Dogs and Animal Welfare

Dog Control Information

Photograph of a dog on a beach

Following the introduction of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, dogs were required to be licensed and were prohibited from straying, attacking people or livestock and their owners prosecuted or fined for these offences along with allowing their dog(s) to foul in public places.

These requirements and offences are still in place but the Dogs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 has made some changes to keeping dogs and the requirements of responsible dog ownership.


As before, all dogs (apart from exemptions listed below) are required to be licensed by the keeper of the dogs.

The keeper must be over 16 years old and not been disqualified from keeping dogs under the Welfare of Animals Act 1972.

Dogs which don’t require a licence (exemptions) are:

  • a dog under the age of six months where that dog is kept by the person who at the time of its birth was the keeper of the bitch which gave it birth;
  • a dog kept and used by a disabled person (within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50)) wholly or mainly for the purpose of assisting that person to carry out normal day-to-day activities
  • a dog kept in a petshop licensed by the Department under section 8 of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 where the dog is on offer for sale to the public;
  • a dog kept by a person to whom a block licence under Article 8(1) is issued where the dog is normally kept on the premises to which the block licence relates;
  • a dog kept and used wholly for police purposes;

In order to licence a dog it must be micro-chipped.

Free micro-chipping of dogs is available at participating Veterinary Surgeries within the district.

The Council in conjunction with Dogs Trust, regularly offer free micro-chipping at Roadshows within the Borough.

Check local press and this website for future dates and times.

Dog Licence Fee Categories

The fee for licensing your dog is now £12.50 annually though reduced fees are now available and are listed below:

Licence Type Fee
Standard Licence £12.50
Over 65 - first dog Free
Over 65 and already claimed one free licence £5
In receipt of Income Support or Housing Benefit £5
The dog is neutered or sterilised £5
Block licence £32

Please note that the Council may seek to confirm the accuracy of the declarations by seeking evidence of age, benefit eligibility or status of the dog concerned.

False Declarations will render the applicant liable to legal action.

Breeders Licenses are also available for owners of dogs who own 3 or more unsterilised bitches any of which is used for breeding, which breeds 2 or more litters of pups in any 12 month period.

You are also required to inform the Council if you sell your dog or give it to a new keeper.

Apply for Dog License Online

Licence your dog online

Responsible Dog Ownership

We are keen to promote responsible dog ownership throughout the Borough.

As before, the same requirements of dog control still apply but there are now some additional requirements of dog ownership and offences which are subject to Fixed Penalty Notices (£120) or fines on conviction.

Existing offences

  • Keeping a dog without a valid licence
  • Allowing your dog to stray
  • Failure to control your dog (in a public place)
  • Setting or urging a dog to attack
  • Allowing your dog to attack people or livestock
  • Allowing your dog to foul (under the Litter (NI) Order 1994) - Report dog fouling

​​The new legislation provides the Council with additional powers to promote responsible dog ownership.

Previously, incidences of dog attacks or straying could be taken to Magistrate Court by the Council.

The new legislation allows these incidences to be dealt with less formally whereby the Council may apply conditions such as muzzling the dog in public areas or the dog be kept securely to the owners dog licence to prevent such occurrences happening again.

However, where the licence holder feels these are unreasonable, they have a right to appeal these conditions to the Magistrates Court who decide if the conditions should remain or be repealed.

Additional offences from 2 October 2011:

  • Allowing your dog to attack any other animal owned by another person
  • Failure to comply with Control conditions of a dog licence
  • Failing to notify the Council of a transfer of a dog with control conditions attached

Dangerous Dogs

Dogs such as the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro are listed under the Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

The legislation surrounding these dogs remains the same but legislation now allows for a Magistrate to make a Contingent Destruction Order on a dog which he considers to be a danger to the public or, if he considers the dog poses no danger to the public, allows him to impose conditions on the dog which must be adhered to.

If the conditions are adhered to within 2 months of a Magistrate’s decision, the Council may then issue a Certificate of Exemption to the owner and licence the dog.

Contact Dog Control

If you would like further information on this page please contact Environmental Health on T: 0300 124 5000 and select the relevant option for your area.

For matters relating to dog straying or dog attacks, outside office hours, please leave a message with Council’s Senior Enforcement Officer on: T: 028 2563 3120

While there is no obligation on council to respond outside office hours, our Officer may do so after an assessment of any voicemail messages left.