Dog Control Conditions


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

Dog Control Conditions

Where a local government district  dog warden reasonably believes that certain offences related to dogs have been committed by a dog owner, the warden can impose a notice of Control Conditions on the dog.

Relevant offences include:

·       Allowing dogs to stray

·       Allowing dogs on roads affected by a Dog Control Order

·       Allowing dogs into fields containing livestock

·       A dog attacking animals or worrying livestock

·       A dog attacking or injuring a person.

These conditions can require you to keep the dog:

·       Muzzled in a public place,

·       Under control (on a lead) in a public place,

·       In a secure building, yard or enclosure when not under control,

·       Away from particular places (which will be listed in the notice).

These conditions may also require you to:

·       Neuter a male dog

·       Attend a training course with the dog in question within 6 months of the notice being made.

Since any such conditions will be imposed by a dog warden you will not have to go to court or have a criminal record.   However, breaching these conditions might lead to prosecution.


The Dogs Order (Northern Ireland) 1983, (as amended), articles 30A and 30B.

What if I break the Law?

If you breach the conditions in the notice, you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice or you might be prosecuted. If you are found guilty, you may be liable to a fine of up to £2,500.

Appealing against dog control conditions:

Owners can appeal to a magistrate’s court against the imposition of any control condition. If you want to do this yourself, you can use the form you will find here. It needs to be presented to the local government district that made the order and to the Clerk of the magistrate’s court. You should make sure that you notify the local government district first, because the version of the form submitted to the clerk of the court should include the date and manner (in person, by post etc) that the form was given to the local government district. This must all be done within 30 days of the CONTROL ORDER being made.


Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (as amended), Article 30C

Magistrates Court Rules (Northern Ireland) 1984 (as amended), Part V (rr.97-101).

Asking for a review of dog control conditions:

When six months have passed from the issue of the notice imposing a control condition (or conditions) you can ask the local government district which issued the notice to review the continuing need for the conditions. Once you have asked the LGD for a review, you cannot ask for a second review until a year has passed.


The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (as amended), Article 30D