You need a licence to keep animals which are considered to be wild, dangerous or exotic. This is to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and safeguard the welfare of the animals. You must have a Dangerous Wild Animals Licence, from Southampton City Council, for any animal listed in the Schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
It does not include dangerous wild animals kept in a zoo, circus, pet shop, or registered for the purpose of experiments. The assumption of possession continues even if the animal escapes or is being transported.
Specific conditions apply to the licensing of dangerous animals, including:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Requirements that the animals will not be moved from the licensed premises (unless allowed for in the licence)
- The licence holder must be insured against liability
- Restrictions on the species and number of animals to be kept
If a dangerous wild animal is being kept without the authority of a licence or in contravention of a licence condition, the local authority may seize the animal and retain it, destroy it or otherwise dispose of it. In these circumstances, any costs would be met by the owner.
Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a license or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any license condition shall be subject to a fine of up to £2,000.
The council will not grant a licence unless satisfied that:
- It would not be contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise
- The applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence and is adequately insured
- Animals will be held in secure accommodation to prevent them from escaping
- Accommodation for animals is suitable with regards to construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness, and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation
- Animals are provided with adequate food, drink and bedding materials and will be visited at suitable intervals
- Appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency
- Appropriate steps will be taken to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases
- While any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise
All animal licences issued by the authority are determined by the Animal Welfare Officer based on principals of good animal welfare and veterinary advice. An inspection will be made before any application is granted.
How to apply
If you wish to apply for a licence please complete the application form.
Apply for a licence to keep a wild animal
The annual licence fee is £195.00.
Note: This fee is non refundable
Paying the licence fee
You can make a payment by cheque. Please make your cheque payable to ‘Southampton City Council’ and send, with your completed application form, to
Animal Welfare Officer
Southampton City Council
If you are unable to pay by cheque please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How long will it take to process my application?
Once we have received your application and fee we will arrange to carry out an inspection to make sure your premises meet the required standards. We aim to issue a licence within 28 days. If we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not automatically be granted due to animal welfare implications.
Change of circumstance
You must notify us of any change of circumstances. This includes the surrendering of your licence or any other material change to the licence or how you operate. There is a fee due in respect of any change that requires a new licence to be issued.
Will Tacit Consent apply?
No. It is in the public interest that Southampton City Council must process your application before it can be granted.
Failed application redress
Applicants may appeal to the West Hampshire Magistrates' Court against refusal to issue a licence or against conditions of the licence.