> LUK1 - Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 ( as amended by The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984)

General Information

The information provided within these pages provides a background to the legislation issues.

Date 1976, Amended 1984
Wildpro "Organisations & Website" Reference
Text Availability (e.g. HMSO / Copyright / Public Domain etc.) HMSO: Crown Copyright. The authoritative versions of Acts are usually the "Queen's Printer" copies (often published by The Stationery Office Limited). Details of how to obtain the authoritative versions are available through Website Ref - W65 - Her Majesty's Stationary Office (HMSO)
Brief Overview / Significance
  • The full list of species listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as amended by The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984) is not included in the Wildpro "UK Wildlife: First Aid and Care" module. The legislation should be consulted.
  • Through this Act the circumstances in which certain potentially dangerous species are kept may be regulated, thereby both protecting the public from harm and promoting the welfare of the animals concerned.
  • Licensing is required for the keeping of exotic species listed in the 1984 Order at private premises.
    • Exemptions are provided (Section 6) for zoos, licensed pet shops or circuses (all of which come under other specific legislation), or premises designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986). 
    • Exemptions are provided (Section 7 (2)): "Where an animal is in the possession of any person for the purpose of:

      (a) preventing it from causing damage, 

      (b) restoring it to its owner, 

      (c) undergoing veterinary treatment, or 

      (d) being transported on behalf of another person."

  • Under section 1 (4) the licence must be applied for by the keeper (the person who has the animal in his possession) of the dangerous wild animal.
  • The Act requires basic standards of housing, safety and welfare, and makes both insurance and an annual veterinary inspection obligatory. Section 1 (3) states that:

     "A local authority shall not grant a licence under this Act unless it is satisfied that -

    (a) it is not contrary to the public interest on the grounds of safety, nuisance or otherwise to grant the licence;

    (b) the applicant for the licence is a suitable person to hold a licence under this Act;

    (c) any animal concerned will at all times of its being kept only under the authority of the licence -

    (i) be held in accommodation which secures that the animal will not escape, which is suitable as regards construction, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, drainage and cleanliness and which is suitable for the number of animals proposed to be held in the accommodation, and

    (ii) be supplied with adequate and suitable food, drink and bedding material and be visited at suitable intervals;

    (d) appropriate steps will at all times be taken for the protection of any animal concerned in case of fire or other emergency;

    (e) all reasonable precautions will be taken at all such times to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases;

    (f) while any animal concerned is at the premises where it will normally be held, its accommodation is such that it can take adequate exercise.

  • Applications for a licence under this Act must be made in writing to the local authority for the area in which the animal is to be kept, and must contain details of the species and of the premises at which they are to be kept.
  • Applications cannot be made by persons who are under the age of 18 or who are disqualified under this Act from keeping and dangerous wild animal.
  • A fee is payable, which must be submitted at the same time as the application; within the Act the local authority is authorised to charge a fee sufficient to meet all the direct and indirect costs arising from the application, including the fee of the veterinary inspector.
  • Some species of animal which are found wild in the UK are listed in the 1984 Order and are affected by the Act. They include: Felis silvestris - Wild cat, Sus scrofa - Wild boar and the adder (Vipera berus - Common viper).

(B156.21.w21, J3.102.w11)

NOTES - Amendments / Relation to other legislation Amended by The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984

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Specific Section References

Wildpro Reference Chapter/Paragraph Title Content Page nos.

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Text from the Act


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