Dangerous Wild Animal Licensing

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 aims to ensure that where private individuals keep dangerous wild animals they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals. 

When is a DWA licence required? 

Animals which are classified as "dangerous wild animals" (which can be anything from an Aardvark to a Zebra), are identified in a schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

Anyone wishing to keep one of these animals requires a Licence issued by the local authority. 

This licensing procedure does not apply to animals kept in a:

  • Zoo within the meaning of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981
  • Circus
  • Pet shop
  • Place which is a designated establishment under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

A person is held to be the keeper of the animal if they have it in their possession. They remain the 'keeper' and therefore are responsible for the animal, even if it escapes or it is being transported etc. 

Before a licence is issued, the local authority will inspect along with a specialist vet, who must be satisfied that certain 'dangerous wild animal' conditions, relating to safety and the welfare of the animals, are met.  Any veterinary fees will be charged to the applicant.  You will also be required to meet the legal requirement of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

If you would like to be licensed to keep a dangerous wild animal, please download the the application forms and fees

If you have any queries or concerns about the welfare of a dangerous wild animal, please call us so that we can investigate and take action as necessary. We can also look at standards of care for all animals generally using our powers under Animal Welfare Act, working in partnership with the RSPCA. 

Last Modified: 25/08/2021
For more information contact:


Tel: 01633 647286

Email: licensing@torfaen.gov.uk

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