“Media reports state funding to councils for animal welfare could be cut by up to 100%: leaving a £1.25 million hole in councils’ budgets. This would take away from an already critically underfunded area," said the South Down MLA.
“It is really worrying as NI already deeply undervalues the importance of animal welfare. That's why I have written to the Permanent Secretary, Katrina Godfrey for urgent clarification around this.
"Unfortunately, the more departments are pushed by increasing budgetary pressures, the more cuts we will see. However, we must ensure the increasing problem of large-scale animal breeding is dealt with properly through legislation and funding our Councils to help enforce regulations.
"This uncertainty around budgets is yet another potential victim of the DUP's boycott. We urgently need to restore Stormont, so we can properly deal with animal welfare."