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Policy Information

Dog Control

Published: 23 November 2018
From: Department of Rural and Community Development


There are a number of policies in relation to the ownership of control of dogs and Dog Breeding Establishments (DBEs). Local authorities have responsibility for all operational activities.

Dog Licences

If you own a dog you must get a dog licence and you must have your dog microchipped.

To apply for a dog licence, please go to the following link: Dog Licences.

Dog-related statistics

Each year the department publishes statistics on a range of dog-related responsibilities of local authorities. These are available at the following link: Dog Control Statistics.


Your dog must wear a collar with your name and address on an attached badge or disc.

Spaying and Neutering

All pet owners are strongly advised to have their dog neutered if they don’t intend to breed from them in a responsible and caring way. This will reduce the number of unwanted puppies. Neutered male dogs are less likely to wander or display aggression. These procedures also reduce the risk of your pet contracting life threatening diseases.

Dog Fouling

You must clean up after your dog if it fouls in a public place. Failure to clean up your dog’s waste can lead to a €150 “on-the-spot” fine or on summary conviction to a fine of up to €4,000.

Barking Dogs

Excessive dog barking which causes a nuisance to any person is an offence. Your District Court can make an order requiring the reduction of excessive barking by a dog, can limit the number of dogs that can be kept on a premises, or can direct that a dog be delivered to a dog warden as an unwanted dog. You can make a complaint about excessive barking to the District Court under Noise Regulations.

Before you do this, you must first let the dog owner know that you are making a complaint. You do this by completing a Section 108 Form under the Control of Dogs Act, 1986. The Section 108 form is available from the District Court.

Controlled Breeds

All dogs must be kept under effectual control. In addition, the Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 places additional controls on the following specific breeds of dogs:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • English Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd (Alsatian)
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Japanese Akita
  • Japanese Tosa
  • every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog)

While in a public place, these dogs, or strains and crosses thereof, must be kept on a strong short lead (only up to 2 metres long) by a person over 16 years of age who is capable of controlling them. Each dog must be securely muzzled also.

Dog Breeding Establishments

These are premises that keep six or more female dogs, older than six months, which are capable of breeding. You must register with your Local Authority if you meet this criteria.

If you are setting up a new breeding establishment you must first register with your local authority. It is an offence to operate without being registered with your local authority.

The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010

The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 sets out the rules for these establishments. The guidelines which accompanied the Act can be found here.

Following a public consultation process, the Department recently issued revised Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines 2018. These took effect on 1 January 2019. The Department also published a Dog Breeding Establishment Guidelines Cover Note alongside those Guidelines outlining the planned next steps in this area.

A summary of the responses received to that consultation process, and the responses, are available on the following link:

Dog Control Submissions

Contact Us

Dog Control Unit
Address: Department of Rural and Community Development, Government Offices, Castle Rd, Abbeyhalfquarter, Ballina, Mayo, F26 E8N6
Phone: 07610068670761006936
Email: dogcontrol@drcd.gov.ie