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Tuesday 28 March 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# dog control
Politicians hear calls for 'mandatory' theory test for prospective dog owners
A working group on dog control was established by the Government earlier this month.

A DOG BEHAVIOUR expert has called for a “mandatory theory test” to be introduced for people seeking to obtain a dog licence.

Speaking at the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee this evening, dog behaviour expert Nanci Creedon said that prospective dog owners need to be “educated a competent level” and that a theory test should be implemented by the Government.

Creedon compared it to the current requirement to pass a driving theory test, saying that similarly to cars, dogs of all sizes can cause harm and potentially kill.

“As we’ve learned, a dog of any breed in any size can cause a fatality, similarly to how a car of any size can cause a fatality,” Creedon told TDs and Senators.

“Drivers must be educated to a competent level before taking control of a car that could potentially cause harm if driven in the wrong way. Dog owners should have to be educated a competent level before taking control over a dog that can cause harm if handled the wrong way.”

It comes after a working group on dog control was established by Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and Rural Affairs Minister Heather Humphreys.

It follows on from a series of incidents, which McConalogue has described as “harrowing”, while Humphreys described it as “deeply disturbing”.

  • Our colleagues at Noteworthy want to investigate attacks on sheep and people by off-leash dogs.  Support this project here.

In one such incident on 27 November last year, a young boy was airlifted to Crumlin Hospital after he was attacked by a pitbull cross in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.

The young boy has been left with life changing injuries.

The working group itself is due to examine issues like fines that come under the Control of Dogs Act, local authority enforcement,  the provision of dog wardens, microchipping, promoting responsible dog ownership and licences.

Creedon told TDs and Senators that there is significant amounts of misinformation available online about how people should handle and train their dogs.

“The internet and social media is filled with incorrect, unscientific and quite often dangerous dog behavior and training advice, while the dog owning public are turning to the to the internet for lack of state derived advice and education,” Creedon said.

Creedon also sought the establishment of a Dog Bite Prevention Organisation, which would be used to investigate both serious and fatal dog attacks, as well as examine the dogs that carry out these attacks before they are euthanised.

She said that this would allow data to be built on the type of dogs that carry out these attacks, which would allow more impactful dog control legislation to be created.

Additional reporting by Diarmuid Pepper

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