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A Zoo is any establishment, other than a circus or pet shop, where wild animals are kept for public exhibition with or without charge on more than 7 days in any 12 month period. To operate a zoo in the Dudley Borough, you will need to obtain a licence from the council.

Eligibility Criteria

At least two months before making an application for a licence, the applicant must give notice in writing (including by email) to the council of their intention to make the application.

The notice must identify:

  • The zoo's location.
  • The types and number of animals kept for exhibition, and the arrangements for accommodation, maintenance and wellbeing.
  • The numbers and roles of staff to be employed at the zoo.
  • The maximum number of visitors and vehicles admitted onsite at any one time.
  • How customers will access the premises.
  • Explanation of how conservation measures will be implemented at the zoo.

The applicant must also publish notice of intention in one local newspaper, one national newspaper, and exhibit a copy of that notice.

The notice must identify the location of the zoo and state that the application notice is available to be inspected at the local authority offices.

Information and Guidance

The following websites contain information and guidance on licences and legislation, including minimum standards to be met for animal welfare.

When is this licence required?

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 defines a "zoo" as an establishment where

  • Wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public, not including  circuses and pet shop (separate licences are required).
  • Any zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without a charge for admission, and on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive months.

If you intend to operate an establishment in the borough of Dudley that falls within the above criteria, it will be necessary for you to gain a licence.

Please note that premises that display or exhibit non domestic animals for less than 7 days in a year would required an Exotic, Dangerous and Wild Animals Licence.

If you are thinking of setting up a zoo, it is recommended that you contact us first for advice and guidance.

Before Dudley Council can grant a licence for a zoo in its area it must be satisfied that:

  • The establishment will not affect the health and safety of the public.
  • The establishment will not undermine the law.
  • The accommodation, staffing and management are adequate for the proper care and well-being of the animals.

Planning Requirements

Application for a licence will need to consider whether planning permission is required to carry out the proposed licence activity. They should contact the planning department to discuss whether permission will be needed. The local authority may refuse or defer a decision of an application for a licence until the planning issue has been decided.

How much does it cost?

The application fee changes annually so for this year's fee please view the fee information. You will be invoiced after the inspection has been completed at actual cost.

Veterinary, inspection and other costs incurred during the consideration of the application will be invoiced after a decision is made. When you receive your invoice the payment methods are detailed on the back of all invoices and reminders.

How can I apply?

Please download and complete the application form below, and submit your completed application and other relevant documentation.

How long does my licence last?

Each licence will run for four years, renewals will run for six years. Failure or late application for renewal may invalidate any public liability insurance for the premises.

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.

Please download the application form below to renew your existing licence.


Inspections occur as a minimum at renewal (within the six months leading up to the expiry date, in the first year of the licence, and the third year of the six year period.

The local authority can request an inspection where concerns or reports of animal welfare have risen.

Where no inspection has taken place in a calendar year, an informal inspection will be carried out by the local authority.

Offences and Penalties

The following offences and penalties are created under Section 19 of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981:

  • operating a zoo without a licence in contravention of the Act;
  • failing without reasonable excuse to comply with any conditions of a licence;
  • intentionally obstructing an inspector in the course of an inspection;
  • intentionally obstructing someone who is authorised in accordance with Section 16G to enter the premises of a permanently closed zoos or a dwelling within the zoo grounds;
  • failing without reasonable excuse with a direction issued under section 16A(2)(d) to close a zoo or part of it to the public for a period not exceeding two years;
  • failing without reasonable excuse to comply with a zoo closure direction;
  • failing without reasonable excuse to supply information requested by the local authority about the care or disposal of zoo animals in the event of a zoo closure;
  • failing without reasonable excuse and without the agreement of the authority, to dispose of any animal kept at a permanently closed zoo before the plan in section 16E(2) has been approved by the authority, or other than in accordance with the agreed plan;
  • failing without reasonable excuse to comply with a direction issued under section 16E(6) (direction about the welfare or disposal of animals kept in a permanently closed zoo);
  • failing without reasonable excuse to display the zoo licence or a copy at each entrance of the zoo.

Under Section 19(4) persons found guilty of any offence above are liable to a fine of level 4 (currently £2,500), except obstructing an inspector, failing to supply information about the care or disposal of zoo animals in the event of zoo closure, or failing to display the licence or copy of it at each zoo entrance area for which are liable to a fine of level 3 (currently £1000).

Public Register of Zoos

Name Address Telephone Website
Dudley Zoological Gardens Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands. DY1 4QF 01384 215313
Brockswood Animal Sanctuary Catholic Lane, Sedgley, Dudley West Midlands, DY3 3YE 01902 884390

Further Information

For general information about licensing of zoos please contact the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

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

Animal Welfare Concerns

We will investigate complaints of poor animal welfare conditions in a commercial business or if you suspect someone is operating a business without a licence within the Dudley Borough. If you have a general concern about the welfare of an animal, please contact us via the Animal Welfare Advice and Complaints form.

Alternatively you can report the matter directly to the RSPCA.

  • For further information please contact us.

    Contact us about licensing

  • Opening Hours Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.00 pm.

    Please note that the offices are closed at weekends and Bank Holidays.