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The Project

Regulating Dog Rescues: A legal toolkit for Northern Ireland

The project:

Dog rescues across the UK are currently inundated with dogs, as the cost-of-living crisis bites and people abandon animals (many acquired during the pandemic) in unprecedented numbers. At the same time applications to adopt have declined,generating a crisis in the sector. This project examines the role that legal regulation could play in increasing both animal welfare standards and resilience within the rescue sector.

Over the course of 2023 Research England funding allowed us to undertake interviews and focus groups with smaller rescues across the devolved nations of the UK whose voices are rarely represented in government consultations.

Interviews in Northern Ireland highlighted issues particular to this jurisdiction,including a dearth of legal advice regarding dog law. To address this, this project(funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)) will facilitate further interviews focus groups and stakeholder events with rescues operating across Northern Ireland. The experiences of rescues will inform an online dog law toolkit intended to address a lack of relevant legal expertise. A further aim is to work with stakeholders to draft legislation as well as providing an evidence base to keep regulation of rescue on the political agenda in Northern Ireland.

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