Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011
Under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 a person who is responsible for an animal must ensure that its needs are met. It is an offence to fail to take reasonable steps to ensure its welfare. Causing an animal unnecessary suffering is also an offence and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited fine.
If you do become aware of an animal welfare case:
Report it to the appropriate enforcement body as set out below, providing as much information as possible.
Non-Farmed Animal Welfare – Eg Domestic Pets
Report to District Council’s Licensing Section.
Farmed Animal Welfare - Animals Bred or Kept for the Production of Food, Wool, Skin or Other Farming Purposes
Report to Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The Council Animal Welfare Officers do not offer re-homing services for unwanted animals but will be able to refer you to other bodies that may be able to help.
Report to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
If your call relates to wildlife crime, badger baiting, poisoning of birds, destroying or disturbing bat roosts, release into the wild of non-native species, trapping wildlife illegally, trade in endangered species, deer poaching, or, if an animal is on the road,or other criminal activity is suspected, please contact the PSNI non-emergency number 101 or in an emergency 999.
Alternatively if you would prefer to provide information without giving your details, you can contact the Independent Charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
Telephone: 028 3751 5800
If you need to report a Non-Farmed Animal welfare case during office hours, Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm you should contact the appropriate telephone number or email address above in the Animal Welfare Contact Details section.
Please note that phone calls and emails will only be responded to during office hours which are Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. If an animal requires urgent attention, you may wish to contact a local vet.
Emergency Animal Welfare Cases
If an animal requires urgent attention, you may wish to contact a local vet.
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
During office hours Monday - Friday, 9am to 5pm, telephone 0300 200 7840.
At weekends for farmed animal complaints contact a local Private Veterinary Practice or the PSNI who will, as necessary, refer the welfare complaint to the relevant ‘on call’ officer.
Please DO NOT
- upload comments or photographs to social media sites or other media outlets as this may jeopardise potential court proceedings
- interfere with evidence as this may affect any subsequent criminal investigations
- attempt to rescue an animal from another person or property as you may be found to have been acting illegally.
- coordination of action plan