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Dangerous wild animal (DWA) licences

What is a DWA licence, can you keep a DWA, how to apply and pay for a DWA licence, other permissions you may need, who regulates the registration, how to renew and what if you don't apply for a license but still keep a DWA.

Have any new dangerous wild animal (DWA) applications been made?

All new applications for a DWA licence can be viewed on the licensing applications page.

Applications are advertised for 21 days to ensure any wider community issues are considered in relation to potential public safety or public nuisance. 

Although formal objections cannot be made to the application advertised, any comments which would assist the Local Authority in its decision making are welcome.

Views will also be sought on a case by case basis from individuals or businesses/public services living or working in the immediate vicinity of the premises which will accommodate the dangerous wild animal. The view may also be sought from relevant bodies including the Fire Service, Humberside Police, RSPCA and the Councils Animal warden service. 

What is a dangerous wild animal (DWA) licence?

The wild animals covered by the Act require extremely specialised care and accommodation, and the licensing process ensures that both the animals welfare and the safety of the keeper and the wider public will be protected.

To own a dangerous wild animal in the East Riding of Yorkshire you must first obtain a licence from us.

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 lists a schedule as to what animals are considered dangerous wild animals:

Schedule of dangerous wild animals (external website - opens in a new window)

The Act also specifies the mandatory licence conditions as below:

DWA mandatory Licence conditions (word 19kb opens in new window)

However, the following are exempt from requiring a dangerous wild animal licence:

  • zoos licensed under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981
  • circuses
  • pet shops licensed under the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • a place which is a designated establishment within the meaning of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

If you are not sure whether you need a dangerous wild animals licence and would like further advice please contact the council's licensing section.

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk

How do I apply for a dangerous wild animal (DWA) licence?

If you require further advice and guidance on applying for a dangerous wild animal licence, we offer a pre-application advice service at £60 plus VAT, if you wish to book in a pre-application service please email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk 

Before applying for a dangerous wild animals licence, please read the licensing policy which outlines East Riding of Yorkshire Councils approach to licensing Dangerous Wild Animals. 

Dangerous wild animals policy 2016-2021 (word 59kb opens in new window)

To apply for a dangerous wild animal licence you must be over 18 years of age and not disqualified from keeping dangerous wild animals. You can download the DWA application form using the link below: 

Apply online for a dangerous wild animals licence

Your application must include the following information.

  1. specifies the species (whether one or more) of animal, sexes and the number of animals of each species, proposed to be kept:

  2. specifies the premises where any animal concerned will normally be held.

  3. the application must be made to the local authority where the animals are or are proposed to be kept:

  4. the application must be made by a person who is neither under the age of 18 nor disqualified under this Act from keeping any dangerous wild animal:

  5. is accompanied by a fee determined by the Authority as sufficient to meet the direct and indirect costs which it may incur as a result of the application,

  6. a plan of the premises where the animals will be kept and site plan of neighbouring properties must be provided identifying any key buildings nearby; hospitals, schools etc. 

  7. Public Liability insurance covering a minimum of 10 million cover

  8. Details of all qualifications and experience of the applicant and any second named keepers. 

  9. A basic police check for both the applicant and any named second keepers to ensure no party has any relevant convictions that may disqualify the parties from keeping the animal(s).  This check must be less than 6 weeks old at the point of application.

  10. Application fee of £320

Upon receipt of a complete application, we will advertise your application publicly (including your full name and address) for 21 days and we reserve the right to contact businesses/public services that live or have a business in the immediate vicinity or other agencies, relevant interested bodies or others, including, but not limited to the Police, the Fire Authority and the RSPCA, in order to confirm whether an applicant is disqualified from keeping animals or to seek advice or information to enable the Authority to make its determination in relation to the objectives below.

A qualified vet will be appointed by the local authority whose costs must be met by the applicant, prior to any inspection. 

The vet will be instructed to look at issues covering suitability of the accommodation/suitability of the applicant in terms of their handling skill/ experience and their views on qualification relating to species. The vet will also consider the animals ability to express their natural behaviour and knowledge of the owner to promote the animals welfare. 

A full report will then be sent to the Licensing Authority to consider in conjunction will all aspects of the application. 

Before granting a licence we, as the local authority, will consider the application and must be satisfied that:

  1. That it is not contrary to the public interest to grant the application, on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise.
  2. The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence to keep the animals listed on the licence. 
  3. The animal(s) will be kept in accommodation that prevents escape and is suitable in respect of construction size/temperature/drainage and cleanliness. 
  4. The animal(s) will be supplied with adequate and suitable food drink and bedding material and will be visited at suitable intervals. 
  5. appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the protection of the animal(s) and the licence holder particularly in the case of fire or emergency if working alone with dangerous wild animals. 
  6. All reasonable precautions are taken to prevent the spread of infectious disease. 
  7. All animal(s) accommodation as such that it can take adequate exercise, and fully meet its welfare needs.    

