Search Legislation

Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Section 6 – Docking of dogs’ tails

This section prohibits the docking of a dog’s tail, otherwise than for the purposes of its medical treatment by a veterinary surgeon or to safeguard its life. Subsections (4) – (18) provide an exemption subject to certain conditions for certified working dogs involved in law enforcement, lawful pest control or lawful shooting of animals. Schedule 1 sets out the breeds to which an exemption may apply.   It will be an offence if a dog is docked under this exemption and not identified in accordance with regulations made by the Department.  It will also be an offence to knowingly give false information to a veterinary surgeon in connection with the obtaining of certification for a dog.  In addition it will be an offence to take, or cause another person to take, a dog from Northern Ireland for the purpose of having the whole or any part of its tail docked. The section also introduces a ban on the showing of dogs where the tail was docked after the coming into operation of section 6. Subsection (13) provides an exemption which allows a subsection 4 dog to be shown in circumstances where it can demonstrate its working ability.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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