10 January 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Padraig O’Sullivan TD welcomes the establishment of a working group that will examine issues such as fines under the Control of Dogs Act – Act dates from 1986
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan welcomes the establishment of a working group that will examine issues such as fines under the Control of Dogs Act, enforcement at local authority level, the provision of dog wardens, microchipping, promoting responsible dog ownership and licences.
This comes after Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, and Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, met yesterday (9 January) to discuss how their Departments can address shared concerns regarding dog control and ownership. The group will meet in the coming days and report to the two Ministers. Minister McConalogue and Minister Humphreys also confirmed that they will consult and engage with relevant stakeholders to update them regularly on the progress of the group.
Deputy O’Sullivan believes that tougher punishments are needed to punish people who cannot control their animals.
The Cork North Central TD said, “While I welcome this announcement, I hope that the working group acts with urgency and does not become a talking shop. The statistics in this area are startling. I obtained statistics from the Court Service, and over 300 people are hospitalised annually as the result of dog attacks, and over 4000 attacks annually, 1200 of those attacks on people.
“While the group undertake their work, we must ensure that the existing laws and legislation are properly enforced. For example, local authorities can ensure that dog wardens are active and present in communities, inspect licenses, issue fines, and seize and detain dogs where necessary. There are not enough dog wardens. Dog wardens are employed by local authorities, who get the funding for dog warden salaries from revenue generated from dog licenses. However, less than half of dog owners do not pay their license fee. This must be urgently looked at.”