Welfare of Animals

From the 2nd of 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.

Belfast City Council
Telephone: 028 9027 0431
Email: animalwelfare@belfastcity.gov.uk

Eastern Region – Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Ards & North Down Borough Council
Telephone: 028 9244 7861
Email: animalwelfare@castlereagh.gov.uk

Northern Region  – Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council
Telephone:   028 2563 3134
Email: animal.welfare@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Southern Region – Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Newry Mourne & Down District Council
Telephone:   028 3751 5800
Email: animalwelfare@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk

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

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, Environment and Rural Affairs. 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.

If you call relates to Wildlife crime for example, 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 criminal activity please contact your local PSNI Station on 101 or in an emergency 999. Alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111

Details of the enforcement roles and contact points can be accessed using the link below.


Further information on Animal Welfare is available from DARD’s website below.




Related Files
Animal Welfare Leaflet 2017
1.29 MB | pdf | 25 Aug 2017