Pet Laws Irish Dog Owners Should Be Aware Of When Travelling

  • 09/12/2019
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There 450,000 pet dogs in Ireland and it is important that each and every one of our pets get taken care of appropriately. This means meeting your dog’s needs and wellbeing within and outside the home, you also have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your pet and others when out and about.

There are many legislations that apply to dog ownership in Ireland and while this article isn’t legal advice, here is a quick summary of responsibilities that might help you better prepare for any outdoor trips with your furry companion.

Licencing Your Dog

Law: Control of Dogs Act 1986

What the law entails:

A dog licence is required in order for you to keep a dog over the age of 4 months or if they are taken away from their mother before then.

You have to be over the age of 16 in order to own a dog. The types of licences you can apply for include an individual dog licence, general dog licence and a lifetime dog licence. Depending on which licence you are looking to apply for, the price will vary and is handled by either the post office or your local authority.

Failure to comply:

A dog warden may ask you to provide evidence of your dog licence and failure to do so can result in an on-the-spot fine of You can be requested by a dog warden to produce evidence of your dog licence and failure to do so can result in an on-the-spot prosecution and a fine of €100. Failure to pay this fine within a specified period can lead to further prosecution by your local authority with a maximum fine of 2,500 euros and/or 3 months of imprisonment.

Microchipping and dog identification

Law: Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2015

What the law entails:

According to the law, any pup born since 1 June 2015 must be microchipped and registered on an authorised database by the time it reaches 12 weeks or if it is being taken away before then. Dogs must wear a collar that includes important details like its name and the address of its owner.

Failure to comply:

A dog warden can ask for proof of identification and issue an on-the-spot fine if you cannot provide one. This will set you back by €100, payable to your local authority within a set timeframe. Late payments can lead to further prosecution in the District Court with a maximum fine of €2,500 and/or 3 months' imprisonment

Travelling with your dog in a car or other vehicle on the road

Law: Rule 57 of the Highway Code

What the law entails:

According to Tyre Pros, a survey of 1000 respondents showed that just over one in five (22.5%) people admitted to not securing their dog properly when they are driving. This is in violation of Rule 57 of the Highway Code.

The Highway Code states that all motorists should ensure that their dog, or any other animal, is suitably restrained so that they do not cause a distraction while you are driving or to prevent any injuries to you or your pet should the car come to an unexpected and sudden stop. This can be done by using safety measures, providing appropriate restraint like pet carrier, seat belt harness, cage or guard.

Failure to comply:

While breaking the Highway Code is not an offence in itself, allowing a dog to distract you could be taken into account in the event of an accident. Additionally, an accident involving your pet could be fatal for both you and them if not strapped in properly.

Keeping Your Dog Under Control

Law:  Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986

What the law entails:

When your dog is causing nuisance to people around you by barking excessively, it can be charged as an offense. Should a complaint be submitted, you may receive a form under this law and be required to attend a hearing at the District Court.

The court may make an order requiring the occupier of the premises in which the dog is kept to abate the nuisance by exercising due control over a dog. The court may limit the number of dogs that can be kept on a premises or may direct that a dog be delivered to a dog warden to be dealt with as unwanted.

Failure to comply:

Should you be considered guilty for breaching this bye-law, Fines up to €2,500 on conviction.

Dog Fouling In Public Spaces

Law: Section 22 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997

What the law entails:

It is an offence to allow a dog under your control to foul a public place, such as leaving faecal matters in public areas and not disposing of it responsibly. You as the owner have the responsibility to remove and dispose of your pets waste in a suitable and sanitary matter.

Failure to comply:

Dog owners who violate this law can be fined €150. Failure to pay on-the-spot fines can then lead to prosecution in District Court with a maximum fine of €3,000 and €600 per day for continuing offences on summary conviction.

While there are a lot of laws and regulations to remember when taking your dog out, these are all put in place to help take better care of your beloved pets. These will not only ensure a positive experience for yourself, but also for those surrounding you.

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