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dog via shutterstock
barks worse than their bite

Do we need to change the law on dangerous dogs?

An online petition calling for a change in legislation has received over 10,000 supporters online.

A PETITION CALLING for a change in the way we legislate for dangerous dogs has received more than 10,000 signatures online.

The petition opposes legislation specific to certain breeds and argues for greater responsibility for dog owners.

This proposal is calling on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly to make changes to the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998. 

It is also argued that legislation should be based on ‘deed not breed’ and that changes to this effect internationally have improved dog safety.

It points to Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States as some examples of countries that have changed their stance on breed specific legislation.

In 2009 Italy removed legislation that deemed 17 dog breeds to be dangerous.  In 2008 the Netherlands lifted a ban on certain breeds of dangerous dog including pit bull terriers and Rottweilers. 

Government policy 

Responding to a query from, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, made the point that “England, Northern Ireland, France and New Zealand all have similar restrictions on specific breeds of dog.”

They went on to say that, “the overall thrust of dog control legislation in Ireland… is to place the onus on dog owners to act responsibly by keeping their dogs under effectual control. Such responsible dog ownership is the key to reducing incidences of dog biting and other problem behaviours.”

The Department has no plan at this point to launch a review of dog control legislation. It will continue to monitor the position regarding these issues, including restrictions on certain breeds, and to receive feedback on these matters.
Potential repercussions
Speaking to, the CEO of the ISPCA Dr Andrew Kelly, warned against the damage that can be caused by hasty action.
In principle we would be opposed to any legislation that is breed specific. I would say the Department of the Environment has no appetite in changing or reviewing the Control of Dogs Regulations. You have to be careful, and unless you are going to replace it with something more valuable, you have to realise it could have a negative impact.
In Italy, where they repealed breed specific legislation, they now have 100,000 dogs who came off the banned list in shelters. You can potentially have puppy farms springing up. People need to be educated on these things. 

Read: This heartwarming video capturing a dog being rescued will give you all the feels

Also: 425 Irish dogs helped break a Guinness World Record

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