Farmers slam 'scattered' approach on dog control
Farmers have slammed what they describe as a "scattered approach" to dog control by government departments.
It comes as sheep farmers call for more protection for vulnerable lambs from marauding dogs.
The INHFA pointed out that the current dog control regime involved two government departments, local authorities and private companies.
INHFA president Colm O'Donnell said sheep farmers were being "left in limbo" by the Government's failure to take "decisive action" on the matter. He said a single department had to be responsible for dog control.
Enquiries made by the Farming Independent confirmed that dog licences are issued by the Department of Community and Rural Development, while the microchipping of dogs is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.
However, when asked how many dogs in the country were microchipped, the Department of Agriculture was unable to supply the figures as the data is held by private companies. Compulsory microchipping of dogs was introduced in 2015.
"There are four database organisations operating under the regulations; Animark, Fido, Irish Kennel Club and MicroDogID. Data in respect of the numbers of dogs [that are] microchipped is held by the four databases," a Department of Agriculture spokesperson explained.
The Department of Community and Rural Development confirmed that 200,828 dog licences were issued by local authorities in 2017. It is said it had no data on the number of unlicensed dogs. The INHFA has insisted that responsibility for dog control should be centralised in the Department of Agriculture, claiming that the current regime led to an absence of accountability.