Register of Establishments
The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 regulates dog breeding establishments. It increases ease for dog licences and makes other amendments to the Control of Dogs Act.
Local authorities must establish registers of dog breeding establishments. Operators must register and pay an annual fee. The local authority may not register a premises if
- the application is not compliant with the requirements of the legislation,
- the applicant is in breach of the act or
- the local authority is of the opinion that the premises are not suitable for operation as a dog breeding establishment.
A registered premises receives a registration certificate which must be displayed prominently. It is an offence to operate a non-registered dog breeding establishment generally.
Hunt clubs, commercial boarding kennels and charitable organisations are exempt from paying fees. They must register and are subject to inspection. Commercial boarding kennels may be exempt from the obligation to pay fees for registration.
Applicants may make representations if the local authority proposes to refuse registration. Each applicant is to be notified of the outcome of the application.
An appeal may be made against the decision of the local authority to the District Court against refusal to register an establishment or to impose conditions that are not accepted by the applicant. The District Court can order that the establishment be registered, amend conditions or confirm the refusal.
Dog breeding establishments may be removed from the register by order of the District Court. Reasons for removal include
- conviction of cruelty to animals offences,
- conviction of offences under the control of dog legislation,
- breach of an improvement order or court order
Breach of an order under the legislation is an offence.
The fees in relation to dog breeding establishments are prescribed and may be varied by the Minister in accordance with the consumer price index. Registration charges are payable annually to the local authority and are provided for. As set out above, certain entities are exempt.
The duties of operators are provided in relation to conditions. Records must be kept and be made available for inspection. The Minister may make guidelines having sought representations in relation to dog breeding establishments.
All dogs in an establishment must be microchipped. The microchip database must be updated. Implanting must be carried out by an authorised implanter.
The local authority may appoint officers including veterinary practitioners and those connected with animal welfare, to act as authorised persons to assist in its functions under the legislation. Authorised persons may enter and inspect premises other than a dwelling house, which is suspected of being a dog breeding establishment.
The inspector may inspect premises and take copies of records on the premises. It may require the owner or operator or those employed to answer certain questions relating to the operation. An authorized person may be accompanied by another authorised person or a member from Garda Siochana.
It is an offence to obstruct or refuse to comply with requirements made by an authorised officer. A warrant is required to enter a dwelling house.
The local authority may serve an improvement notice on an establishment if it is believed to be in breach of the legislation, or if there is a threat to public health or animal welfare. The improvement notice sets out details of specific notice that must be taken within a timeline. There is a right to appeal to the District Court against the notice.
A local authority may issue a closure notice requiring that the establishment cease breeding or cease keeping dogs at the establishment on stated rounds. There is provision for an appeal to the District Court which may affirm, revoke or give directions to the establishment. Breach of a closure notice is an offence.
Fines of up to €5,000 and six months imprisonment are provided for certain offences including
- providing false information,
- non-display of registration certificate,
- obstruction of authorised personnel.
- forgery of certain documents
- contravention of a closing order
Increased fines are applicable on conviction on indictment. Fixed payment notices may be issued for non-display of registration certificates.
The Control of Dogs Act is amended to provide for a lifelong dog licence. A new dog licence fee is €20 for an individual licence, €400 for a general dog licence for numerous dogs and €140 for a lifetime licence. The fees may be varied by reference to changes in the consumer price index.
A database is to be established and information is to be retained under the legislation. The Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 provides for the welfare of greyhounds. It regulates the operation of greyhound breeding establishments and provides a register of greyhound breeding establishments.
Welfare of Greyhounds
The legislation supplements the Dog Breeding Establishments Act and is intended to provide a new regime for the welfare of greyhounds. The approach taken differs from that in the Dog Breeding Establishment Act due to the distinct nature and controls applying to greyhounds.
The greyhound industry registers and identifies all animals as a part of maintaining the integrity of dog racing. It extends to all greyhounds and the racing and coursing industry and not only those found on a registered establishment. Greyhounds are defined as all animals entered in the Irish Greyhound Stud Book.
Greyhounds are covered by the welfare provisions whether or not they are in a registered breeding establishment. The welfare requirements apply to animal keepers and oblige them to safeguard animals in their care.
There are provisions for the destruction of greyhounds who are in pain or distress or an acute state of neglect. There are provisions for penalties and fixed penalty notices.
Unregistered greyhounds including those kept as pets, are not regulated by the legislation but are subject to the Dog Breeding Establishment Act.
There is provision for codes of practice for the greyhound industry as well as specific welfare standards and powers to make regulations for the welfare of greyhounds. Regulations for the identification of greyhounds and the requirement to notify sale and transfer have been made. This is designed to ensure traceability and to secure responsibility on the part of owners.
There are provisions restricting the number of times a female greyhound can be bred. There are welfare concerns with carrying excessive numbers of litters. The minimum breeding age is 15 months. This is higher than the minimum breeding age under the Dog Breeding Establishment Act 2010.
The Irish Coursing Club is not permitted to register litters born to greyhounds under 15 months, who are accordingly prohibited from racing or coursing events.
Establishments with four or more bitches over the 15 months of age which have been used or are being used for breeding, are to be registered as a greyhound breeding establishments.
There are procedures whereby the Irish Coursing Club may refuse or withdraw the registration of a breeding establishment. Decisions refusing or withdrawing registration may be appealed to the District Court which has the power to confirm, vary or annul the same.
There is provision for the enforcement of legislation and appointment of welfare officers by the local authority, the Greyhound Welfare Board and the Irish Coursing Club. Officers have the power to inspect and issue welfare notices. Notices may require a range of actions to secure the interests of the welfare of greyhounds. There is a right of appeal.
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