Local councillor creates online storm with Facebook post on restricted dog breeds
A county councillor is facing huge backlash on social media following a Facebook post he made about 'dangerous' dogs.
Meath Fine Gael councillor Alan Tobin wrote about new signs he has had erected in his constituency which highlight the list of 10 restricted or listed breeds of dog including German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
The signs include photos of the dogs and instruct owners that, while in public, all the breeds must be leashed and muzzled, wear a collar bearing the owner's name and address, and be under the control of a person over 16 years of age.
The rules come under The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998.
"As a dog owner I'm absolutely delighted that signs I've asked for, with pictures, showing the dangerous breeds of dogs have been erected over the past week,"wrote Tobin.
"It still amazes me that some people think these dogs are ideal family pets."
The post went viral and garnered 56,000 shares and 110,000 comments, the vast majority of which criticised the councillor.
Maeve O'Donoghue wrote, "What an un-educated statement to make...mind you I'm not surprised considering Fine Gael are completely ignorant when it comes to animal welfare in Ireland. Good luck to you because you just made a HUGE mistake posting such a stupid comment."
Maeve's comment drew more than 23,000 likes from other people but Tobin replied, "It's not a statement its the law Maeve," which drew 544 likes.
Another posted an image of their pet and captioned it, "Say hi to Zoe. A GERMAN SHEPHERD who takes on the role of mammy to abandoned kittens. Here she is with a three week old kitten snuggled into her. You really are an uneducated moron. I'm embarrassed for you."
Many more posted images of their beloved family pets which feature on the list. While many commenters are from Ireland and Northern Ireland, others are weighing in the debate from the UK, across Europe and as far as the US.
However, Alan Tobin's post as it stands now on the councillor's Facebook page has just 56 shares and features predominantly supportive comments.
"Excellent idea Alan spent Christmas minding my poor dog after he was attacked by a band dog who had no muzzle or lead poor thing is still scared on a walk." wrote one.
Another says, "All dogs should be on leads in the community no matter what breed it is".
Twitter was also full of reactions - both supportive and negative.
Alan Tobin The Irish Councillor Who Erected Warning Signs About Dogs Should...— Niall Harbison (@NiallHarbison) May 9, 2016
Looking through comments on FG councillor (Alan Tobin) post on dangerous dogs. Insane levels of vitriol. All rational argument out the door.— Jonathan Healy (@jonathanhealy) May 9, 2016