Fermanagh and Omagh District Council statement following BBC programme, Wednesday 15 April 2015

Published: 16th April 2015

Following the implementation of local government reform on 1 April 2015, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is now responsible for the licensing of commercial dog breeding establishments and for animal welfare in the district. Prior to 1 April 2015 this was the responsibility of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council respectively.  The Council operates under legislation introduced by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), namely the Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013, and the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011, and can only carry out its duties strictly in accordance with the legislation.

The former Fermanagh District Council first issued a licence for the UK Dog Breeding Academy on 18 March 2015. Following inspection, Council Officers were satisfied that all conditions of the legislation were complied with, and there were no grounds not to issue a licence. The Council had previously licensed commercial dog breeding establishments at the same address and, over a number of years, there were no issues or concerns raised, and no complaints were received about the dog breeding establishments or associated animal welfare. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will carry out 6-monthly monitoring inspections of the establishment and, where it is felt to be necessary, more regular inspections will be undertaken.

The BBC programme on Wednesday 15 April 2015 raised a number of concerns relating to the breeding and sale of dogs. The Council’s role in this process is limited to the licensing of dog breeding establishments and to animal welfare. There is no limit on the maximum number of dogs which may be applied for, provided all conditions of the legislation are met. In the case of the UK Dog Breeding Academy, because all the conditions were met at the time of inspection in March 2015, and there was no history of any animal welfare concerns in relation to operations at this address, a licence was issued for the establishment.

The Council has an enforcement role where the conditions of dog breeding licences are not complied with, and actively investigates and will take appropriate enforcement action where it is established that the requirements of the legislation or the conditions of the licence are breached.

Following the BBC Programme on Wednesday 15 April 2015, the Council will carry out a review to establish if there has been any breach of the licence conditions, or of animal welfare legislation, in relation to the commercial dog breeding establishment in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area referred to in the programme. If it is found that any breach has taken place, appropriate enforcement action will follow.

Members of the public can be assured that Council Dog Wardens and Animal Welfare Officers work together to ensure that breaches of the legislation relating to dog breeding establishments and animal welfare are fully investigated and appropriate action is taken.

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