Inaction by the Government in delivering meaningful dog control measures is resulting in heavy losses on sheep farms, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has said.

“At national and county level, we are seeing a complete abdication of responsibilities by the powers that be, resulting in no control of dogs and no responsibility for their irresponsible owners,” president Colm O’Donnell said.

Referring to previous concerns outlined by the organisation in 2019 relating to governmental approach to the control of dogs, the INHFA has highlighted that no concrete action has yet been taken.

Scattered control

The control of dogs is covered by three Government departments:

  • Licensing is covered by the Department of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands.
  • Microchipping is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.
  • Dog wardens are under the control of the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage.
  • O’Donnell continued: “This scattered approach, which continues today, is undermining any serious attempt in controlling dogs and is leaving our sheep farmers in limbo.

    "In our 2019 submission, we stressed the need for responsible dog ownership and detailed what this involves.

    "We also called for a State-backed media campaign to remind dog owners of their responsibilities and the implications.”

    The INHFA has called for an annual media campaign to coincide with a dog licensing drive.

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