Residents have been urged to help tackle animal suffering in Mid and East Antrim Borough.
It follows recent high profile cases in the council area where investigations are ongoing into alleged animal neglect.
The Mayor, Cllr Maureen Morrow said: “In 2018 it was reported that 45 people in Northern Ireland were banned from keeping animals after they were convicted of animal cruelty. This was an increase of 26 people banned from 2015.
“However, many people are unsure of where the responsibility lies in terms of reporting cases - so that’s where we can help with some helpful points of contact.
“Local councils have adopted a collaborative regional approach to the new legislation and have appointed nine Animal Welfare officers to enforce animal welfare in respect of non-farmed animals, across Northern Ireland.
“Three separate bodies are responsible for enforcement of the Act depending on the type of animals involved and, in some cases, the nature of the welfare issue.”
If you become aware of an animal welfare case, council advises the following:
Report it to the appropriate enforcement body as set out below, providing as much information as possible;
Do not upload comments or photographs to social media sites or other media outlets as this may jeopardise potential court proceedings;
Do not interfere with evidence as this may affect any subsequent criminal investigation;
Do not attempt to rescue an animal from another person or property as you may be found to be acting illegally.
Councils are responsible for enforcement of the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011, as it applies to non-farmed animals. This means domestic pets of any vertebrate species such as cats, dogs, horses and donkeys, etc.
Council Animal Welfare officers do not offer re-homing services for unwanted animals but will be able to refer you to other bodies that may be able to help.
If you need to report a non-farmed animal welfare case Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, you should contact 028 2563 3134 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If an animal requires urgent attention, you may wish to contact a local vet, council adds.
For matters relating to dog straying or dog attacks, contact council’s senior enforcement officer on 028 25 633 120.
The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for enforcement of the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011, in relation to farmed animals.
During Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, contact DAERA on 0300 200 7840. After 5pm and at weekends if you have a complaint relating to a farmed animal contact a private veterinary practice or the PSNI.
Welfare complaints in respect of wild animals or animal fighting should be referred to your local police station, telephone 101.
If your call relates to wildlife crime, badger baiting, poisoning of birds, destroying or disturbing bat roosts, release into the wild of non-native species, trapping wildlife illegally, trade in endangered species, deer poaching or if an animal is on the road or other criminal activity is suspected contact the PSNI non-emergency number 101 or in an emergency 999.
Information on animal welfare and how to care for animals is available on NI Direct’s Animal Welfare pages.