The Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992 place responsibility for dog control on Local Authorities. Under this legislation, Local Authorities have a number of powers to include appointing Dog Wardens and imposing on the spot fines for a number of offences and the issuing of court prosecutions. Local Authorities may also pass a number of bye-laws regarding the control of dogs in their area. All dogs must be kept under effective control. The owner of a dog is liable for any injury caused if their dog attacks a person or an animal. The owner is also liable for any damage caused.
Section 16 of the 1986 Act provides Dog Wardens with the power to request the name and address of a person suspected of committing an offence under the Control of Dogs Act. Dog Wardens can seize and detain dogs and can enter premises (other than a dwelling) where a reasonably held belief exists that an offence has been or is being committed. It is also an offence to obstruct a Dog Warden in the exercise of his or her duties.
Section 2 of the 1986 Act sets out that is an offence not to possess a licence for your dog. Failure to have a licence in place can result in an on the spot fine of €100 and furthermore failure to pay the on the spot fine can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to €2,500 and / or 3 months imprisonment if convicted.
Note that dog licences are only valid for a period of one year unless you purchase what is known as a “Lifetime of Dog” licence. Such licences are available since January 1st 2012.
Excessive dog barking that causes a nuisance is an offence. Section 25 of the 1986 Act provides that the District Court can make an Order requiring the reduction of excessive barking by a dog, can limit the number of dogs that can be kept on a premises or can direct that a dog be delivered to a Dog Warden as an unwanted dog. Complaints about excessive barking can be made to the District Court under various Noise Regulations. However before approaching the District Court, it is necessary to first write to the dog owner advising that you propose to make such a complaint. Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986 provides for a specific form to be used in these circumstances and this form is readily available from Local Authorities.
Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act, 1997 makes it an offence for the owner of a dog not to clean up when the dog fouls in a public place. Again failure to comply here can lead to an on the spot fine of €150 or on summary conviction to a fine of up to €3,000.
Special forms are available from local Dog Control Units / Local Authorities which can be used to notify dog owners of a person’s intention to complain about dog fouling. Thereafter if that does not resolve the matter, a formal complaint can be lodged with the local District Court. You need to attend at the District Court Office; complete a Form and pay €25 and you will be given a court hearing date within a week. You then have to serve that form on your neighbour and then complete a form to confirm you have served it, and then turn up in Court on the date. The Judge will then hear your complaint on that date and this may lead to conviction at Court and / or to a fine of up to €3,000.
Section 22 of the 1986 Act provides that in certain circumstances a District Court may order that a dog, which it considers dangerous, be kept under proper control or destroyed. The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 govern certain breeds of dogs such as Pit-Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, German Sheppards, etc. These specific regulations state that such dogs must be securely muzzled for example when they are in a public place, must be kept on a short strong lead by a person over 16 years who is capable of controlling them.
Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or [email protected] if you would like more information.
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