Farming

| 15.2°C Dublin

Farmers demand comprehensive micro-chipping campaign after surge in dog thefts

Close

Billy Ryan, from Julianstown, Meath and Mac open the sheep at the Blessington Sheepdog Trials. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 3/8/2020

Billy Ryan, from Julianstown, Meath and Mac open the sheep at the Blessington Sheepdog Trials. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 3/8/2020

Billy Ryan, from Julianstown, Meath and Mac open the sheep at the Blessington Sheepdog Trials. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 3/8/2020

The recent spate of dog thefts could be countered by a comprehensive micro-chipping campaign for the nation’s pets, the INHFA has claimed.

The hill farmer body said such an initiative offered the added benefit of improving dog controls.

Garda figures show that 120 incidents relating to dog thefts were reported up to the middle of July. This compares to 205 for the whole of last year and 145 in 2018.

The highest number of reported dog thefts so far this year was in the eastern Garda division where 57 incidents were recorded. There were 40 incidents in the southern division area, 15 in the north-western region and eight in Dublin.

While there is no indication that farm dogs or hunting dogs are being specifically targeted in these thefts, anecdotal evidence suggests that some have been taken.

The INHFA has called for a national micro-chipping campaign, with the Department of Agriculture taking over responsibility for dog registration and control.

The farmer body pointed out that the current dog control regime involved two government departments, local authorities and private companies.

While the Department of Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands issue dog licences, micro-chipping of dogs is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture.

However, data on how many dogs in the country are micro-chipped is held by four private companies since compulsory micro-chipping of dogs was introduced in 2015.

Close to 200,000 dog licences are issued each year but there are no accurate figures on the number of unlicensed dogs in the country.

The INHFA said responsibility for dog control should be centralised in the Department of Agriculture, claiming that the current regime led to an absence of accountability and has facilitated the recent spate of dog thefts.

INHFA president, Colm O’Donnell, said giving the Department of Agriculture the lead role in dog control and registration would also offer greater protection to sheep farmers whose flocks have been troubled by dogs.

It is estimated that there are 300 to 400 attacks by dogs on sheep flocks each year, with 3,000 to 4,000 sheep injured and killed.

“Having everything under one department ensures the clear advantage of cross-referencing what dogs are licensed and what dogs are micro-chipped, while also ensuring the resources are there to follow dog owners who haven’t done either,” Mr O’Donnell maintained.

Meanwhile, the online selling website, DoneDeal, has temporarily suspended advertisements for the sale of dogs following the recent spate of thefts.

Farming Newsletter

Get the latest farming news and advice every Tuesday and Thursday.

This field is required


Most Watched





Privacy