Cutting dogs' tails to be banned
The docking of dogs' tails will be banned in Northern Ireland from the start of next year, it has been revealed.
Some pedigree dog breeders cut tails when puppies are a few days old for cosmetic reasons.
Anyone convicted of tail-docking could face two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine, Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has warned.
"The introduction of this final inactivated provision in the Welfare of Animals Act 2011 will ban the hideous practice of tail docking of dogs," she said.
She said the law permitting exemptions for some working dogs or emergencies when a dog's life many be in danger would also come into operation on January 1.
"These new regulations set out the strict conditions which must be met to allow certain breeds of dogs, of no more than five days of age, to have their tails docked by a veterinary surgeon," she said.
"The controls will also ensure that this exemption is not abused and prevent the cosmetic docking of dogs by the back door."