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Dangerous wild animals licence

To own a dangerous wild animal in County Durham you must first obtain a licence from us.

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 lists what are considered dangerous wild animals, as well as the Icon for pdf conditions for issuing a licence. (PDF, 25.4kb) .

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence you must be over 18 years of age and not disqualified from keeping dangerous wild animals. 

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 on any other grounds
  • the applicant for the license is a suitable person to hold a licence
  • the animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents its escape and is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness
  • 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 emergencies
  • all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
  • the animal(s) accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise

If you are applying for a new licence, or wish to renew a current one, you must also provide us with the following items along with the application form and fee;

  • Site plan and layout of facilities
  • A valid Public Liability Insurance certificate with a minimum £5m cover
  • Relevant training and qualification certificates

Applicable fees

The fee for a new Dangerous Wild Animal Licence is £145. If you are looking to renew your current licence, the fee is £100. Re-issue of a licence within the licence period due to material changes costs £20. Visits to check compliance will be charged at the relevant officer hourly rate in addition to the licence fee. 

You are also responsible for the cost of a veterinary inspection; this is usually between £100 to £300 depending on the number and type of each animal that is kept.

Application process

To apply for this licence, you can download and complete a  Icon for pdf Dangerous Wild Animals Licence application form (PDF, 266.4kb) . Please contact us with your completed application.

The target period for processing a correctly completed application is 60 days from receipt. Please note all outstanding veterinary fees must be settled before your licence will be approved. If you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period you have the legal right to act as though your application has been granted.

Once you've submitted your application, a veterinary surgeon appointed by us will make an appointment to inspect your premises and will then prepare and submit a report to us within 28 days of being asked to undertake the inspection.

Following receipt of the report from the veterinary surgeon, we also receive an invoice for any work carried out during the inspection process. We will then send you an invoice for reimbursement of these fees.

Upon settlement of these fees, and providing your veterinary inspection was satisfactory and that all conditions are met, you will be granted your licence.

If your premises do not meet the minimum standard required by the licence then a further inspection may be made once any necessary improvements have been carried out.

A Dangerous Wild Animal Licence is valid for two years. 

If you are refused a licence you can appeal to the Magistrates' Court.

Complaints and advice

If you require any further information or advice regarding your application, have concerns regarding a premises that houses dangerous wild animals, or if you have a complaint, please contact us.

Contact us
Animal health
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Durham County Council
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ
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