______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 12/12/2023
Question Number(s): 882,883 Question Reference(s): 54446/23, 54447/23
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION



* To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development further to Parliamentary Question No. 550 of 31 January 2023, her plans to enhance the role of An Garda Síochána in assisting dog wardens to carry out their duties; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.

* To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her plans, if any, to classify dog breeds by their potential to injure, to licence all dog owners by the classification of the dog and to introduce ownership training according to the higher classification of the breed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.

REPLY


My Department has overall policy responsibility for the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 to 2014. This legislation makes provision for dog licensing arrangements and the functions of dog wardens. Local Authorities have responsibility for all operational matters under the Control of Dogs Acts.


As outlined by the Minister for Justice in Parliamentary Question No. 550 of 2023, Government established a working group in early 2023 to examine the current issues surrounding dog control and to make recommendations for improvements in the field. The report of the working group is available on Gov.ie.


This report assigned a number of actions to my Department and I am pleased to advise that I have made significant progress in the implementation of these actions.


On 9th November, I signed Statutory Instrument 540 of 2023 to increase on-the-spot fines for offences under the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 to 2014, including introducing a graduated fine system, and trebling fines for serious offences from €100 to €300.


In addition to these measures, I also announced €2 million in capital funding to support Local Authority Dog Control Services and assist them in meeting increased demands on their services.


Furthermore, I announced the establishment of a high-level stakeholder group to provide a forum for stakeholder organisations to express their views on issues and possible solutions related to dog control issues. The issue of breed specific legislation and possible amendments or changes to the current arrangements will be discussed by this group, in order to inform policy development in the area. This stakeholder group will also discuss and advise on possible amendments to dog control legislation and enforcement and on education of dog owners on their responsibilities.


The group will be independently chaired and encompass a broad range of sectoral interests and expertise. Details of the membership and terms of reference will be made available on Gov.ie in due course.


My Department works closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine who also have responsibilities in this area, as well as the local authorities who are responsible for operational and enforcement matters in respect of dog control.


I do not have any responsibility with regard to enhancing the role of an Garda Siochana. However they are represented on the Working Group on Dog Control and I understand there are already strong working relationships between local Gardaí and dog wardens.