asked the Minister for the Environment the steps being taken to combat the nuisance and danger being created by stray dogs throughout the country.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Stray Dogs.
I have no function with regard to the control of stray dogs. However, I am aware of the problems caused by stray dogs throughout the country. Since March 1978 my Department have been operating, with the co-operation of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a scheme of grants for the recoupment to planning authorities of 50 per cent of expenditure incurred by them in the provision of shelters or homes for stray or unwanted dogs and cats, or in assisting other bodies in the provision and maintenance of such facilities. This year a sum of £60,000 was provided in my Department's Vote to finance the scheme.
(Cavan-Monaghan): There is not much money involved in that operation.
Whose function is it if the Minister says it is not his?
It is the function of local authorities.
Surely it is the function of the Department of the Environment in the final analysis?
Local authorities will operate any of the schemes. It is a matter for themselves to do so.
Does the Minister agree that the cause of the trouble is the fact that some people cannot control their dogs? Is he aware that a lot of annoyance is caused, particularly to children attending rural schools, by hordes of such dogs running loose and following children around? Is there any way such animals can be dealt with because they are a danger to people, particularly young children?
It is not my responsibility.
Will the Minister be courteous enough to pass this request on to his colleague?
It is not the responsibility of my Department but we will help local authorities to formulate schemes to deal with stray or unwanted dogs. I will pass the request to the relevant Minister.
The remaining questions will appear on the Order Paper for next Tuesday, 2 December 1980.