A local councillor has received a string of online abuse, including a death threat, after commenting on Facebook about a dangerous dogs’ public safety notice.
Fine Gael councillor Alan Tobin, said he was “absolutely delighted” that the signs he had asked for had been erected in Ashbourne, Co Meath, in the past week The sign shows pictures of restricted or listed breeds of dogs and lists the legal requirements to protect children and adults when they are in a public place.
“It still amazes me that some people think these dogs are ideal family pets,” said Mr Tobin, who has a dog and two cats.
Mr Tobin said the signs were just a visualisation of the current legislative position and he had received a lot of support from people.
However, on RTÉ’s Liveline yesterday, he said his partner had cried on Sunday night when she read what people were saying on social media.
Mr Tobin said some people had used profanities and a threat had been made to shoot him.
He said he understood that people were passionate about their animals and there was nothing wrong with that. Most people were responsible dog owners and cared for their animals.
“But we have laws in place because of the people who don’t respect others and don’t respect their animals,” he said.
The sign shows photographs of 10 restricted or listed dog breeds and points out that they must be kept on a lead and muzzled when in a public place.
Also, the dogs have to wear a collar with the owners’ name and address and be under the control of a person over 16 years of age.
Last night, more than 90,000 comments had been made on Mr Tobin’s post. It has been shared almost 110,000 times since it went online on Sunday night.
There was a similar negative reaction to Mr Tobin’s comment on Twitter.
Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, local authorities are responsible for dogs in their constituencies.
Mr Tobin said he would continue to allow people to make comments, good or bad, on Facebook and Twitter before considering whether the Government needed to review the matter.
Animal Rights Action Network described Mr Tobin’s remarks as outrageous and said he had just made life that bit harder for animals, such as bull terriers that were troubled because of their build and look.
“If anything, these animals are hugely exploited by calculated people who turn them into vicious and nasty blood-thirsty creatures,” said a spokesman.
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