It’s a dog’s life when it comes to unlicenced hounds in Kildare

It's a dog's life.
Is Kildare barking mad when it comes to dog licences? The county issued the lowest number of dog licences in the country in 2011 relative to its human population, figures from the Department of Environment show.

Is Kildare barking mad when it comes to dog licences? The county issued the lowest number of dog licences in the country in 2011 relative to its human population, figures from the Department of Environment show.

In 2011, the county experienced the biggest drop in dog licences being issues in the country compared to 2000, a sniff around the figures show. While most of the local authorities issued more between 2000-2011, eight recorded falls and Kildare’s was the biggest drop.

It issued 2,341 individual dog licences – they cost €20 a year or €140 for a lifetime permit - in 2011. This amounted to just over one (1.11) licences for every 100 people in the county, the lowest ratio in the State, about a third of the Meath rate (3.32).

In 2000, it issued 5,149 but despite rising to a high of 7,220 in 2009, it issued only 2,341 in 2011, 45% of its 2000 level.

With dog chipping on the way and recent warning from Cllr. Anthony Larkin at Leixlip Town Council about a recent savaging of sheep, figures indicate Kildare County Council’s operation of the Control of Dogs Acts could raise more money to pay for the service provided.

In 2011, the State issued just over five dog licences (5.03) for every 100 people, but just over one in Kildare. If the county could reach the State average, its could potentially bring in €210,000, much higher than it current income of €25,000.

In 2011, the KCC’s service was run by the ISPCA with two full time wardens, two shelters and two vans. County Cork had eleven vans and 11 part time staff.

The Department figures show that Kildare had the third largest deficit in its dog control budget in the State, at €166,610. Income was just €24,900 and the Council spent €191,520 on the service.

Most local authorities spent more than they earned specifically on dog control with only Kerry and Cavan in the black. While 3,955 on the spot fines were issued across the State, just 48% of them were paid. Kildare issued twelve and none were paid.

There was no follow up prosecution or convictions in the Courts. However, South Dublin issued 1,020 on the spot fines in 2011 but only 5% of them were paid.

It followed up with 46 prosecutions and 18 convictions were recorded. Fingal County Council issued 312 on the spot fines and 82% were paid.

Of the general dogs seized (107) or surrendered/collected (235) by the Kildare service in 2011, 61% were were put to sleep and just 37% were reclaimed or got new homes. Statewise, 32% were put asleep and 67% got a new life.

- Henry Bauress