Cllr Flynn responds to cuts to animal welfare posts

"The £1.25m animal welfare budget provided by DEARA to the 11 local councils helps fund the activities of important animal welfare officers."

"To cut this funding now will be a disaster for animals in Northern Ireland, Council budgets are already stretched, local animal charities are at breaking point and DEARA is burying it's head in the sand."

"The letter from DEARA alludes to councils using council budgets to cover the animal welfare responsibility, however the only mechanism councils have to raise revenue around this is through dog licensing and licenses for breeding establishments. These fees are set in the dog licensing and breeding regulations and cannot be amended by local councils as a means of raising revenue to meet those responsibilities. I brought a motion to Belfast City Council a few years ago addressing these very issues and DEARA ignored our concerns."

"DEARA have a responsibility to ensure councils are fully equipped to take on the cost of full statutory responsibility for non-farmed animal welfare, providing adequate funding to councils is part of this."

"Northern Ireland has become rife with animal abuse and unscrupulous illegal puppy breeders, by removing even more resources from local councils trying to tackle this issue, DEARA is turning Northern Ireland into a safe haven for animal abusers and giving a carte blanche to puppy smugglers carrying out their illegal activity."