Minister Charlie McConalogue met with Minister Heather Humphreys yesterday to discuss dog control.
The Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Rural and Community Development discussed how their Departments can address shared concerns regarding dog control and ownership.
They agreed to establish a working group that will examine issues such as fines under the Control of Dogs Act, enforcement at local authority level, the provision of dog wardens, microchipping, promoting responsible ownership and licences.
The group will meet in the coming days and report to the two ministers.
The ministers also confirmed that they will consult and engage with relevant stakeholders to update them regularly on the progress of the group.
“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 time ahead,” Minister McConalogue said.
“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.
“Our dogs are more than pets, they are our companions and loyal friends. However, the harrowing scenes we have witnessed recently show the threat dogs can pose if they are not properly controlled by their owners. Both Minister Humphreys and I will work proactively on this in the time ahead.”
Minister Humphreys said 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,” she said.
“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.”