A NEW animal licensing regime has come into force in South Lakeland with the purpose of improving welfare standards.

South Lakeland district councillors on the Licensing Regulatory Committee were told that the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 widen the previous animal licensing duties of councils.

Previous licences are replaced by one new Animal Activity Licence, which will be for one to three years depending on an inspection and type of activity.

Existing licences will be assessed under the new regime on expiry of their present licence.

Premises will be inspected and according to their risk rating assessed as either high or low risk.

The business will then be awarded between one and five stars based on meeting the minimum or higher standards detailed in the guidance.

The new regime provides licensing authorities with additional powers for safeguarding animal welfare, as well as potentially severe penalties for those carrying out a business without a licence.

The activities requiring a business to be licensed by the council are:

• Selling of animals as pets.

• Providing or arranging for the provision of accommodation for other people’s cats or dogs.

• Hiring out of horses for either riding or instruction in riding.

• Breeding three or more litters or puppies in any 12-month period; or breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs.

• Keeping or training animals for exhibition, educational or entertainment purposes.

There are a number of exemptions or where other legislation may be pertinent, for example a circus or animals requiring a Dangerous Wild Animal licence.