I do not propose at this point to introduce compulsory microchipping of all dogs; however, a number of recent developments have increased microchipping usage. The regulations I introduced in early 2012 under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010 stipulate that all dogs held in such establishments be microchipped once they reach 8 weeks of age or when a dog is moved from the establishment. This initiative will result in more and more dogs being microchipped over time. To be properly effective, the compulsory microchipping of dogs should be supported by the development of registration systems for all dogs. It would also be necessary to have the co-operation of the dog-owning public in updating such registrations where ownership changes. These are large projects which would involve a significant investment of time and funding, but they remain under consideration by local authorities and my Department.
Mandatory microchipping of all dogs will not in itself eliminate the problem of sheep worrying. The key to tackling this issue is responsible dog ownership. Dog owners should recognise the issues involved and their responsibilities to ensure that their dogs are controlled at all times, especially at night time and, most especially, before and during the lambing season. My Department is in dialogue with farming representatives regarding the promotion of such behaviour by dog owners. A dog warden may seize any dog and detain it in order to ascertain whether an offence is being , or has been , committed under the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. This facilitates a dog warden in ascertaining whether a dog has worried livestock, in which case the owner or any other person in charge of the dog is liable to be found guilty of an offence.