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Exotic, dangerous and wild animals

You cannot keep any dangerous wild animal without getting a licence from us.

Animals which need a licence are listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984.

How to apply

To apply fill in an exotic, dangerous or wild animal licence application form (PDF/72KB/2 pages) or an exotic, dangerous or wild animal licence application form (DOC/32KB/5 pages).

Animal licence application fees (DOC/23KB/3 pages) cheques payable to SLDC.

Once you have filled in the form, return it with any other relevant documents and the licence fee to the licensing group.

You may also have to pay the cost of inspections carried out by our authorised veterinary surgeon or practitioner.


You cannot get a licence if:

  • you are disqualified
  • convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976

However, in exceptional circumstances, the person making the application must be the person who owns and possesses or proposes to own and possess the animal.


A licence will expire on the 31 December of the year to which it relates and must be renewed before then if you want carry on keeping the animal(s) named on the licence.

Council's duties

Before granting a licence the veterinary surgeon acting on our behalf must be satisfied that:

  1. It is not contrary to the public interest to do so on the grounds of safety, nuisance or other grounds.
  2. The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep the animals listed on the application.
  3. The animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents its escape and is suitable in respect of construction, size, temperature, drainage and cleanliness.
  4. That the animal(s) will be supplied with adequate and suitable food drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals.
  5. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the animal(s) in case of fire or other emergency.
  6. All reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  7. The animal(s) accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise.
  8. Where the council issues a licence, that licence will be subject to such conditions as the council sees fit and in each case these conditions will specify that:
    a) only the person named on the licence shall be entitled to keep the animal.
    b) the animal shall only be kept on the premises named on the licence.
    c) the animal shall not be moved or may only be moved in accordance with conditions specified in the licence.
    d) the licensee must hold a current insurance policy, approved by the council, which insures against liability for damage caused by the animal.
    e) only the species and number of animals listed on the licence may be kept.
    f) the licensee shall make a copy of the licence and its contents available to any other person listed on the licence as being able to look after the animal.
  9. The Council may at any time revoke or amend any licence condition apart from those covered by 8 a) to 8 f) above.

Your right of appeal

You can appeal to the Magistrates' Court if you disagree with our decision to not to give you a licence or the conditions of the licence. The court will make a decision on your appeal.

Offences and penalties

If you are found guilty of keeping a dangerous wild animal without a licence or failing to comply with a licence you could be fined up to £2,000.

We may seize the animal and retain it, have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere) without paying compensation. You may have to pay any costs.

If you are found guilty of obstructing or delaying an authorised licensing officer or authorised veterinary practitioner or surgeon you could be fined up to £2,000.

You can view the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 at South Lakeland House.