Causeway Coast Dog Rescue work to inform Ministers and MLAs of the issues in Animal Welfare

Causeway Coast Dog Rescue was at Stormont this week (Monday) as they continue to work their way round the political arena by meeting each of the Political Parties. The charity has been providing briefings to MLAs and Ministers on what it is like to be a dog rescue and animal welfare charity in Northern Ireland.

The current climate is constantly changing but one thing that continues, is the high level of breeders in this country and the increasing number of dogs being surrendered to charities.

Margaret Dimsdale-Bobby, Chair of CCDR, said, “charities are overwhelmed in Northern Ireland, GB, and in Ireland, as we are all inundated with calls to take in unwanted dogs.  Many of these dogs have behavioural problems and we want to address this with each of our political parties.

“We have been discussing enforcement by local government and the removal of funding by DAERA to councils and what the impact may be, but ultimately, we are discussing how the charities were already struggling prior to the removal of funding and what we can do to play our part in improving the health and wellbeing of all dogs in this country.

“We are entering a crisis in animal welfare provision. Without urgent action, the lives and welfare of many animals in Northern Ireland are being put at increasing risk.”

To prevent the further inevitable deterioration in the welfare of domestic (non-farmed) animals Causeway Coast Dog Rescue is calling for:

  1. Strategy: The development of an immediate cohesive and targeted approach to animal welfare provision by all identified decision makers in central government, local government and PSNI, ensuring a multi-disciplinary approach to Non-Farmed Animal Welfare;
  2. Enforcement: For Councils to immediately cease the issue of any further ‘breeding licences’ being presented, and a review of all current ‘breeders’ in Northern Ireland, legal and non-legal, with an urgent review of current licences and of licencing costs, which equate to their ‘non-declared income’;
  3. Review: On the return of a functioning Assembly: a) The urgent commissioning of a full review of Local Government’s service delivery of Animal Welfare under the current legislation, taking into account the 2016 government review (published in 2018) to ascertain the current position and ensure that fully informed decisions are made in the new Strategy; and b) A firm Government commitment to the inclusion of a Non-Farmed Animal Welfare Strategy in the new mandate’s Programme for Government.

Margaret continued, “Each political party has a part to play in this, it is crucial they recognise the level of impact on our dogs, our society and to the public purse. We do believe there is a better way of providing the service, but it will take time and it must be worked out within the principles of co-design, which basically means that all stakeholders work together to improve our current situation.

“Many dogs are not living past 2 years old as the behavioural problems are so severe charities are unable to do anything to help them, or they are being shipped to England to hopefully rehome.  As a country, we need to address and improve our own issues.  Euthanasia and making it someone else’s problem does not help the dog, or us as a society.

“What we have is a total lack of coherent or concerted action at local council level and a resultant significant growth of animal abuse in our society. We are witnessing more and more attacks on children and adults by extremely large dogs, while owners take no, or little responsibility as they know they will not be prosecuted for their ignorance of the law.

“Causeway Coast Dog Rescue is seeking political parties to rise to the challenge and put some steel into the Government’s response to this growing issue. Because of this, CCDR is hosting an animal welfare conference in Stormont next month, the first of its kind which will welcome authorities of animal welfare from throughout the UK and Ireland to discuss how we go forward and design a solution.

“Without such action there is a substantial risk of serious reputational damage with Northern Ireland, which sadly is lagging well behind other parts of the UK and Republic in addressing animal abuse.

“Put simply, our lack of decisive and coherent action is resulting in us increasingly becoming a haven for animal abusers! We are approaching cross-roads in animal welfare. Without robust government action, the animal charities, already becoming so overwhelmed in their efforts to substitute for the work left undone by Northern Ireland’s local government, will increasingly fail to deliver necessary action.

“Ultimately this will become a public scandal – this in in no-one’s interests. We are looking for the political parties to work with us to ensure that this crisis can be averted. Time is not on our side!” . For information on rescue and rehoming, or the forthcoming conference contact  Thank you for your support, CCDR believes that every dog deserves a second chance.


Causeway Coast Dog Rescue was at Stormont this week as they meet each of the political parties to discuss Non-Farmed Animal Welfare and the abuse and neglect to dogs in Northern Ireland as well as their forthcoming Animal Welfare conference.  Standing outside Parliament Buildings Belfast, following their meeting with DUP, is (left) Brian Grzymek Volunteer, Dr Carol McClenahan Trustee, Margaret Dimsdale-Bobby Chair, and Tara Cunningham Policy and Public affairs Causeway Coast Dog Rescue.