Search Legislation

Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 1972

 Help about what version

What Version

  • Latest available (Revised)
  • Original (As enacted)
 Help about advanced features

Advanced Features

More Resources

Changes over time for: PART II

 Help about opening options

Exit from the EU:

There may be changes and effects to this Legislation not yet recorded or applied to the text

New legislation with 'EU Exit' in the title that references (and therefore may change) this legislation item:

Due to a high volume of changes being made to legislation for EU exit, we have not been able to research and record them all. More information is available about EU Legislation and UK Law. The following results are legislation items with 'EU Exit' in their title that directly reference and therefore may change this item of legislation. To understand whether or not the text of this legislation is up to date, please check those references in the following pieces of legislation.

There are currently no additional references that you need to check.

Changes to legislation:

There are currently no known outstanding effects for the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, PART II. Help about Changes to Legislation


Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. At the current time any known changes or effects made by subsequent legislation have been applied to the text of the legislation you are viewing by the editorial team. Please see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for details regarding the timescales for which new effects are identified and recorded on this site.


8Licensing of petshops, animal boarding, riding and zoological establishments.N.I.

(1)A person shall not keep a petshop or an animal boarding, riding or zoological establishment except under the authority of a licence granted by the Ministry.

(2)In determining whether to grant a licence for the keeping of a petshop or any such establishment as aforesaid by any person at any premises, the Ministry shall, for the purpose of securing the safety, health and welfare of the animals, in particular (but without prejudice to their discretion to withhold a licence on other grounds) have regard to the following matters—

(a)the qualifications and experience of the applicant and of the staff, if any, employed;

(b)the system of management;

(c)the suitability of the accommodation, taking account of the number of animals and the purpose for which it is required, and the arrangements for the adequate exercise, protection and welfare of the animals;

(d)the requirements of any regulations made under section 11.

(3)The fee for a licence under this section shall be of such amount as the Ministry with the approval of the Ministry of Finance may by order, subject to affirmative resolution, prescribe.

(4)A licence under this section may contain such conditions as the Ministry thinks appropriate for the purpose of securing the safety, health and welfare of the animals.

[F1(4A)Subject to subsection (5), a licence granted under this section after the date on which the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Northern Ireland) Order 1984 came into operation shall remain in force for a period of one year from the date on which it is granted.]

(5)A licence under this section may be revoked by the Ministry if the licence-holder is convicted of any offence for which a penalty is provided under this Act or fails to comply with the provisions of any regulations made under section 11.

(6)Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the Ministry to grant a licence under this section, or by any condition subject to which the licence is, or is proposed to be, granted, or by the revocation of the licence, may appeal to a court of summary jurisdiction.

9Powers of entry and inspection.N.I.

An authorised officer may, on production of his authority if so required, enter at any reasonable time any premises in respect of which a licence has been applied for or granted or any premises which he has reason to believe are used as a petshop or animal boarding, riding or zoological establishment, and may inspect the premises, and any animals or any thing found therein.

10Offences and penalties.N.I.

(1)Any person who—

(a)keeps an unlicensed petshop, animal boarding, riding or zoological establishment; or

(b)being licensed, fails, after reasonable warning, to comply with any condition contained in his licence; or

(c)gives information which he knows to be false in a material particular to an authorised officer acting in the exercise of his functions under this Part; or

(d)wilfully obstructs or delays an authorised officer in the exercise of his functions under this Part;

shall be guilty of an offence.

[F2(1A)Any person who carries on a business of selling animals as pets in a street or public place, or from a vehicle, stall or barrow, shall be guilty of an offence.]

[F2(2)Any person guilty of an offence under subsection (1)( a), ( b) or ( c) or subsection (1A) shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale or to both, and any person guilty of an offence under subsection (1)( d) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.]

11Regulations with respect to the safety, etc., of animals.N.I.

(1)The Ministry may by regulations make provision for the safety, health and welfare of animals in any petshop or animal boarding, riding or zoological establishment.

(2)Regulations made under this section shall be subject to negative resolution.

11ALivery establishments and other premises where horses are kept.N.I.

F3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

12Interpretation of Part II.N.I.

(1)In this Part—

  • “animal”, in relation to a petshop or zoological establishment, includes any description of vertebrate; in relation to an animal boarding establishment, means any cat or dog; and in relation to a riding establishment, means a horse;[F4 and “wild animal” means an animal not normally domesticated in Northern Ireland;]

  • “animal boarding establishment” means any premises at which the business of providing accommodation for other people's cats or dogs in return for payment is carried on, other than accommodation so provided in connection with a business of which the provision of such accommodation is not the main activity;

  • [F4“livery establishment” means any premises where horses are kept in return for payment, being premises which are not a riding establishment;]

  • [F5“petshop” means any premises,F4. . . where animals are kept primarily for the purpose of sale as pets but does not include any premises where only pedigree animals (that is to say, animals which by their breeding are eligible for registration with a recognised club or society) are bred and sold,]

  • “riding establishment” means any premises where horses are kept for the purpose of their being let out on hire for riding or their being used in providing, in return for payment, instruction in riding;

  • “zoological establishment” means any premises where[F4 wild] animals are permanently kept primarily for the purpose of exhibition to the public.

(2)For the purposes of this Part a riding establishment shall be deemed to be kept at the premises where the horses employed for the purposes of the business concerned are kept.

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.