The key to reporting animal cruelty is knowing who has the legal powers and obligation to investigate, we hope this ‘road map’ will help.

Companion Animals
Concerns about neglect or abuses of pets (including equines) is the responsibility of Animal Welfare Officers employed by local authorities and paid for by ratepayers. Under the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act of 2011 they have a wide range of powers and responsibilities. Contact details are on our home page Barking Dogs are not regarded as a cruelty issue and should be referred to Environmental Services at your local council.

Agricultural Animals
The Department of Agriculture (DARD) are the agency to contact in regard to cruelty issues on farms. They have a number of regional offices see DARD also licence and inspect Pet Shops, any issues in this regard should be referred to them.

The PSNI are the first port of call in relation to wildlife crime with NI Environment Agency also empowered to take action in relation to protected species and habitats. The laws are a bit more complicated, some animals and birds are protected badgers, birds of prey etc, others are not, foxes, rabbits, magpies etc. The only protection afforded to them is in the manner of their death which should be humane and not involve needless suffering.

Disgracefully Hunting with Dogs is NOT banned in NI, we are the only area of the UK where this travesty is permitted.

The USPCA Role
We are a charity that provides a much needed voice for animals, we investigate issues that fall below the legislative radar, badger crime, dog fighting, puppy farms, equine cruelty, tame deer hunts etc. We lobby for changes in legislation, the recent ban on the sale in the EU of cosmetic products tested on animals is one example. As long as there are people in in Society who derive pleasure from inflicting suffering on animals our voice will continue to be heard.

All the contact details of the relevant authorities are on our home page


Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011 & Contact Details

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. 

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: 028-90270431 

Eastern Region –Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Ards & North Down District Council
Telephone: 028 90494567

Northern Region  – Mid & East Antrim District Council, Causeway Coast & Glens District Council, Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council
Telephone:   028 25633134

Southern Region – Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Newry Mourne & Down District Council
Telephone:   028 37515800

Western Area – Fermanagh & Omagh, Derry & Strabane, Mid Ulster
Telephone:    028 82256226

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.

If you call relates to Wildlife crime for example, Badger Baiting, poisoning of birds, deer poaching etc or if an animal is on the road or criminal activity please contact your local PSNI Station on 101, if urgent please call 999.

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