Northern Ireland

The rules on bringing your dog when voting in the Northern Ireland election

Dogs outside polling stations are always an election highlight, but can you bring them inside?

Sadiq Khan with his wife Saadiya Khan and dog Luna visited a polling station in south London
Sadiq Khan and his wife Saadiya Khan brought their dog Luna along to a South London polling station back in May during the local elections in England. (Yui Mok/PA)

The last Westminster election in December 2019 saw the internet come alive with a host of furry friends in Santa hats at the polls.

Thousands joined in on the #DogsAtPollingStations trend, which resurfaces at almost every election.

And while the recent weather may make it feel more like a winter election, we are unlikely to see many dogs in festive attire this time around.

But can you still bring them along to vote with you?

Can I bring my dog to the polling station?

You can bring your dog along with you to the polling station, however they are not usually allowed inside.

a dog outside a polling station
Dogs are typically not permitted inside the polling station unless they are an assistance dog.

Only assistance dogs are typically permitted inside polling stations.

If you bring your dog, be prepared to have to secure it outside the station while you vote.

Are other pets allowed inside the polling station?

No, generally only assistance dogs are allowed inside the stations.

This means that other pets including cats, or if you are Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, guinea pigs, are not permitted inside polling stations.

Can I take a photo of my dog at the polling station?

Thousands will be sure to take part in the #DogsAtPollingStations trend again at this election.

Taking a photo of your dog outside of the polling station is allowed, but you should not take a photo of your dog inside a polling station.

Photography inside is strictly forbidden, as if any photos accidentally revealed how someone voted or intended to vote, this would break the law.