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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I am applying for a pet shop license for a business in skegness

Customer Question

I am applying for a pet shop license for a business in skegness (East Lindsey District Council). They have referred our license application to the licensing committee as they cannot decide whether we are a zoo or a petshop. We are selling many exotic and domestic animals as pets and also provide talks about the best way to look after the pets that we sell. As we are in a large tourist area, we are charging an admission price to prevent "window-shoppers" however the admission is refunded if an animal is purchased.

Having read through the Zoo licensing act 1981 and the Pet Animals Act 1951 I believe that our business requires a pet shop license and in doing so excludes us from the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. Could I please have some advice to present to the comittee hearing in 4 weeks time. The fact that we charge entry does not make us a zoo, in the same way that licensed pubs are able to charge an entry fee. I cannot find anywhere that prevents a petshop from charging an admission fee. Your advice would be welcomed.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.

The main difference between a zoo and a pet shop is that a member of the public can buy the animals in a pet shop but they cannot do so in a zoo.

If you intend to both sell and exhibit animals which may be viewed for an admission charge, there is an argument that you require both licences I.e. Both a zoo and a pet shop licence.

Only the courts can conclusively rule on this matter but it would appear you may require both licences as what you are proposing to do appears to fall within the definition of both a zoo and a pet shop.

Perhaps the local authority may drop the zoo licence requirement if you drop the proposal to charge admission fees.

Can I assist further?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Thank you for your response. Please could you review the following document section 5? ( this clearly states that "

If the animal is kept for
exhibition to the public in premises that has a pet shop licence then no zoo
licence is required." and having spoken to DEFRA I believe that a zoo and a pet shop cannot co-exist as one is for conservation and one is for the pet trade. Also buy being a pet shop you are exempt from the zoo licensing act 1981 as per section Section 2 of the following document (


2. Extent of the Zoo Licensing Act
2.1 Section 1 makes clear that all zoos that are open to the public, with or without charge
on seven or more days in a twelve-month period need a licence from their local authority to
operate. A zoo is defined as any establishment where animals of wild species are exhibited
to the public. Circuses and pet shops are excluded from this definition


Please could you legally clarify that this definition covers our scenario.


Kind regards


Steve Colledge

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.

It would appear in that case a pet shop is not a zoo and that if a pet shop licence has been issued, a zoo licence is not required.

I agree with your analysis that a pet shop licence is require, not a zoo licence. The simple basis to argue this point is that all animals in your premises will be for sale, unlike a zoo where animals are not for sale

All the best. Please take a second to rate the service
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Thank you for your clarification, however, do you believe that there may be any instance where we "could" be deemed as a zoo and not a pet shop?


Also how would I go about getting a solicitors letter stating our case in terms for a committee hearing.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
The definition of Zoo is as follows under the ZLA 1981

(2)In this Act “zoo” means an establishment where wild animals (as defined by section 21) are kept for exhibition to the public otherwise than for purposes of a circus (as so defined) and otherwise than in a pet shop (as so defined) [F1; and this Act applies to any zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive months.]

By it's very nature, a pet shop is where the animals are sold, so if not all your animals are for sale but only for exhibit, then you could arguably be a zoo.

A solicitors letter may be obtained by appointing a solicitor, you would need to find one yourself through the law society or elsewhere. We are not allowed to recommend any solicitors here.

All the best

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

would you agree that if most animals are for sale but a handful are not for sale that we should be a zoo?

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
I am afraid that answer can only conclusively be given by the courts as there is no halfway house in the legislation.

Hope this helps