Tougher fines for owners who fail to control their dogs are “a step in the right direction” – but the rules need to be enforced.
That is according to a farmer who lost 50 lambs in a “devastating” dog attack last year.
Moneygall farmer John Healy lost nearly half his flock in the attack last September and is calling for strict penalties for owners who fail to microchip their animals.
“It was a devastating attack on us,” he told Pat Kenny this morning. “We had 50 lambs killed.”
“There were two dogs involved in the incident and we never found out who owned the dogs or no-one ever owned up to it or anything like that.”
Mr Healy said he is terrified his farm will be attacked again.
“We are in the middle of lambing at the minute and we’re letting out Joes and Lambs,” he said.
“They’re going back up to the hill where it happened and it is in your mind all the time when you’re driving up – are you going to face the same thing again?”
New rules going before Cabinet today would see fines for owners who fail to control double to €5,000.
Meanwhile, 40 new dog wardens are to be recruited and a single central database for microchips is to be created.
There will also be a new central database for dog breeders and tighter regulations around the sale and supply of dogs.
Mr Healy said enforcement of the new rules will be key.
“It is a move in the right direction but it needs to be implemented,” he said.
“At the minute, I think the fine is €2,500 but how many people have been fined?”
“The Gardaí told me at the time, unless we shoot the dogs on sight and hope they are microchipped or follow the dogs home … it is hard to prove ownership.”
He said it is asking a lot of dog wardens to enforce the rules.
“There are some unsavoury characters with these dogs,” he said.
“There are dogs being bred for various different things and I wouldn’t like to face one of them.
“It is all great the minister going to Cabinet today with a memo. It works well on paper like everything but put it into reality.
“A dog warden pulling up to an unsavoury character with a pitbull, not muzzled, what power does the poor man have?”
He said Gardaí should inspect people’s when there are complaints about dangerous breeds or behaviours.
The new regulations were put forward by a special working group was set up following the devastating attack on a nine-year-old boy in Wexford last November.
Alejandro Miszan was left with life-altering injuries after he was attacked by a dog near his home in Enniscorthy.
The group is due to complete its report by the summer.
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