Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I was delighted to have been made Vice-Chair of new Assembly Group on Animal Welfare. I know how important this issue is to many people across Northern Ireland. Naomi Long recently held a public meeting on animal welfare in East Belfast which had a very large turnout. We heard some shocking cases of animal cruelty, but also heard concerns about the response to such incidents.
“At the first meeting, we received a presentation from the USPCA who have been working for the prevention of animal cruelty for over 170 years. They raised issues including responsible pet ownership, better education on how to report animal cruelty and robust enforcement as being vital to improve animal welfare.
“We will be holding meetings with officials from the Departments of Agriculture and Justice to update the group on how they are meeting their animal welfare obligations. A joint report from their Departments is being completed into the implementation of the 2011 Welfare of Animals legislation.
“We will be inviting other animal welfare organisations to work with the group to improve animal welfare and tackle animal cruelty in Northern Ireland.”