Lawful and responsible gun dog owners in Northern Ireland are at risk of being hit in the pocket by a new tax, the UK's largest shooting organisation has warned.
Gun dog owners in the province are being urged to lobby their MLAs in a bid to halt plans to introduce compulsory microchipping of dogs and an increase in the standard dog licence fee.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has voiced its objection to the planned Dogs (Amendment) Bill.
The Bill would see the cost of the dog licence fee increase from £5 to £12.50 and make it compulsory for owners to have their dogs microchipped.
Owners will also have to pay around £20 to get their dogs microchipped and could end up having to pay microchip companies to update their database if the dog ever changed ownership.
Tommy Mayne, from BASC Northern Ireland, said: “This is effectively a tax on lawful and responsible gun dog owners and it will do nothing to address the issue of stray and abandoned dogs.
“What it will do is place an increased financial burden on our members, many of whom have several working dogs.”