In Recognition of International Guide Dog Day, Minister Humphreys has launched a National Awareness Campaign Aimed at Dog Owners

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D. has launched a major national awareness campaign to remind dog owners of their responsibilities.

The campaign entitled – ‘It’s not your dog’s fault, it’s yours’ – is aimed at increasing awareness of the harm that out-of-control dogs can do to people and to livestock.

The goal is to change behaviour and to remind owners that they must always have their dogs under control.

Launching the campaign, Minister Humphreys said, “Being a dog owner is a privilege, but it comes with a lot of responsibilities. We have seen far too many devastating attacks by dogs on people, especially young children, in recent times. I know the majority of dog owners are responsible and do the right thing. But we can all be guilty of thinking our dog wouldn’t hurt a fly.

“No matter how harmless a dog might seem they can be capable of causing a lot of damage. Ultimately, as the campaign says: it’s not your dog’s fault, it’s yours. Dog owners must make sure their dog is under control at all times, not running wild and endangering people, livestock or other dogs. I want this campaign to make people think twice about letting their dog loose and uncontrolled.”

This campaign follows closely from a series of related initiatives;

  • Increases in on-the-spot fines up to €300
  • Additional €2 million to support dog pounds
  • The establishment of the Dog Control Stakeholder Group.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. welcomed the campaign, sharing his hope that it will encourage wider conversations on dog owner responsibilities.

“I really welcome this campaign. I know how traumatic dog attacks can be to people, especially children. I am also acutely aware of the devastation done to livestock by marauding dogs, causing terrible suffering to the animals and both emotional and financial distress to farming families. I believe it is essential we have conversations about responsible dog ownership and illustrating the dangers of marauding dogs and protecting people and animals from dog attacks.

“Dogs are a great addition to a home and a family, but owners must provide for their welfare and wellbeing, taking their responsibilities seriously. Dog owners should ensure their dog has regular visits to the vet, good nutritious food and water, exercise and mental stimulation. I would like to encourage the many excellent charities working in the area of animal welfare, supported by my Department through the Animal Welfare Grants Programme, to leverage this campaign to share their own messages on responsible dog ownership.”

The Stakeholder Group was established by Minister Humphreys in March of this year and is independently chaired by retired Deputy Garda Commissioner Mr John Twomey.

The Group includes a broad range of sectoral interests and experts and been tasked with reviewing existing policy in relation to dog control and breeding establishments.

Welcoming the campaign John Twomey said, “The campaign being launched today is an important step and just the beginning of a number of measures we need to introduce to reduce attacks by uncontrolled dogs. The Independent Stakeholder Group that I chair has an ambitious work plan and I would like to thank them for their willingness to engage so fully with this important issue. I look forward to working with them to bring further recommendations to the Government in due course.”

The media campaign will run from Monday April 22nd until the end of May across radio, print, and online media.

(Source: Department of Rural and Community Development)

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