A licence may be approved or refused by the Licensing authority, the grant of a licence is discretionary.

If granted we will issue your licence subject to a number of mandatory conditions, in respect of the care and security of the animal. There may also be additional specific conditions felt appropriate by the licensing authority. These will be tailored depending on the species your licence allows you to keep. You may need time to make any adjustments necessary before obtaining the animals. Further conditions may be added to your licence while in force, although these will be discussed with you first.

Will tacit consent apply?

No, it is in the public interest for reasons of public safety that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.

The target period for processing a correctly completed application is 60 days from receipt. In some cases, a longer period may be necessary. Reputable suppliers will check the licence before releasing the animals to you, so it is important that you factor this in when arranging for any shipping or quarantine of animals. You should also consider what measures will have to be taken to accommodate the animals if your application is refused.

How long is a DWA license valid for?

A dangerous wild animal licence is valid for two years from the date of the grant of the licence.

If you are refused a licence you can appeal to the Magistrates Court, an applicant can appeal on the grounds of refusal, conditions attached, variations or revocations.

We are looking forward to receiving your application and if you have any difficulty with any of the forms or have any questions, please contact:

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk

How much does a DWA licence cost?

The fee for a dangerous wild animal licence is £320, you are also responsible for the cost of a veterinary inspection, this is usually between £150 - £400 depending on the size of your operation.

How do I renew my licence?

Apply online to renew you dangerous wild animal licence

A minimum of two months before your existing licence expires, you must contact the licensing team to arrange for your premises to be re-inspected by an approved veterinary surgeon as appointed by the Licensing Authority. A licensing officer will also carry out an inspection of the premises and discuss any compliance issues or concerns with you.

A renewal application will be subject to the same criteria as a new application. 

A renewal application form must be submitted to the licensing team at least four weeks prior to the expiry of your existing licence. A dangerous wild animal (DWA) consent normally lasts for two years.

How do I notify you of any changes to a dangerous wild animals licence?

There is no variation or transfer procedure. You should apply for a new licence if you wish to change address or keeper.

You must contact us to discuss any proposed changes to either the layout of the premises and/or the number or type of animals kept.

The licence applies only to the premises named on the licence and to the licence holder.

Please note: once a licence is granted to keep a dangerous wild animal, it will remain your responsibility to inform the licensing section of the death or disposal of that animal.

What if I want to move my animals or visit another authorities area?

Should you wish to take an animal kept under a licence to premises in another area for more than 72 hours (e.g. to exhibit the animal at a specialist event, or to participate in a breeding program), you will need our permission for this. A written request with full details should be sent to us. We will consult the local council for the area you wish to take the animal to, and if agreed, we will vary your licence to allow you to transport the animal. If authorisation is not given the animal cannot be moved. 

Who regulates the keeping of dangerous wild animals?

The licensing team is responsible for the licensing and compliance of all Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) licences.

The licence should be on display in a prominent position at the premises. If you have concerns about premises operating under a licence, have a complaint or would like to report a business that you are concerned are operating without a licence you can contact the licensing team using the details below:

Email: licensing@eastriding.gov.uk

Please ensure you provide as much information as you can to help us.

You will be required to give your name and contact details so that we can ensure that the complaint is genuine.

Your details will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed unless the investigation results in a prosecution at which stage your details would have to disclose and you may need to give a witness statement or attend Court.

If you want to know if a Dangerous Wild Animal is registered in the East Riding you can view this on our Dangerous Wild Animal register.

What happens if I do not apply for a dangerous wild animal registration?

It is an offence under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976 to keep a dangerous wild animal without a licence. Any person guilty of an offence under any provision of this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £5000.

What are the offences?

Any person found guilty of obstructing or delaying an authorised licensing officer or authorised veterinary practitioner or veterinary surgeon shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000.

Where a person keeps an animal without a licence or where a person fails to comply with a licence condition, an authorised licensing officer from the council may seize the animal and may either retain it or have it destroyed or disposed of (to a zoo or elsewhere) without compensation to the owner.

Where the council incurs any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal then the person who was the keeper of the animal shall be liable for those costs.

If a licence holder is convicted of an animal welfare offence, the court may decide to cancel the licence as part of the sentence. Courts may also disqualify any person from keeping wild animals in the future.

Powers 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.