fine.

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

Seizure of animals

If a dangerous wild animal is being kept without the authority of a licence or in contravention of a licence condition, the local authority may seize the animal and retain it, destroy it or otherwise dispose of it.  The local authority is not liable to pay compensation and, where the Council incurs the expense of seizure, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.

Trade Associations

Useful information

Contact the Licensing Team

If you have any questions or comments please contact the Licensing Team:

Licensing & Trading Standards Team Leader (Licensing Lead)
Richmond Council Licensing c/o
Merton Council
Regulatory Services Partnership
Merton Civic Centre
100 London Road
Surrey, SM4 5DX


Updated: 04 October 2022

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