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Zoo licence

If you want to run a zoo in Medway, you must apply for a licence under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

A zoo is anywhere you'll be displaying non-domesticated animals to the public for at least 7 days a year. This does not include a circus or pet shops.

You can ask for more information about the licence and its conditions before applying.

Before you apply

At least 2 months before making an application for a zoo licence, you must give us notice of your intention to apply.

The notice must include details about:

  • where the zoo will be
  • what kind of animals you’re going to keep and how many
  • how you’ll house and care for the animals
  • staff numbers and what they’ll be doing
  • expected visitor and vehicle numbers
  • zoo entrance and exit points
  • how you’ll meet the conservation conditions

You must also:

  • publish notice that you’re intending to apply in at least 1 local and 1 national newspaper
  • display the notice at the planned zoo site

Apply for a licence

Complete our application form for a zoo licence

Before granting a licence your premises will be inspected. You’ll get at least 28 days’ notice before the inspection takes place.

We will also take into account any concerns that have been raised by the public or other organisations.

We might attach conditions to your licence, eg that you need to get insurance for any damage caused by the animals, but you'll be consulted about these.

If you're granted a licence

You must display your licence or a copy of it at each entrance to the zoo.

You’ll be inspected regularly to make sure you’re following the licence's conditions.

You must keep records on animal health, numbers and species, acquisitions, births, deaths (with causes), disposals and escapes.

If you're refused a licence

An application will be refused if:

  • the zoo will affect the health and safety of local people
  • the zoo would affect local law and order
  • we are not satisfied accommodation or staffing are suitable for the care and wellbeing of the animals
  • you or any staff you want to employ have been convicted of animal welfare offences

If you feel you have been wrongly refused a licence, you can appeal to the Magistrate's Court.

Renew your licence

Your licence will need to be renewed after 4 years.

You must apply to renew your licence no later than 6 months before its expiry date.

If you get your licence renewed it’ll then last for a further 6 years.

Tell us about a change in your existing licence

Complete our application form to change a zoo licence.