‘It’s not your dog’s fault, it’s yours’  – awareness campaign launched

Mark the start of a major advertising campaign on ‘responsible dog ownership’, Heather Humphreys, Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Rural and Community Development, is pictured with John Twomey, Chair of the Dog Control Stakeholder Group. (Pic: Damien Eagers / Julien Behal Photography)

A major national awareness campaign has launched to remind dog owners of their responsibilities. The campaign entitled – ‘It’s not your dog’s fault, it’s yours’ – is aimed at increasing awareness of the harm that out of control dogs can do to people and to livestock.

The goal is to change behaviour and to remind owners that they must always have their dog under control. This campaign follows closely from a series of related initiatives, such as increases in on-the-spot fines up to €300; an additional €2 million to support dog pounds; and the establishment of the Dog Control Stakeholder Group.


Launching the campaign, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD said: “Being a dog owner is a privilege, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities. We have seen far too many devastating attacks by dogs on people, especially young children, in recent times. 

“I know the majority of dog owners are responsible and do the right thing. But we can all be guilty of thinking our dog wouldn’t hurt a fly. No matter how harmless a dog might seem they can be capable of causing a lot of damage. Ultimately, as the campaign says: it’s not your dog’s fault, it’s yours.

“Dog owners must make sure their dog is under control at all times, not running wild endangering people, livestock or other dogs. I want this campaign to make people think twice about letting their dog loose and uncontrolled,” she said.


Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, welcomed the campaign, sharing his hope that it will encourage wider conversations on dog owner responsibilities.

“I really welcome this campaign. I know how traumatic dog attacks can be to people, especially children. I am also acutely aware of the devastation done to livestock by marauding dogs, causing terrible suffering to the animals and both emotional and financial distress to farming families.

“I believe it is essential we have conversations about responsible dog ownership and illustrating the dangers of marauding dogs, protecting people and animals from dog attacks,” he said.


The Dog Control Stakeholder Group was established by Minister Humphreys in March of this year and is independently chaired by retired Deputy Garda Commissioner Mr John Twomey. The Group includes a broad range of sectoral interests and experts and been tasked with reviewing existing policy in relation to dog control and breeding establishments.

“The campaign being launched today is an important step and just the beginning of a number of measures we need to introduce to reduce attacks by uncontrolled dogs,” John Twomey said, when welcoming the campaign.

“The Independent Stakeholder Group that I chair has an ambitious work plan and I would like to thank them for their willingness to engage so fully with this important issue. I look forward to working with them to bring further recommendations to the Government in due course.”

The media campaign will runs until the end of May across radio, print and online media. Visit www.gov.ie/Dogs to find out more.