I have called on the Government to make more resources available to enforce the existing Dog Control Laws in this country. Presently we have plenty of laws but very few resources to implement them.
Enforcement of existing dog laws is just as important as bringing in new measures to tackle the scourge of dog attacks on livestock. Laws are no good to us if they are not enforced and adding more laws is a useless exercise if we do not have the resources to enforce them.
The latest Local Authority Control of Dog Statistics will shows that in 2021 that zero on the spot fines under the Control of Dogs Act were issued in several counties, including counties that have big sheep numbers. . According to the Local Authority Control of Dog Statistics a total of 924 on the spot fines were issued in 2021. several counties with large populations of sheep issued no fines, namely: Roscommon, Kildare, Tipperary, Westmeath, and Wicklow.
These figures illustrate the complete lack of political will to have real enforcement when it comes to our dog laws. For a start, we don’t even know how many dogs there are in the country. Conservative estimates put the figure at around 500,000 but the reality is the figure could be closer to one million. We know that on average around 200,000 dog licences are issued annually but we cannot state with any level of accuracy what proportion of the dog population that represents.”
Investment is required to ensure compliance with the laws which are in place. In 2021 there were a total of 50 dog wardens employed full time nationally and a further 21 employed part time which is clearly not enough given the scale of the job at hand. We need multiples of these numbers in place across all local authorities if we are serious about protecting sheep and indeed humans.