Dog Lovers Getting No Return for €20 Annual License Fee

The list of dogs which carry restrictions when in public. Locals say these types of dogs regularly run loose in the town park and elsewhere. ©Photograph: John Reidy
The list of dogs which carry restrictions when in public. Locals say these types of dogs regularly run loose in the town park and elsewhere. Some of these breeds are banned in the UK.  ©Photograph: John Reidy  Click on image to enlarge.

Since posting the piece here about dog litter on the footpaths, streets and river-walk in Castleisland a couple of weeks ago, I have heard several reasonable debates on the ups and downs of dog ownership and attitudes to control of pets in public places in the Ireland of today. 

Number one is the glaring fact that you either love dogs or you’re terrified of them. There are very few people who hate dogs – there are many who fear them. But there are people who hate cats and there are people who adore and love them.

Annual License

When it comes to dogs though, the issue of the annual license has come up with great regularity.

Dog lovers now feel that they are being pushed to the edges of communities and have no place to go on their constitutional rambles with their beloved pets. Some now feel that even the picking up of the fouling after their dog won’t be enough in another year or two as the anti-dog movement has now got a firm grip of the bit and won’t let it go.

Sports Grounds and Green Areas

And there are those who point out that people bring their dogs onto sports grounds and green areas of housing estates specifically for them to do their business – and they walk away and leave it there.

Their traditional walking areas have all been posted by Kerry County Council with one kind of sign or restriction or another. And that, the say, is the very same authority which has its paw out for the annual license fee.

They wonder what they’re getting in return for being law-abiding citizens and paying up.

‘Ugly Looking Dogs’

The people who fear dogs of any kind point to the increase locally of ‘ugly looking dogs’ now parading with their owners along the streets and roads of the town and in the town park area.

Many of these are let loose once they get to the park in spite of warning signs and they frighten the living daylights of people – and people with children in particular.

Throughout the UK it is against the law to own certain types of dog. Included are: Pit Bull Terriers and Japanese Tosa. There is no such ban here. In fact a Kerry County Council sign here in town acknowledges their possible presence by providing instructions to their owners on how to handle them.

Set of Guidelines

The sign at Church Street Bridge provides a clear set of guidelines for the control, in public places, of the less traditional breeds of dogs now bursting onto the scene here over the past few years.

The message from Kerry County Council’s head of Environmental Services, Mícheál Ó Coileáin, a couple of weeks ago dealt specifically with the issue of dog fouling in public places and its health implications for children.

Reading Between the Lines

Even so, dog lovers are reading between the lines and fearing isolation for them and their beloved pets.

They’re wondering if their license fees at €20 per dog should be going towards the provision of a ‘place of their own’ where bins and bags would be provided for the safe disposal of dog litter.

Dog licences are issued to people over 16 years of age at local post offices. The revenue goes to finance the operation of dog control services in local authority areas throughout the country.

Could / should this dog control service be more considerate to people and their pets.

20,000 Dogs x  €20 Per Annum

Should the service also keep in mind the cruelty aspects of holding an animal in a confined space with no access to exercise – and the release of teaspach which the word ‘Walkies’ always triggers.

According to Kerry County Council figures, the dog population in Kerry is estimated at 20,000.

If Kerry County Council knows there are that many dogs in the county then I’m sure the vast majority are licensed. That’s a total of €400,000 per annum.

On that basis alone could you blame those who cough up the license fee for expecting something in return ?

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