Enforcement and recent prosecution cases

The Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 is enforced by three bodies, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Councils and the PSNI.

Responsibilities of Enforcement Bodies

DAERA is responsible for farmed animals (any animal bred or kept for the production of food, wool or skin or for other farming purposes). The Department also licenses riding establishments, boarding kennels, pet shops and zoos.

Councils are responsible for enforcement in respect of non-farmed animals i.e. domestic pets and equines (e.g. horses and donkeys etc).

The PSNI are responsible for wildlife crime, animal fighting and incidents involving wild animals such as badger baiting, poisoning of birds and trapping wildlife illegally.

Officers investigating animal welfare related complaints can take a range of actions once an incident has been reported. These include giving advice, issuing verbal and written warnings, issuing improvement notices, taking animals into their possession and prosecution.

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