The Responsibilities of Owning a Dog
Many County Express readers will be dog owners but how many are aware of the obligations that dog ownership brings with it.
First of all if you are a dog owner you must be over sixteen years of age and you must have a licence. All dogs over four months must have such a licence; pups under four months that are still with their mothers don't require a licence. Your dog must always be under your control or under the control of another responsible person if it is outside your home.
Dogs must at all times wear a collar that bears the name and address of the owner inscribed on it or on a plate, badge of disc. Failure to have identification on a dog can result in an on the spot fine of €30 issued by a dog warden. Failure to pay this fine within a specific period can result in prosecution by your local authority.
Dogs that are not under proper control are also considered stray dogs. You can receive an on the spot fine if your dog is not under proper control. Stray dogs can be seized by the dog warden and the Gardaí and brought to the local dog pound. These dogs may be put down or disposed of if their owners do not claim them within five days. Before you pick up your dog you will have to pay a reclaim fee and produce a current dog licence.
Under new litter laws it is also an offense to allow a dog under your control to foul a public place. This means that the owner/person in charge of the dog is required under this law to remove dog droppings and dispose of it in a suitable sanitary manner. A third party can make a complaint to the District Court under the litter laws against an owner or someone in charge of the dog who allows that dog to fowl a public place and fails to act responsibly. Before this is done however the dog owner must first be informed of your intention to report the incident by completing a special form available for the dog control unit of your local authority.
Similarly, excessive dog barking that causes a nuisance is an offense. Your District Court can make an order requiring the reduction of excessive barking by a dog or can limit the number of dogs that can be kept on the premises or can direct that a dog be delivered to a dog warden as an unwanted dog. A complaint can be made about excessive barking to the District Court but before this complaint is made the dog owner must be informed of your intention by completing a special form available from your local authority.
Please note that an individual dog licence costs €12.70 and is valid for one year and you can obtain such a licence at your local post office or local authority anywhere in the country. If you have any queries in relation to this or any other matter then please contact us.