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public consultation

Does Ireland need to update its dog control laws? The public are being asked to give their views

A public consultation will last until September.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a public consultation process to review the measures currently in place for the control of dogs in Ireland. 

The consultation, which starts today and will close on 6 September, will ask for submissions on whether Ireland’s current laws effectively control dogs. 

“Many people own dogs in Ireland and we want to ensure that these dogs are treated properly,” Seán Canney, the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development said. 

“I want to ensure that an approach is in place that places priority on the protection and safety of the public,” he added. 

No dog breeds are banned in Ireland. Instead, the current law – which dates from 1998 -  imposes rules on the leashing and muzzling of some breeds in public places and requires that they be kept on a “short strong lead by a person over 16 years who is capable of controlling them”. 

The breeds listed currently include Bull Mastiff, Dobermann pinscher, English bull terrier and German shepherd. 

The consultation document states

Some assert that more breeds should be added to the list – especially given the newer breeds that have arrived in Ireland over the last number of years. Others believe that a different approach should be taken which would focus on the behavioural issues of individual dogs, rather than specific breeds and should move away from muzzling.

Ten questions are posed in the document. These include whether neutering should be encouraged or required for some breeds of dog and whether Ireland should update the number of breeds currently listed under control of dogs regulations. 

Regardless of their breed, all dogs in Ireland must have a license and must at all times wear a collar with the name and address of their owner. There are also a range of restrictions on the sale of dogs in Ireland. 

Canney said it was important to ensure decisions on the control of dogs are made in an “open and inclusive way”. 

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