Tail docking of dogs is banned in NI from 1st Jan 2013. It will be an offence to dock a dog’s tail or allow another person to carry this out.

It also bans taking a dog to another jurisdiction to have its tail docked.

It will be an offence to show a dog, which had its tail docked on or after this date, at events where the exhibitor pays a fee or members of the public pay an admittance fee.

It is not an offence if the tail is removed by a veterinary surgeon for the purpose of medical treatment or in order to save the dog’s life.

Any person convicted of illegal tail docking of a dog could face a maximum of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Dogs that can be construed as ‘working’ dogs, spaniels, terriers, retrievers etc. are excluded from the ban and are not to be spared this needless suffering.

The USPCA welcomes this limited ban on tail docking, we feel the ‘hunting dog’ exclusion is open to abuse by the arbitrary inclusion of dogs that are a combination of breeds commonly used in hunting i.e. cross bred mongrels.

A DARD Press Release issued on 14 December 2012 fails to mention enforcement arrangements, a further cause for USPCA concern.