Some 40% of fines issued for livestock worrying and other dog control issues in 2021 were not paid by dog owners, figures from the Department of Rural and Community Development show.
The offence of livestock worrying is generally prosecuted under Section 9 ‘control’ of the Control of Dogs Act.
In 2021, some 264 fines were issued under this section to dog owners. However, just 160 of these fines were paid.
There were 31 prosecutions for livestock worrying and 12 convictions in 2021.
The current fine for out-of-control dogs is €2,500 and this week, the cabinet agreed to double the fine to €5,000.
Under the Control of Dogs Act, local authorities have responsibility for operating and managing dog control and licensing services in their administrative areas.
Furthermore, the figures show that there is a lack of enforcement when it comes to paying licensing fines.
In 2021, 423 fines were issued and of this number, 160 were paid. There were 24 prosecutions for licensing and eight convictions.
Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) sheep chair Kevin Comiskey said this week that far too many farmers, in particular sheep farmers, are in fear of a dog attack on their flock and the devastation it can leave in its wake.
Comiskey said all dog owners should take heed that they are fully liable for all damage and suffering caused to farmers and their sheep by their dogs.
“The irresponsible behaviour of some dog owners continues to lead to devastating consequences on farms and must stop,” he said.