Dog Fouling


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 fouling

Picking up your dog’s poo is important. Dog poo poses a health risk both to people and to other animals, including cows and sheep.  Bags need to be disposed of responsibly as bagged faeces can also pose health risks to livestock via ingestion of plastics. Owners are under a legal duty to clean up after their dog while out in public.

There are some exemptions for owners who are registered blind/partially sighted or if the dog is a registered assistance dog trained by a prescribed charity.

What can happen if I break the law?

Dog fouling penalties are administered by local government districts in Northern Ireland. If you let your dog foul a public place you may receive an on-the-spot fine. Levels vary by local government district but are generally between £80-£200.  If you refuse to pay the fine you can be prosecuted for allowing dog fouling.


Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 section 40

The Dog Control Orders (Prescribed Offences and Penalties, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012, schedule 1.