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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, and 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.
Three separate bodies are responsible for enforcement of the Act depending on the type of animals involved and, in some cases, the nature of the welfare issue.

Officers from the enforcement bodies will investigate complaints and can use their statutory powers to take a range of actions including giving advice, issuing legally binding Improvement Notices, taking animals into their possession and prosecution.

If you do become aware of an animal welfare case


Please DO

  • report it to the appropriate enforcement body as set out below, providing as much information as possible.

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 investigation; or

  • attempt to rescue an animal from another person or property as you may be found to be acting illegally.

  • Non-Farmed Animals
  • Farmed Animals
  • Wildlife

If you are concerned about the welfare of an animal, please report it here.

For urgent queries about domestic animals contact the Northern Region Animal Welfare Team on T. 028 2563 3134 or E. animal.welfare@midandeastantrim.gov.uk 

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