By Cate McCurry, PA
The Government is to reviews fines, enforcement, microchipping and the provision of dog wardens as part of a crackdown on dog attacks in local communities.
A working group is to examine all the issues, including the promotion of responsible dog ownership and licences, over coming days in a bid to protect people and animals.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys met on Monday to discuss how their departments can address shared concerns regarding dog control and ownership.
They have agreed to establish a working group that will examine issues promoting dog ownership and licenses.
— Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (@agriculture_ie) January 10, 2023
The meeting came after a number of incidents in recent months, including the case of nine-year-old Alejandro Miszan, who was attacked by a dog in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, on November 27th.
He suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Mr McConalogue and Ms Humphreys said they will consult and engage with relevant stakeholders to update them regularly on the progress of the group.
He said: “As two ministers with primary responsibility in the area of dogs, Ms Humphreys and I held a very constructive meeting with a focus on working closely together in the time ahead.
“There is a clear commitment from both of us to tackle this issue and ensure that the law is as robust as possible to ensure that both people and animals are safe.
“Our dogs are more than pets, they are our companions and loyal friends. However, the harrowing scenes we have witnessed recently show the threat dogs can pose if they are not properly controlled by their owners.
“Both Minister Humphreys and I will work proactively on this in the time ahead.”
Ms Humphreys said: “Attacks by dogs can have a devastating impact on families, as we have seen during a number of deeply disturbing incidents in recent weeks.
“While the issue of dog control crosses a number of different government departments, as well as our local authorities, it is vital that we get to grips with this issue.
“That’s why, as a first step, Minister McConalogue and I have decided to set up a working group which will consider all relevant legislative and enforcement issues in relation to dogs.
“This review will bring all the key players together to consider what action can be taken to keep both people and animals safe.”