DONEGAL County Council is among a number of local authorities in the country to have handed out the lowest number of dog control fines over a three-year period.
The local authority issued 10 fines between 2019 and 2022. Five fines were for having an unmuzzled dog, while five fines were also handed out for not having a leash on a dog.
The data, provided to Irish Independent, reveals there is very little enforcement of laws under the Control of Dogs Act.
Potential amendments to the act are being mooted by the Department of Rural and Community Affairs in a bid to make owners more responsible for their dogs.
Under current laws, owners of dogs on the restricted breed list are required to have the animals muzzled and held on a strong lead by a person over the age of 16.
Fines of up to €2,500 and imprisonment for up three months can be imposed on owners of marauding dogs.
Councils in Galway city, Galway county, Cork city, south Dublin, Carlow, Leitrim, Sligo, Laois, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Limerick each issued between one and 10 fines.
The highest number of fines were issued by Cork Council, where 120 fines were issued for no muzzle and 51 for a dog being off a lead. Louth County Council issued 90 fines over the three-year period; 54 fines were for having an unmuzzled dog. Thirty-six fines were handed out for a dog not being on a leash. Kerry County Council handed out 39 fines for no muzzles. No fines were issued for dogs off leads. Local authorities in Kildare, Rosscommon, Tipperary, Longford and Westmeath issued no fines between 2019 and 2022.
The Donegal News asked Donegal County Council how many dog attacks on people were reported to the council’s dog warden in 2022 and this year to date, and what action was taken in each instance. A response had not been received at the time of going to press.
The dogs on the restricted breed list include American pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds (Alsatians), English bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, bull mastiffs, Doberman pinschers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, Japanese akitas, Japanese tosas and any dog which is a cross of those breeds.
Meanwhile, a canine behaviour expert has called for the government to introduce a mandatory theory test for potential dog owners to make sure they are educated about how to look after their animal.
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