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Exotic, Dangerous and Wild Animals Licence

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first obtaining a licence from their local authority. The animals for which a licence is required before they may be kept are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No2) Order 2007. The purpose of this licence is to protect the health and welfare of the animal and ensure its security.

What do I have to do?

Applications for a licence must be made to the Local Authority, and a licence may be issued providing the applicant is not disqualified or has been convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. There is an application fee payable at the time an application is made.

How much does it cost?

The licence fees normally changes annually so for this year's fee please view the fee information.

Veterinary and other costs reasonably incurred in considering any application will be invoiced after consideration of any application. When you receive your invoice the payment methods are detailed on the back of all invoices and reminders. The options include: pay online, by phone, by post or in person at Dudley Council Plus.

When is this licence required?

Persons wishing to keep a dangerous wild animal must first obtain a licence.

Eligibility Criteria

Where a person is convicted of an offence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 or under:

  • Protection of Animals Act 1911-64;
  • Pet Animals Act 1951;
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963;
  • Riding Establishments Act 1964-70;
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973.

The Court may cancel any licence that they may hold.

What animals are covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976?

A complete listing can be found on the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) (No2) Order 2007.

Are there any exemptions to licensed wild animals?

Zoos, pet shops and circuses are exempt from the provisions of the Act as these premises are subject to separate licensing requirements.

How can I apply?

Please download and complete the appropriate Word or PDF version of the application form first from the options below. Once done, submit your completed application form and other relevant documentation.

How long will my application take to process?

We aim to process your application as soon as possible. We will confirm for all electronic applications via email that we have received your application. Please contact us if you have any queries about the process us.

Can I start trading before receiving my licence (i.e. will tacit consent apply)?

You cannot start trading until your application is processed by the Council and you have received a licence. It is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 21 days, please contact us.

How long does a Licence last?

A Licence lasts for a maximum of 2 years, ending on the 31st December each year. Licences must be renewed before their expiry if the Licence holder is to continue to keep the animal(s) named on the Licence.

If the application to renew the Licence is received before the Licence expires, the Licence will remain in force until the new Licence is granted or refused. If the Licence is granted, it will commence from the date of expiry of the previous Licence.

In the event of death of anyone to whom a Licence has been granted, the Licence shall continue in force for a period of 28 days as if it had been granted to the personal representatives of the deceased. After a period of 28 days the Licence expires, unless application is made for a new Licence within that time, in which case it continues, until the new application is determined.

What are the requirements for a licence with dangerous or wild animals?

An annual inspection takes place upon renewal of the licence by a Vet or Animal Welfare Officer. The standards of management and accommodation will be assessed.

Renewal of a licence

If you already hold a licence and it is due for renewal we will write to you informing you that the licence is due to be renewed asking you to complete a licence renewal form and submit payment.

The onus is however, on the person owning the dangerous wild animals to ensure they hold the correct licence.

Is there a public register available?

The legislation does not require a public register to be kept of Licences to Keep Dangerous Wild Animals. If you do not know if an premises is licensed to keep dangerous wild animals, please contact us.

How do I complain about a local business?

We will investigate complaints of poor animal welfare or conditions in a commercial business within the Borough.

If you have a general concern about the welfare of an animal, and want to complain about a business in Dudley Borough, please can use the Animal Welfare Advice and Complaints form.

Alternatively you can report the matter directly to the RSPCA.

Refusal of licence

Licenses may be refused, cancelled or revoked for several reasons (please note that not all the restrictions are relevant to all licenses). The courts may disqualify applicants from holding an animal licence for a set period of time:

  • If the applicant is under 18.
  • If the applicant has been disqualified from holding an animal licence or keeping an animal.
  • If conditions of the licence are not met .


Additionally, veterinary surgeons and practitioners, local authority officers, or competent persons authorised by the local authority may inspect licensed premises and any animals found there at any reasonable time. Unlicensed premises may be inspected by applying for a warrant.

Offences and Penalties

The following offences and penalties apply to the keeping of dangerous wild animals.

  • Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence may be fined up to £2,000.
  • Anybody found guilty of failing to comply with the conditions of their licences may be fined up to £2,000.
  • If you have no licence, or are not complying with the licence conditions, we may take the animal and have it destroyed or rehoused (to a zoo or elsewhere). We will bill you for any costs that we incur in doing this.
  • Anybody found guilty of obstructing or delaying an authorised inspection may be fined up to £2,000.


What powers does the council have with wild or exotic animals?

In addition to powers of inspection, the Act also gives the Council powers to seize any animal being kept on premises which are unlicensed.

Your Rights 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 and the Courts may give such direction regarding the licence and its conditions as it thinks proper.

Making a complaint

If you feel we have failed to provide you with good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please contact us and we will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have. We also have a formal complaints procedure.

Trade Associations

Where can I get further information?

Copies of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and other legislation mentioned in this information sheet can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

If you would like further advice about the standards or practices within a local business please use the Animal Welfare Advice and Complaints form.

Fee Information

Useful Links

Contact Details

Environmental Safety and Health, People Directorate, 3-5 St James's Road, Dudley, DY1 1HZ

Telephone 0300 555 2345

Opening Hours Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.00 pm, offices closed at weekends and Bank Holidays

General Advice and Complaints Form