DOG OWNERS and animal welfare groups have petitioned Dublin City Council to urgently review their banning of a hot-list of 11 so-called ‘dangerous’ dog breeds from council properties.
The ban was implemented in response to 10 dog attacks earlier this year and was backdated to July 1st, allowing owners no chance to officially challenge the ruling.
Despite this, the council has moved to ban specific breeds of dogs considered dangerous from council flats and houses.
And it is adamant that it will not change its mind, although late last week, there were signs that the Council’s robust mindset may have been faltering, with the Council hinting that they would not send dog wardens to seize all such dogs from council properties, but would deal harshly with any dogs if complaints were lodged about them.
Dog Training Ireland, which last Friday joined animal welfare groups and owners in a protest on the steps of the council offices on Dublin's Wood Quay, said the move was ‘misguided’ and was taken without consultation.
Many owners of dogs including German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermanns fear they may have to get rid of their pets.
Animal welfare group ‘Anvil’ (Animals Need a Voice In Legislation) Ireland touted this as ‘discrimination’ against those living in council accommodation.
The group has spearheaded a campaign to ensure dogs were not needlessly destroyed and has urged people to write to Irish Government Environment Minister John Gormley to turn down a countrywide ban.
The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) said providing a microchipping and owner tracing service would be a better solution than an outright ban.
‘It is a blanket-wide ban so it encompasses dogs who are not aggressive,’ said Lisa Whelan, director of Dog Training Ireland.
James Kearney, of Cabra, Dublin, who brought his white German Shepherd 'Shane', to the protest said he could not understand how anyone would legislate against the ‘intelligent’ breed.
Paul Bannion, Artane, Dublin, said he was worried about losing ‘family member’ five-year-old German Shepherd 'Chloe'.
He said: ‘She is a member of the family. She is a thoroughbred. She is registered with the Kennel Club, and microchipped. I have liability insurance on her up to £1.2m.
‘She is walked always muzzled, always on the lead, and has never caused any trouble.’
In a shocking display of bureaucratic arrogance, Dublin City Council said the ban stood and it would not meet protest groups.
Dog-lovers such as Cliona Doherty from Coolock and Deirdre Williams from Finglas have said they would fight to the bitter end before they hand their pets over to local authorities.
‘I wouldn't give my dog up. I don't know how they're going to enforce these changes because I can't see animal-lovers giving up their pets so easily. They've got no right to take a family pet away,’ says Ms Doherty, who owns a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Ms Doherty rejects claims that certain breeds of dogs are more likely than others to pose a greater threat to children.
Deirdre Williams, who owns a Staffordshire-Labrador crossbreed, says owners should be left with the responsibility of controlling their dogs.
‘It's the responsibility of the owner to look after their own dogs. I'm very angry about the ban but I don't think they are going to be able to enforce it. I certainly won't get rid of my dog. I'll fight tooth and nail to keep her. There's no way anybody is going to take her off me.’
The Irish Kennel Club is formulating its own fightback plan and has been in touch, via OUR DOGS newspaper, with various experts who have fought against Breed Specific legislation in the UK and elsewhere in the world.