Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (572)

Danny Healy-Rae


572. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the waiver of dog licence fees for persons with autism and disabilities who use assistive dogs will be extended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16064/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, all dog owners are required to have a dog licence, with some very limited exceptions.

The Control of Dogs Act 1986 and the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 provide for licensing and muzzling exemptions in cases where assistance dogs are kept and wholly or mainly used for the purpose of guiding a blind person or a person whose eyesight is so defective that he/she is unable to find his/her way without guidance.  The legislation does not extend to any other matter relating to assistance dogs.

I understand that the formal definition of ‘disability’ is broad and as such, setting clear and effective limits to the range of dogs to be exempted is complicated.  There are currently no formal plans to amend the Control of Dogs Acts in respect of assistance dogs, however, I have now asked my officials to consider the matter and to report back to me.