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Exotic, dangerous or wild animals licence

Information about licences for keeping exotic, dangerous or wild animals.

The keeping of certain species of wild animals is controlled by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

No person may keep any dangerous wild animal without first getting a licence from the Council.

Licences to keep exotic, dangerous or wild animals

Applying for a license is easy, as long as you have not been previously disqualified or convicted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

There is an application fee for each application. Also, you will have to pay the cost of inspections carried out by the Council's authorised veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner.

Except in exceptional circumstances, the person making the application must be the person who owns and possesses (or proposes to own and possess) the animal that the application applies to.

Licenses expire on 31 December of the application year. Each license must then be renewed before that date if you wish to continue to keep the animal(s) named in the license.

Your rights of appeal

If the Council refused to give you a licence, you may appeal to the Magistrates Courts. They may give you further information and guidance regarding the licence and its conditions.

Offences and penalties

Anybody found guilty of keeping an animal covered by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 without a licence, or anybody found guilty of failing to comply with any licence condition, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding £2,000.

If the Council incurs any expense in seizing, retaining or disposing of an animal, the person who is responsible for the animal will be liable for those costs.


The Act does not apply to any dangerous wild animal kept in:

  • a zoo
  • a circus
  • premises licensed as a pet shop
  • a registered establishment for carrying out animal experiments.

Who is eligible

You must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • not disqualified from keeping dangerous wild animals under the Act
  • the owner of all of the animals that are to be included on the licence, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

How to access the service

To obtain an application form, please contact us at the address below.


Crime, Enforcement and Regulation Service (Licensing Authority)

Telephone: 020 8314 6400
Email: licensing@lewisham.gov.uk
Opening hours:

The telephone lines are open everyday, 10am–12 noon and 2–4pm.