As gardaí continue to investigate the death of a woman after being mauled by two bull mastiff dogs in Galway, the public is being reminded about the restrictions on certain breeds of dogs here.
Unlike Britain, where the public are banned from owning some breeds, in Ireland there are merely restrictions on ownership.
The Control of Dogs Regulations 1998 imposes additional rules in relation to the following breeds (and strains/cross-breeds) of dog: American pit bull terrier; English bull terrier; Staffordshire bull terrier; Bull mastiff; Dobermann pinscher; German shepherd (Alsatian); Rhodesian ridgeback; Rottweiler; Japanese akita; Japanese tosa; Bandog.
The rules state that those dogs, strains and crosses of them, must be kept on a short strong lead by a person over 16 years who is capable of controlling them. They must also be muzzled whenever they are in a public place and wear a collar bearing the name and address of their owner at all times.
However, there is no restriction on having the animals free to roam on private property.
Teresa McDonagh had gone to the house near Moycullen, Co Galway to visit relatives on Sunday afternoon. She was set upon by the two bull mastiffs which inflicted fatal injuries. The dogs have since been put down.
Gillian Bird of the DSPCA said bull mastiffs were bred in the 19th century as guard dogs. “They are a fantastic dog. They are an amazingly loving and devoted dog,” she told Newstalk. “But as with any dog, if somebody enters what they perceive to be their property and their territory they can react in a very negative way.”
She said issues arose when dogs were not socialised as puppies or are deliberately trained to be aggressive and territorial.
“We need to see some sort of requirements, that if you have a dog you should notify people about it outside your property so that people visiting be made aware of a dog.
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