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Dublin City Council accused of breed specific plans

DUBLIN CITY Council and Dogs Trust Ireland have joined forces to introduce an innovative scheme that will promote responsible dog ownership among City Council tenants, although many dog owners say this is simply an attempt to justify the Council’s breed specific ban, which may even be unconstitutional.

Dogs Trust Ireland is offering a free neutering, spaying and micro-chipping service to owners of all breeds of dog kept in City Council homes. To operate the scheme, the Charity has put in place an arrangement with a number of veterinary practices around the city to carry out this service, at no cost to the City Council.

Importantly, this campaign will also humanely assist in fulfilling the City Council's objective to phase out restricted breed dogs from City Council Housing tenancies.

The offer is being made available to Dublin City Council tenants who were already in possession of a restricted breed dog prior to the introduction of the Council’s ban on keeping 10 such breeds in Council properties since 1st July 2007. Tenants to whom the scheme applies in respect of restricted breeds must abide by its terms, and this is the only condition under which they can keep these dogs as pets.

Safer neighbourhoods

Vincent Healy, Senior Executive Officer, Housing and Residential Services, says: ‘In respect of the 10 restricted breeds of dog, we acknowledge that a number of our tenants are responsible dog owners and have built up a relationship with one of these breeds, who would understandably be upset if they had to give their dog away or have it put down. Accordingly, we are happy to allow them to keep their dogs provided they agree to have them micro-chipped and neutered / spayed. However, we remain steadfast in achieving our primary objective to ensure that our streets, parks, and Council neighbourhoods are safe for people to walk and for children to play in. Where tenants persist in illegally keeping one of the 10 restricted breeds of dog in their home, the Council will consider such action to be a breach of tenancy, will issue a Notice to Quit, and this could ultimately lead to eviction.’

All Dublin City Council tenants will be informed of the initiative by leaflet drop.

Brenda Comerford, Campaigns Manager with Dogs Trust Ireland, says: ‘We at Dogs Trust do not support breed specific legislation, however we encourage owners of all breeds to manage their dogs responsibly. We are therefore glad to have this opportunity to further promote responsible and positive ownership and build on our existing work with Dublin City Council. Dogs Trust has the resources to reach all tenants over the coming months and owners that truly care about their dogs and their community will embrace this campaign. Neutering will not change your dog, but will result in a less aggressive, more manageable and healthier dog’.

Anti-BSL campaigners in Ireland accused Dogs Trust Ireland of supporting BSL by going into partnership with Dublin City Council. Norma McGarvey, of Candeur Rottweilers who lives in Dublin commented: ‘Dogs Trust Ireland are now supporting Discrimination in Ireland's two-tier society! In Ireland - the Puppy-farming capital of the world - you will find very few of our wealthy puppy-farmers who don't own their own house!’

The restricted breeds are American Pit Bull Terrier; Bull Mastiff; Doberman Pinscher; English Bull Terrier; German Shepherd; Japanese Akita; Japanese Tosa; Rhodesian Ridgeback; Rottweiler and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.