DOG owners caught without a licence will be hit with a three-fold rise in fines from June 1.
Wardens will now be allowed to impose on-the-spot fines of €100, up from €30, for a range of offences, under new measures by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
The move is designed to allow local authorities to avoid having to take costly court proceedings against dog owners who refuse to buy a licence. They will also impose higher sanctions on those who refuse to control dangerous animals, which were previously set at €30.
Almost 190,000 one-year dog licences were issued in 2012, and more than 3,800 fines issued under the Control of Dogs Act.
Another 350 people were taken to court, resulting in 89 convictions.
Offences covered by the new rules include not having a licence, failing to keep a dog under control, allowing a greyhound in public without a leash and leading more than four greyhounds in a public place.
The higher fines come as more than 10,500 dogs were handed into pounds last year because their owners didn't want, or couldn't afford, to keep them any more.