The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has opened a statutory inquiry into the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after concerns arose about its administration and governance.
The inquiry was opened on 23 December 2013 and came to light after the USPCA lodged an appeal against the regulator’s decision at the Charity Tribunal for Northern Ireland.
The appeal was made on 30 June. The tribunal allowed it even though it "was made after the time limit for so doing had expired", according to a directions notice published by the tribunal last week.
That notice gives the CCNI until later this month to formally respond to the USPCA appeal.
A spokeswoman for the CCNI said: "It remains the commission's position that the tribunal is the right and proper place for this type of commission decision to be appealed.
"As the inquiry remains open and an appeal against the commission’s decision has been lodged with the charity tribunal, the commission is not currently in a position to go into further detail on this matter."
But a spokesman for the charity said the situation might be resolved outside the tribunal. "We did instigate an appeal that has now been placed on hold by mutual agreement while we see if we can reconcile our differences," he said.
The USPCA is a separate charity from the England and Wales-based RSPCA.
This decision and the judgment made last week in the case of Trevor McKee, a trustee removed from the charity Lough Neagh Rescue, are two of only four decisions published by the NI tribunal since it was set up in 2008.