Only one warden for every 3,450 licensed dogs in Limerick

Ensuring compliance with dangerous breeds regulations is one of the roles of Limerick's dog wardens.

RURAL and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys must ensure that the enforcement of the Control of Dogs Act, including compliance with the dangerous breeds regulations, is properly resourced.

That’s the view of Limerick Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan who said that with just one warden for every 3,450 licensed dogs in the city and county, the government must provide increased resources for dog wardens.

“We are lucky to have decent animal welfare legislation but where the government fall down is in the area of implementation,” he explained.

“Dog wardens employed by local authorities are responsible for ensuring that laws are enforced including muzzle wearing by dogs on the dangerous breeds list.

“From figures released by the Minister of Rural and Community Development, it is clear the number of dog wardens is completely inadequate.

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“For 192,348 licensed dogs ,there are around 60 full time equivalent dog wardens. That’s a ratio of 3,205 dogs for every warden and these figures  don’t include the unlicensed dogs.

“In Limerick City and County, there are only 2.5 full time equivalent dog wardens for 8,626, meaning a ratio of 3,450 dogs for every warden.

“Wardens brought 97 prosecutions resulting in 32 convictions throughout the entire country last year.In Limerick, the wardens brought zero prosecutions resulting in zero convictions.”

“In 2021, the wardens issued 924 on-the-spot fines but only 417 were paid. In Limerick City and County only nine on-the-spot fines were issued and only five were paid.

“We have seen a spate of attacks by dangerous breeds. Those dogs are supposed to be muzzled by their owners but without enforcement there are no repercussions for breaking the law.

“We see simplistic, unworkable, knee-jerk calls from Government when the reality is that we need proper enforcement of existing legislation and the full implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee Report on issues affecting dog welfare.

“This includes bringing canine welfare under the remit of a single Department and highlights the importance of proper socialisation of puppies.”

“Sinn Féin is bringing legislation to the Seanad in the last week before Christmas to tighten dog licensing laws,” Senator Gavan concluded.