Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Irish XL Bully ban plan as mutts branded ‘fashion statements for criminals’

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A SENIOR minister insists fearsome XL Bully dogs are often “fashion statements for criminals” and wants them banned.

Rural Development Minister Heather Humphreys has appointed ex-Garda Assistant Commissioner John Twomey to lead a new team examining Ireland’s dog laws.

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Minister Heather Humphreys branded XL Bully dogs a ‘fashion statements for criminals’
XL Bully dogs could soon be banned in Ireland

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XL Bully dogs could soon be banned in Ireland
Dog attacks in Ireland are on the rise

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Dog attacks in Ireland are on the rise

Dog attacks are on the rise in Ireland with a study last year showing 3,158 people were admitted to hospital after being bitten between 2012 and 2021. The figure includes 1,121 children.

On the back of the rise in attacks, Minister Humphreys tripled the fines for irresponsible owners from €100 to €300.

However, the Fine Gael TD does not want to stop there and has established a new stakeholder group to reassess Ireland’s dog laws.

The Irish Sun can reveal former top cop Mr Twomey will head the new stakeholder group.

The UK has recently put in place an outright ban on the XL Bully breed with large numbers of this dangerous breed due to be destroyed.

Ireland does not have a ban on any dog but instead has restricted breeds which must be kept muzzled and on leashes.

However, Minister Humphreys said she would be happy to introduce an outright ban on XL Bullies if the new taskforce were to make that recommendation.

She told The Irish Sun: “I don’t know why people would want XL Bully dogs. I really don’t. I believe that in some cases, or in most cases for the XL Bully, they are fashion statements for criminals.

Most read in The Irish Sun

“People are intimidated by them and they put fear into people. So if that group (taskforce) decides that we need to ban dogs then I am happy to take their recommendations.

“I am open to that idea of the XL Bully (ban). I don’t know why anybody would want a dog like that and why they are breeding these types of dogs.

I feel like a criminal walking down the road after the XL bully ban, there wouldn’t be deaths if other owners were more like me

“There are loads of dogs out there. Dogs are companions, they are not meant to be items to put fear into people.”

The Cavan Monaghan TD lives on a farm with her family and says she has seen instances after dogs attacked sheep.

She said: “I’m a dog owner myself. I have a lovely little miniature Yorkshire terrier. He’s a little house dog and we’re very fond of him.

“And I also live on a farm and I’m conscious of dogs that are out of control. I have seen sheep that have been attacked and believe you me it is not a pretty sight.

“I think there is a huge onus on people to control their dogs.

IRELAND’S DOG CONTROL PENALTIES

No dog licence:

On-the-spot fine: €150 paid to your local authority.

You can be prosecuted in the District Court with a maximum fine of €2,500 or 3 months’ imprisonment (or both).

No identification on dog:

On-the-spot fine: €200 paid to your local authority.

You can be prosecuted in the District Court with a maximum fine of €2,500 or 3 months’ imprisonment (or both).

Stray dog:

On-the-spot fine: €150 paid to your local authority.

The pound will hold a dog for at least 5 days. Dogs not re-claimed from the dog pound within 5 days may be put down, rehomed or transferred to an animal welfare group.

Dog not kept under control:

On-the-spot fine of €300 paid to your local authority.

You can be prosecuted in the District Court with a maximum fine of €2,500 or 3 months’ imprisonment (or both).

Breach of bye-laws (setting out times when dog may be unleashed in public):

Fines up to €2,500 on conviction.

Dog fouling public place:

Owners or dog handlers who do not dispose of dog faeces in a responsible way may receive an on-the-spot fine of €150.

You can be prosecuted in the District Court with a maximum fine of €4,000, and €600 per day for continuing offences on summary conviction.

“A lot of it, you know, are the dog owners and they should control their dogs. So what I’ve done is I’ve increased the on-the-spot fines.

“I’ve provided €2m for the dog warden service to upgrade their vehicles and support them because ultimately they are the people at the coal face that are under the local authorities and it is up to them to try and manage it and police it really.

“We’ve got a public awareness campaign and we have this responsible dog ownership leaflet that we will be sending out.

“But also I’m going to set up a new stakeholder group and we have that nearly ready to go.

“I have asked a former assistant garda commissioner, John Twomey, to chair that group for me. They can look at all the issues there.”

The new stakeholder group will be up and running in the coming months and will need time to carry out their assessment of Ireland’s dog laws — meaning any potential ban on dangerous breeds is still a while away.

Ex-Garda Assistant Commissioner John Twomey will lead a new team examining Ireland’s dog laws

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Ex-Garda Assistant Commissioner John Twomey will lead a new team examining Ireland’s dog laws

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