Calls for potential dog owners to take mandatory theory test before being allowed own one – – Our News, Your Views

Calls for potential dog owners to take mandatory theory test before being allowed own one

A canine behaviour expert has urged the government to introduce a mandatory theory test for prospective dog owners to ensure they are knowledgeable about caring for their pet.

Nanci Creedon appeared before the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee to discuss how best to deal with dangerous dog breeds in Ireland.

Ms Creedon told committee members that many aggressive dog behaviours could be avoided if the owner had a better understanding of dog behaviour and how they manage the environment and how their dog is treated.

The commission also listened to Dr. Eoin Ryan, head of the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Department, who said policy responsibilities for the control and welfare of dogs each lay in separate departments.

However, he said a working group set up on the issue will allow the state to take a coordinated approach.

All dogs over 12 weeks of age must be microchipped and owning, moving, selling or providing an unchipped dog is a criminal offence.

Dr Ryan explained that the data, with over 700,000 microchipped dogs since 2017, with over 122,000 registered in 2022, indicates a high level of compliance.

Paul Geraghy, Principal Officer of the Department of Rural and Community Development, which oversees dog breeding, told the committee that 245 breeding operations were logged in 2021.

“This figure includes 92 Commercial Dog 4 Breeding Establishments (CDBEs), 83 Hunts Clubs and 49 Commercial Boarding Kennels (CBKs). The remainder comprises Animal Welfare Shelters (17) and training kennels (4),” reports RTE.

He also pointed to ongoing discussions about a new provision to allow for control dog alerts (DCN), which is a warning to the owner of a dog whose dog is out of control.

“We also intend to introduce increased penalties for the offence of ‘Livestock Worrying’ which continues to be an issue in our rural areas. 217 incidences of Livestock Worrying were reported to the local authorities in 2021, with 241 reported in 2020,” reports RTE.

Ms. Creedon wants to go further. She calls for the creation of a dog bite prevention organization to investigate the serious attacks.

In her opening remarks, she said: “the investigations carried out by gardaí and dog wardens following an incident are minimal. This new organisation could assess the dog prior to euthanasia, and begin to build a picture of the characteristics of serious dog bites. A dog of any breed and size can cause a fatality”, Ms Creedon noted, adding that “a dog displaying aggressive behaviour is absolutely not doing so because of its breed,” reports RTE.

By law, restricted breeds in Ireland must be muzzled and kept on a lead. “Banning the breeds just glorifies them,” Ms. Creedon warned.

She cited several cases of dogs killing people in Ireland, adding that “he Control of Dogs act was not breached”.

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