When animals have strayed onto your land
If a land owner or occupier finds cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry or domesticated deer on their land, the following guide will help them deal with the situation.
Dealing with the animals
If livestock have strayed onto your land, you can:
- keep the livestock until the owner is found
- decide not to keep the livestock on your land
If a land owner/ occupier decides to look after the livestock, they must treat the animal/ s with reasonable care and provide enough food and water. If they then fail to do this they could be prosecuted on welfare grounds.
Decided not to keep the livestock on your land
If you choose not to look after the animal/ s found on your property and no-one else is providing reasonable care or enough food and water, you can contact:
- Department of Agriculture, environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in the case of farmed animals
- or the local council in the case of non-farmed animals such as horses and donkeys
DAERA or the local council will carry out an assessment and take the necessary action if they decide that there's a welfare issue.
It's an offence for anyone to turn any livestock loose onto a road.
When the livestock owner is known
If you know the person that the livestock belongs to, you can keep the animal/ s on your property but must let the livestock owner know within 48 hours.
You can only keep the animal/ s on your property until:
- the livestock is claimed by the owner
- the owner of the livestock has also paid for any damages caused and/ or expenses involved
When the livestock owner is unknown
If you decide to look after the livestock and the owner/ keeper of the animal/ s is unknown, you must tell the police within 48 hours:
After 14 days if no owner is found, the land owner/ occupier can then sell the livestock at a market or public auction. If this isn't possible, contact an animal welfare or re-homing charity.
Download the guide
All of the above mentioned details can be found in the following guide which you can download: