How to get a DWA in the UK

Are you interested in keeping exotic, dangerous wild animals in the UK? The first step toward that goal is securing a Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) License. In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps, regulations, and best practices to follow when obtaining a DWA license in the UK.


In the UK, ownership and care of specific types of animals are governed by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This act was created to ensure public safety and animal welfare by requiring owners of certain species to obtain a license, known as the Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) License.


The list of 'dangerous' animals includes but is not limited to big cats, certain types of snakes, primates, wolves, and reptiles. With the DWA License in hand, you can legally keep these exotic animals, although each license application is considered thoroughly on a case-by-case basis.


Process of Getting a DWA License


The application process for a DWA License involves several vital steps outlined by local authorities in the UK.


  1. Application


Start by checking the extensive list of animals detailed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. If the type of pet you wish to keep is on the list, you will need to submit an official application form to your Local Authority. This application usually includes details about the animal, its proposed living conditions, proof of insurance covering liability for the animal, and potential risks to public safety.


  1. Inspection


Once your application is received, an inspection from a wildlife officer or vet appointed by the local authority is scheduled. The inspector will assess the applicant's ability to provide the suitable accommodation, diet, and medical care for the animal while ensuring public safety and animal welfare standards.


  1. Licensing


If the applicant meets the required stipulations, including having a Third Party Liability Insurance, the local authority grants a DWA License. It's important to note that the license is specific to the animal species, the person, and the premises. Any changes will require a new application.


  1. Regular Check-ups


Successful applicants should expect regular, ongoing inspections to ensure continued compliance with the licensing requirements. Depending upon the animal and the specific circumstances, these inspections could be annual or more frequent.


The Importance of Compliance


The stakes of non-compliance with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976 are high, both for animal welfare and public safety. Penalties for non-compliance can include fines, seizure of the animal, and a ban from owning other 'dangerous' animals in the future.


Understand the commitment


Wild and exotic animals often require specialized care to live healthy lives in captivity. Furthermore, the financial commitment for appropriate care and housing is often substantial. Aspiring DWA license holders must consider the animal's welfare above all and ensure they provide an adequate environment that replicates their natural habitat.


Obtaining a DWA License in the UK is a strictly regulated, comprehensive process designed to protect both people and animals. The path to getting a DWA License may be laborious, but it is vital for ensuring the right people own these remarkable animals under the right conditions. Always remember, owning a wild animal comes with significant responsibility and commitment, epitomizing the phrase, "With great power comes great responsibility."


We hope that this comprehensive guide has enlightened you about the process of obtaining a DWA License in the UK. Please note this is general advice, always consult with your local authority for accurate guidance.


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.