A suite of new measures designed to enhance dog control nationwide have been announce by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, which include a 300% increase in on-the-spot fines for more serious offences.
The Minister also announced the establishment of a €2 million fund to upgrade local authority dog shelter facilities and vehicles nationwide.
It was also confirmed that a high-level stakeholder group will be asked to consider wider issues, such as expanding the list of ‘restricted breeds’, in light of a series of worrying recent incidents involving dog attacks.
The new fines, which will be effective from December 1st, include a higher fine of €300 on a dog ‘not in effectual control’ or to a restricted dog not properly controlled; a stray dog found and not dealt with in the correct manner will attract a fine of €150, having no dog licence will bring a fine of €150, while a €200 fine will be imposed for having no/incorrect collar/ID.
Speaking last Thursday, Minister Humphreys voiced her concerns over these recent incidents and said she believes this suite of measures is important in terms of promoting responsible dog ownership.
The Minister stated that she wanted to ‘send a strong message to dog owners’.
“If your dog is not controlled you will be fined. And if you own a restricted dog, you must comply with the regulations.”
“Dogs can be a wonderful addition to a family or farm, however dog owners must take responsibility to ensure their dogs do not cause harm or nuisance to people or property.
Dog owners were also warned that multiple fines can apply, for example a restricted dog without muzzle, collar or dog licence may attract three separate fines.
Cork county will receive an allocation of €98,020 under the funding, with Cork city receiving €67,555. The local authority in Waterford will see funding of €64,433, with Limerick receiving €68,393 and Tipperary allocated a sum of €65,954.
In addition to the overhaul of fines, the Minister announced her decision to establish a high level Stakeholder Group, with membership due to be finalised in the days ahead. The Minister confirmed that she will be asking this Stakeholder Group to examine expanding the list of ‘restricted breeds’.
As a direct response to increased pressures on dog control services, particularly in light of increasing numbers of strays and surrenders entering pounds over the past year, the establishment of a €2 million fund under a new Dog Control Support Initiative was announced.
Under this initiative, funding will be provided to Local Authorities to upgrade their dog pounds and shelter facilities, and to move towards cleaner, electric vehicles for dog wardens.
This funding is expected to make immediate and tangible improvements to the dog control service across the country and also fulfils a commitment in the Report of the Working Group on Dog Control to support infrastructure improvements.