A working group that will examine relevant legislative and enforcement issues in relation to dog control has been established.
The group will look specifically at fines under the Control of Dogs Act, enforcement at local authority level, the provision of dog wardens, microchipping, promoting responsible dog ownership and licences.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys met on Monday 9 January and agreed on the establishment of the group.
It will meet in the coming days and report to the two ministers.
Minister McConalogue and Minister Humphreys also confirmed that they will consult and engage with relevant stakeholders to update them regularly on the progress of the group.
Welcoming the establishment of the working group, Minister McConalogue said: “As two ministers with primary responsibility in the area of dogs, Minister Humphreys and I held a very constructive meeting with a focus on working closely together in the times ahead.
“There is a clear commitment from both of us to tackle this issue and ensure that the law is as robust as possible to ensure that both people and animals are safe."
Dogs, he said, are more than pets, they are companions and loyal friends.
Attacks by dogs can have a devastating impact on families
However, he argued that the harrowing scenes being witnessed recently show the threat dogs can pose if they are not properly controlled by their owners.
Speaking following Monday's meeting, Minister Humphreys said that attacks by dogs can have a devastating impact on families, as we have seen during a number of deeply disturbing incidents in recent weeks.
“While the issue of dog control crosses a number of different Government departments, as well as our local authorities, it is vital that we get to grips with this issue.
“That’s why, as a first step, Minister McConalogue and I have decided to set up a working group, which will consider all relevant legislative and enforcement issues in relation to dogs.
“This review will bring all the key players together to consider what action can be taken to keep both people and animals safe," she said.