Dangerous Dogs Legislation

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to amend dangerous dogs legislation in Northern Ireland; and how many successful prosecutions there have been under existing legislation in each of the last five years.

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also Scotland Office), Scotland Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also Scotland Office), Northern Ireland Office

The dangerous dogs legislation is enforced in Northern Ireland by district councils, My officials have written to councils and will over the coming months be liaising with councils and other interested parties to ascertain their views on the current legislation. Following the outcome of these discussions I will consider if further amendments to the legislation are required.

District councils provide statistical information to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with respect to enforcement of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (as amended), including the number of prosecutions taken for offences under the legislation. However, prior to 2006 these returns did not specifically distinguish prosecutions regarding dangerous dogs from other prosecutions taken under the legislation. The information is included at table 1 as follows.

Table 1: prosecutions under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (figures supplied to DARD by district councils)
Minor offences(e.g. fouling, licensing) Serious offences (e.g. attacks by dogs) Dangerous dogs Annual total
2002 160 46 206
2003 265 64 329
2004(1) 177 51 228
2005(1) 139 35 174
2006(2) 47 18 (3)5 (3)71
(1) Prior to 2006 returns did not specifically distinguish prosecutions with respect to dangerous dogs.

(2) Figures only available to the end of June 2006.

(3) Figures include six cases pending.

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