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From 2 April 2012, District Councils have had responsibility for enforcement of the powers in the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011, in respect of non-farmed animals, e.g. domestic pets of any vertebrate species and equines (horses and donkeys).

Local councils have adopted a collaborative regional approach to Animal Welfare legislation and have appointed Animal Welfare Officers to enforce animal welfare in respect of non-farmed animals only across Northern Ireland. The officers have statutory enforcement powers and can take a range of action to improve the welfare of non-farmed animals including, providing advice, issuing an improvement notice, taking animals into their possession (in extreme cases of suffering), and initiating prosecution action. It should be emphasised that the responsibility for the welfare of any animal remains at all times with the owner or keeper of an animal. Enforcement officers will investigate complaints and ensure the owner complies with the legislation.

The enforcement officers cover the whole of Northern Ireland working on a regional basis. If you need to report an animal welfare case during office hours Monday-Friday 9am-5pm you should contact the appropriate telephone number or email address relating to the region you live in set out below.

For emergency animal welfare cases only between 9am and 5pm at weekends and over holiday periods contact the same number and you will be directed to an out of hours service.

Northern Region – Mid & East Antrim District Council, Causeway Coast & Glens District Council, Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council
Telephone: 028 2563 3134

Southern Region – Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Newry Mourne & Down District Council
Telephone: 028 3751 5800

Belfast City Council
Telephone: 028 9027 0431

Eastern Region – Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Ards & North Down District Council
Telephone: 028 9049 4567

Western Area – Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Derry City & Strabane District Council, Mid Ulster District Council.
Telephone: 028 8225 6226

Welfare complaints in respect of farmed animals (that is animals bred or kept for the production of food, wool or skin or other farming purposes) should be referred to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. During office hours Monday to Friday 9am-5pm telephone – 0300 200 7840.

At weekends for farmed animal complaints contact a local private veterinary practice or PSNI who will, as necessary, refer the welfare complaint to the relevant “on call” officer.