Rural and Environment

New animal licensing regulations to come in to force

August 30, 2021 by No Comments | Category Animal welfare

Changes to the law come in to force on 1st September which will enhance and further protect the welfare of animals in Scotland.

The new legislation replaces existing dog breeding and pet selling laws, as well as introducing new licensing requirements for those breeding cats and rabbits, animal rescue centres, rehoming centres and other rehoming activities. The changes will also see Lucy’s Law introduced in Scotland.

Commenting on the changes to the law, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“The Scottish Government takes animal welfare very seriously and we are committed to ensuring the highest standards in Scotland, therefore I am delighted that these changes will come in to effect from the start of September.

“The introduction of these measures will see Scotland become the first country in the United Kingdom to require cat and rabbit breeders, animal sanctuaries and animal rehoming activities to be licensed. These important new measures will further protect animal welfare and ensure they experience the best quality of life possible.

“Regrettably, there is a small minority of breeders and dealers that operate outwith the law and see animal breeding and the selling of animals as pets simply as a way of making money. This minority has no regard for the welfare of animals in their care. This new legislation gives buyers confidence that they are buying from a responsible breeder and the animals have had their welfare prioritised. I hope these new measures raise awareness of the dangers of illegal breeders, both for the animals and buyers.

“I would encourage animal breeders, pet sellers, operators of animal sanctuaries and those engaging in animal rehoming to familiarise themselves with the changes to the law and, where required, ensure they apply for and obtain the relevant license.”

Rehoming licenses are only required if you rehome 5 or more animals in any 12-month period.

If you rehome animals as pets in Scotland but don’t reside or have premises linked to your rehoming activities in Scotland you may need a license. To apply for a license, e-mail:

For those who either reside or have rehoming premises in Scotland, please apply to your local authority licensing team for a licence.

Further protection for animals

Licensing regulations

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