Dog Control Orders


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 Orders

A dog control order is a type of regulation or bylaw that applies to public land. They can be  introduced by local government districts provided an order is a justified and proportionate response to problems caused by the activities of dogs and those in charge of them (e.g. fouling, dog attacks, livestock worrying etc).

Dog control orders create certain criminal offences, for instance:

·       not keeping a dog on a lead (in areas where this is required);

·       not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;

·       permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded; and

·       taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land.

What can happen if I break the law?

Breaching a Dog Control Order is a criminal offence, and could result in you having to go to court, getting a criminal record, and being made to pay a fine up to a maximum of £1,000.


Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2012

Dog Control Orders (Prescribed Offences and Penalties, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012