IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the ‘get tough’ policy by the Scottish authorities on dog attacks is in stark contrast to the approach in this country.
Scotland has passed legislation that means dog owners can now be fined up to £5,000 or jailed for six months.
“This is the kind of deterrent that’s needed if we want to get serious about this issue. Unfortunately, there has been an abject failure by our authorities to put appropriate sanctions in place to deal with the irresponsible and reckless behaviour of some dog owners,” he said.
Sean Dennehy said there has been very strong support for IFA’s ‘No Dogs Allowed’ campaign since it was launched last month.
“People understand why we were forced to do it, and have backed us. But if the authorities focused on the issue, we could bring about a safer environment for livestock,” he said,
All dogs are legally required to be micro chipped and have a licence. This requirement is not enforced, but farmers must register and record every animal on our farms on a national data base.
The latest report on the implementation of the Control of Dogs Act shows only 217,261 dogs are licensed out of an estimated 800,000 dogs in the country. The reality is nobody knows how many dogs there are because of the lack of enforcement.
Sean Dennehy said there must be a national ownership database for all dogs that allows those responsible for them be identified.
IFA has repeatedly asked the Government to put serious resources into microchipping and an adequate dog warden service, but it hasn’t happened.