Responsible Dog Ownership
Problems associated with dog control, including losses of livestock caused by marauding dogs, led to the passing of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. The Act gave local authorities (County Councils and Borough Corporations) responsibility for operating dog control and licensing services with the power to appoint dog wardens, to provide shelters for stray and unwanted dogs, to seize dogs and to impose on-the-spot fines.
Stray or uncontrolled dogs pose a direct risk to the general public and the farming community from:
- disease spread (Ringworm & Toxocariasis for example)
- danger to road traffic
- cause anxiety to adults and children who may have a fear of dogs.
- worrying and attacking livestock particular sheep
- attacking other dogs
Stray dogs themselves can often suffer from malnourishment and disease due to their neglect. The domestic dog has a need for a human master to provide basic care and who they can trust. Offaly County Council seeks to promote responsible dog ownership - the basis of which is licensing and control of dogs. In addition, Offaly County Council advises that pet dogs are micro chipped by their owners.
Offaly County Council administers this act in its functional area. The Dog Warden’s duties include :
- Seizing of stray dogs.
- Checking for dog licences.
- Care of seized dogs.
- Re-homing of suitable dogs to suitable homes.
- Liaising with members of the public who have concern about stray / dangerous / uncontrolled dogs.
If you own a dog, it is your responsibility to do the following:
- Hold a current licence for the dog.
An Individual dog licence costs €20.00 and is valid for 1 year. A Lifetime licence (for lifetime of dog) is also available for €140.00.
A general dog licence costs €400.00
- Ensure the dog wears collar identification. At all times, dogs must wear a collar bearing the name and the address of the owner inscribed on it or on a plate, badge or disc. Failure to have collar identification on a dog can result in an on-the-spot fine issued by a dog warden.
- Keep the dog under control at all times, other than when the dog is on its owner's premises.
- Prevent the dog from worrying livestock. In this regard, it is imperative that the dog is under your control at night, and that you know where the dog is.
- Give your name and address when requested to do so by a dog warden.
- Prevent dog fouling in a public place. Poop Scoop bags are available from Offaly County Council Offices and Libraries or by contacting the Environment Section on (057) 9357403
Twelve Golden Rules of Dog Ownership
- Train your dog to obey basic commands such as sit, stay and come so that it is under control at all times.
- Feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet at regular times, and ensure that your dog has a constant supply of fresh, clean water.
- Provide you dog with regular exercise and involve it in family activities.
- Obey local laws regarding dogs on leads, and for your dog's own safety keep it on a lead near roadways.
- Do not allow your dog to foul pavements and public open spaces. Be prepared to clean up if an accident occurs.
- Do not allow your dog to bark unnecessarily and disturb your neighbours. Training in obedience at an early age helps prevent such problems.
- Provide your dog with its own warm and draught-free bed.
- Register your dog with your local Council, get it micro-chipped, and ensure that it wears its identification tag at all times.
- Keep your dog clean and regularly groomed, and discuss a flea control program with your local veterinarian.
- If you do not wish to breed from your dog, you should obtain advice from your veterinarian.
- Vaccinate your dog annually and worm for intestinal worms every three months.
- Make advance arrangements for the care of your dog when you are going on holidays.