Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Questions (613, 614, 615)

Gerry Adams

Question:

613. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if an out-of-hours dog warden service will be introduced in County Louth. [12109/19]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

614. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the development of a reciprocal arrangement which would enable dog wardens in County Louth to follow dogs which have killed sheep into neighbouring counties here and into Northern Ireland will be supported. [12110/19]

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Gerry Adams

Question:

615. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the procedure for dogs which have been removed by a dog warden due to sheep worrying. [12111/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 613 to 615, inclusive, together.

The overall intention of dog control legislation is to place the onus on dog owners and those in control of dogs to act responsibly by keeping their dogs under effectual control. Such responsible dog ownership is the key to reducing incidences of sheep worrying and other problem behaviours.

The Control of Dogs Acts 1986, as amended, set out a range of requirements for all dog owners or any other person in charge of a dog. In particular, section 9 of the 1986 Act outlines requirements regarding keeping dogs under effectual control. Section 9 (2) states that the owner or any other person in charge of a dog that worries livestock is guilty of an offence, while Section 21 of the 1986 Act provides that the owner of a dog shall be liable in damages for an attack on livestock.

Upon seizure of a dog under Sections 9 or 11 of the Control of Dogs Act, the seized dog is taken to the Local Authority dog pound, with relevant details regarding the dog entered in the register. Section 14(3) specifies the information to be entered in the register while Section 11 outlines the duration of detention of the dog.

As all operational matters in relation to the Control of Dogs Acts 1986, as amended, are matters for local authorities, an out of hours dog warden service is solely a matter for the relevant local authority. I understand that Louth County Council dog warden service has been very active in addressing all aspects of sheep worrying, from dealing with actual cases, including the scanning of dead dogs for microchips at the scenes to preventive measures such as seizing stray dogs from the area.

My Department will continue to work with all responsible stakeholders and support any practical reciprocal arrangements between local authority areas, and where relevant, other jurisdictions. In many cases these arrangements can be dealt with at an operational level by local authorities. My Department will work with all responsible stakeholders towards the shared aim of promoting responsible dog ownership and consistently reinforcing the message that dogs should never be allowed to roam alone.