Owning a dog can be a very positive and rewarding experience. For one thing they are very loyal and great company. This is particularly true in households with children and it can teach them valuable life skills such as responsibility and caring for others.
Other people see dogs as a form of security and having one or more in their yard gives them comfort in the face of the risk of home intrusion.
However, as with most things in life, there are rules governing the ownership of dogs in Ireland.
Responsibilities of Dog Owners
This area of law is mainly governed by the Control of Dogs Act 1986 (as amended in 1992). Under this Act Local Authorities are responsible for the control of dogs. They can appoint wardens, seize dogs, impose on the spot fines of €100, and issue Court proceedings against owners.
Dogs that are wandering or not under proper control in a public place will be deemed as ‘stray’ and brought to a pound.
An important factor to bear in mind is that dog owners are liable for any injury caused by their dog to people or livestock. We are all aware of the potentially tragic situations that can result from dog attacks.
In order to protect yourself from liability and others from harm or injury the following rules must be complied with by all dog owners:
- Get a dog licence
- Have your dog micro-chipped and registered
- All dogs must have a collar and I.D tag with owner details
- Clean up any dog faeces in a public place
- Keep dogs on a leash in public areas including parks, streets and walkways
- Be extra vigilant in the presence of children and other animals
- Excessive dog barking is an offence (known as ‘nuisance’). Ensure proper control of dogs or a warden may seize the animal
- If you own a restricted breed of dog, comply with all rules in respect of muzzling and leads
- Guard dogs on non-residential property must be secured and a notice placed in plain sight of public.
Remember, a District Court prosecution could result in the loss of your dog and a penalty of €2,500.
So don’t let your dog become a bone of contention!